So great, LTD… what’s the issue? No issue in the grand scheme, but without pussyfooting around, I get overwhelmed. Meaning, my calendar is so preposterously full that when I look at it, I begin to freak out and have thoughts like,
“.. oh man, how am I ever going to do all this?… Oh my god, I’m going to be so tired… oh my god, if I’m tired, the quality of my coaching will suffer… oh my god, if my coaching is bad all my clients will leave… oh my god, I have to do all of this stuff perfectly even though I have no time… oh my god, ahhhhhh…”
Effectively, I talk myself right into my overwhelm.
This has been a chronic thing for me too… it’s not just like I had one big freak-out and here I am having my epiphany. Nope.
Basically, I had yet another big freak-out and because I’m a student of my own practice in life coaching, I finally was like, hmm, maybe this is something I should look at.
Geez, you’d think I’d have noticed it as something bigger to work on sooner, but whatever, I put two and two together now, and that’s a good thing.
Sweet, so I brought it right up with my coach, knowing I didn’t know the answers, but also knowing the conversation would take us somewhere. My hope of course that I would end up with an awesome new insight shocking my system out of ever experiencing overwhelm again. Or, even one new little tool/exercise to help me start tackling my pattern of overbooking awesomeness, then not getting to fully enjoy it cause I’m freakin’ out.
In that conversation, I realized that my overwhelm is just fear… and logically we know that fear is an illusion. Things we are afraid of have not actually happened yet, and therefore are not reality. Secondarily, if I really look at myself and my priorities, I always have time and energy to make my most important things happen. We all do. We make it happen. Thirdly, in the face of my stress, I was forgetting how f*cking amazing my life is!!! I reminded myself that I am grateful for this period, and every single experience that comes with it, even the hard ones. You know that whole college phenomenon, where while we’re in it, we stress out not appreciating how awesome it is, and then in “real life” we look back and go, damn, those were the days? With that, I recognize this period of my life will not last forever (by my choice), and as such, I want to enjoy every bit of it as fully as I possibly can. Then lastly, and most simply… I realized at the base level, it comes back to presence. In overwhelm we are distracted by fear and stories that yank our attention out of the present moment. How can we be grateful for and really enjoy what we’re experiencing now if we’re spending our energy and attention elsewhere?
So great, we have an insight that truly feels like a solution to our problem… then what?
How do we integrate this new insight into practice so it sticks and actually works to help us long-term?
One way is affirmations. Statements that counter and ultimately replace our fears. On the overwhelm stuff, I actually decided to do a series of affirmations:
Overwhelm is an illusion.
I always have time for what’s really important.
I am grateful for this period in my life.
I am grateful for this moment.
Here I chose to use a series of statements to combat my overwhelm. “I am grateful for this moment,” alone doesn’t work for me. Reading just that, I lose the connection to how it helps solve my overwhelm, and as such lose the power in this exercise. All four is what I needed. Cool. If what you come up with, doesn’t make you feel free of your fear, keep looking. We gotta believe it. We gotta feel it. When our words legitimately dispel our fears, we literally feel the good energy attached. Go on the hunt for that feeling as you brainstorm your statement(s).
Alright, let’s take it back to the start…. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself these questions:
What causes you to feel overwhelmed?
When you’re overwhelmed, what are you afraid of?
What are you thinking will happen?
How realistic are those fears?
What is a new statement that counteracts the thoughts that overwhelm you? (Brainstorm on the statement til you find the one you believe, the one that literally feels right.)
And lastly, how can you integrate that new statement into your every-day so it actually starts to grow roots?
That last question is a big deal.
How do we integrate our new powerful and motivating insights so they actually work to solve our problem? And it doesn’t have to be overwhelm… affirmations can be used to combat any thought that makes you feel bad, or holds you back. For me, I have a to-do app on my iphone. I put my new affirmations into that as a recurrence because I know I will read it every day. That works for me. Maybe you like writing in dry-erase marker on your bathroom mirror. Maybe a post-it note on your work computer, or the dash of your car. Maybe you frame it and set it on your bedside table. Who knows, whatever works for you is cool, it just has to be frequent. Preferably every day, or more.
Bottom line, affirmations are great ammo, and the more we fire at our fear, the more it’s gonna get shot to bits.
Booyah, that bulls-eye’s toast.
Me and my nephew, Jacob… yup, fully in this moment. Phew.