Monday, 25 May 2015

One Simple Trick To Deal With Overwhelm...

To do list's...

Decisions...

Worries & fears...

What can we do when thing's get too much? 

Is there a magic secret to reducing anxiety?

The topic of 'overwhelm' came up in conversation during a NLP meetup not long ago... a common challenge for many as they strive in society to be the perfect person with the perfect career, relationship, body, health etc. This image of perfection that has been portrayed often in society as to what everyone 'needs' in order to be happy has it's consequences. 

Whilst it's great to move forward in life, gently challenging yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and achieve your goals... by having too much emphasis on 'needing' more in order to be happy can put ourselves in a very unhappy place if we have yet to achieve it. 

And gives us a pretty overwhelming list of thing's to achieve too.

Letting go of our need for perfection can help let go of internal overwhelm.

Internal? 

Yes, there are two main types of overwhelm as I know it...

Internal: 
People can feel overwhelmed on an internal basis - too many thoughts, worries, fears, regrets, not knowing what decisions to make.

It has become common human nature to regret and worry about past and future events, lack of trust and confidence in our ability and decision making. Creating a complex web of worries and fears. Jumping from idea to idea... dancing around every painful memory, possible outcomes and fears about what may happen... essentially everything BUT, what is happening in the present moment. 

One way to do this is to mindfully observe what surrounds you in the present moment. Mentally noting... 'chair, table, glass' etc or whatever is in your surroundings can be a quick way to switch off the mental chatter and regain a moment of presence in your life. 

External:
People can feel overwhelmed on an external basis - sensory overload when they are in busy, stimulating situations such as in big crowds, shopping centres, city centres etc.

Modern day lifestyle has changed the way human beings live dramatically - loosing the tranquility and simplicity of being connected with nature and ourselves. Being in place of non stop hustle and bustle, noise and commotion. 

And for those of you who need your peace and quiet, busy situations can become unbearable. 




How I dealt with overwhelm...
Being a highly empathetic and sensitive person, I used to struggle a lot with external overwhelm. So much so that I often experienced huge amount of anxiety and panic attacks in the past. Being in crowed places used to be unbearable. Whilst there were many things that helped, one simple trick that helped me the most was tuning out everything that was going on around me by changing my focus to one point only... 

My thumb and index finger. 

By bringing my attention here and noticing the sensation of the tips of these two fingers gently rubbing against each other dramatically changed my focus. My breathing slowed and deepened, my muscles relaxed and I felt a lot calmer. If ever I catch myself absorbing too much external information or thinking about too many things, this simple action brings me back quickly and effectively.


We become overwhelmed when we focus on too much at once, whether be it internally or externally.


So the trick is to simply reduce your focus to ONE thing only. 

One small physical touch or sensation can help significantly to bring more clarity and calm into your life. Some people use their breath, some use a song, an image or an object as a reminder... find what works for you. 

Something to pull you back to the present moment, one small area of focus so you can then see the situation from a more helpful perspective. 


I'd love to hear from you - what do you notice when you practice this technique in moments of overwhelm? Notice what changes emotionally, mentally and physically and share your findings in the comments below. 

What can you do differently now to achieve your goals and enjoy lively situations (if that's what you want to do) whilst maintaining your calmer perspective?

Do you know a friend or loved one who suffers from overwhelm? Offer a helping hand and forward this blog post. 

Life does not need to be as complicated as we make it!