Journey Task - ACCEPT BEING OVERWHELMED AT TIMES
ACCEPT BEING OVERWHELMED AT TIMES
Now is a time in life that tends to wear down our boundaries, and we become more permeable and susceptible to life’s uncertainties and stressors. This is especially true when these deeply unknown times, about so many fundamental matters in life, start to become chronic and lingering conditions.
It is inevitable that we will experience moments or days of feeling completely overwhelmed. Our thoughts will lack clarity, our feelings will be dulled, and our vision of the future obscured. Feelings of helplessness will surface. We will practice not making poor meaning out of such feelings, especially negative meaning about ourselves. Feelings do not equal facts.
“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.”
HERE’S THE CHALLENGE
Feelings of overwhelm can easily lead to turning in against yourself, and viewing yourself negatively as a result.
Overwhelm is an indication of experiencing personal vulnerability in a time of significant stress due to self concerns about physical well-being and economic security. It’s ‘normal’ to experience some degree of anxiety when stressors are unfamiliar, unpredictable, or imminent.
The challenge is to to shift out of the helplessness state that is elicited by feelings and perceptions of overwhelm. Sometimes we just need a good night’s sleep. At other times, we have to do the work of seeing the current circumstance in a new way, and to not turn against ourselves with self judgment.
We can learn see obstacles as something more than barrier, something that is in our way. We can do the work of seeing that the thing we initially experience as in our way, as something that actually helps us to go on our way, in a new way.
HERE’S YOUR TOOLS
1. Accept your anxiety.
Think of accepting your overwhelm as riding out a wave. Fighting against or rejecting your feelings of overwhelm will perpetuate them, as will judging yourself for being overwhelmed.
2. Reframe overwhelming thoughts.
Learn to call your overwhelming thoughts into question. Don’t simply accept these thoughts as accurate, or as fact. Thoughts of uncontrollability or unpredictability are the backbone of overwhelm, according to psychologist Kevin Chapman.
Ask yourself in what ways might these thoughts be inaccurate, unreasonable or unhelpful? Next, consider how you can think more realistically. Remember that you’re not a slave to your ruminations.
Or simply tell yourself, “I may not get it all finished today, and that’s okay.” And sometimes, tasks need to be broken down into smaller acts to become more doable.
3. Reduce your multitasking.
We often don’t even realize that we’ve been taking on or doing too many things at once, according to Kevin Chapman. Shift to a more realistic perspective. We have to change our expectation that everything has to be completed right now.
4. Focus on right now.
Give yourself an immediate focal point. Take care something concrete, in the here and now, and stay focused on that one thing.
Slip Beneath The Surface - The Trickle Down Effect
Investing In Yourself In Times of Crisis
A Poem By Mark Strand
You stand at the window.
There is a glass cloud in the shape of a heart.
There are the wind’s sighs that are like caves in your speech. You are the ghost in the tree outside.
The street is quiet.
The weather, like tomorrow, like your life, is partially here, partially up in the air. There is nothing you can do.
The good life gives no warning.
It weathers the climates of despair
and appears, on foot, unrecognized, offering nothing, and you are there.
An Essay By Michael Mervosh
Just don’t engage the reflexive grudge, the easiest negative feeling available, or other darker feelings such as, dread, anxiety, or restless agitation. Don’t give in to the helplessness.
Find a way to shift something from feeling in your way to going your way.
“Perspective. Kicking and flailing – as all of us do at some point, in the uncertain waters of life. It’s time to stop trying to get answers. It’s time to start getting more curious about the people who are happening right in front of me. I try looking more into their eyes, and see the human-ness in their faces, and in their helpful intentions.”
TAKE FIVE. MOVE YOUR BODY.
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE. CLEAR YOUR MIND.
Below are two short movment videos and one short audio meditation to help shift your state of mind by moving your body and deepening into your breath.
A Five Minute Audio Meditation by Irene Tobler.
Don’t think of new things,
don’t think of achievement,
don’t think of anything of the kind.