Feeling Overwhelmed? These 5 Simple Steps Can Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed… Like you’re running harder and harder just to stay in place… That there’s so much to do, you don’t even know where to begin… That it’s a “good” day when you’re only feeling somewhat frantic and frazzled… it’s time to get a little mindful in order to find a little peace of mind!
First Things First…
Worrying about what will or won’t get done often means that nothing gets done! Acknowledge that you’re feeling overwhelmed. Stop trying to pretend to yourself that this feeling will go away if you can just work harder, faster, or multitask more efficiently. Chances are you’ve been trying that strategy for quite a while. But if it worked, you wouldn’t be reading this! So here’s an alternative. Stop judging yourself, name what you’re really feeling, and then feel the relief that comes when you’re honest with yourself.
Remember to Breathe!
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your stress response kicks in. Whether it’s fight, flight, or freeze, your body is reacting to a perceived threat – and you’re probably breathing shallowly or barely at all. Before doing anything else, mindfully take three slow, full breaths – inhaling and exhaling deeply as you gently let go of the many thoughts that have been racing through your mind. As your mind begins to calm down, welcome the spaciousness and clarity that come with this slow, expansive breathing.
Ask This Simple Question…
As you continue to breathe slowly and fully, ask yourself a simple question, “What’s the best use of my time right now?”
Provide a Simple Answer…
Then do it! When you’re present in each moment, you can only do one thing at a time. Decide what will be most skillful and strategic. Break it into small, simple steps. Take a deep centering breath. Begin.
Build Mindful Momentum!
Taking one small step at a time will build the momentum you need to move forward. Staying focused on a single step helps cut through mental clutter and you’ll soon find it becomes easier to clarify, center within, and keep going.
You have a choice of where to put your energy. Why put it into feeling overwhelmed when you can use it much more mindfully – and skillfully!
About the Author: After graduate school at Princeton University—Nina’s life changed when she discovered mindfulness meditation. Co-author of The Three Minute Meditator, Nina’s work has been seen in O, The Oprah Magazine, Shape, Real Simple, Health magazine, and Marie Claire. In her work as Director of Mindfulness Programs at Mohonk Mountain House, a Victorian castle resort only 90 miles north of New York City, Nina leads programs and teaches private classes on how to use mindfulness in “real life,” including weight loss, wellness… and feeling overwhelmed.