How To Stop Feeling So Overwhelmed
With all the magic you’re creating and everything you’re balancing, especially now, I know you know that overwhelm is very real. It isn’t something that only exists in your head, but it is a state of mind that the world reflects back to you.When we’re overwhelmed, we wind up getting less done, feel anxious, disconnected and block our attracting power. In episode #19 of The Prana + Patchouli Podcast, I share a simple mantra, meditation and mindset shift to help you turn your overwhelm into an opportunity to align yourself with what really matters in your life.
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In any given moment, you always have a choice - to be in overwhelm, or not.
This sounds deceptively easy (or hard, whichever way you look at it,) but you have to break the habit of allowing yourself to get stuck there.
The simple truth is, overwhelm is what happens when you stop being present.
When we’re busy, we often tell ourselves, “this is just life”, but overwhelm is a symptom, not a lifestyle. As I’ve become aware of how and when overwhelm shows up in my life, I’ve realised that like any of our emotions, overwhelm is a messenger. It’s our body’s way of encouraging us to slow down, realign and get clear on what we really want.
Once you’ve accepted this, that overwhelm is a choice, you can then use the following method to choose again.
The first step to changing anything is awareness.
Your spiritual practice gives you the tools you need to be present and create self-awareness, so you can see overwhelm when it’s coming and find calm when you need it most.
When you notice you’re in that overwhelmed state, witness what’s happening in your body and mind. Then, call those feelings by their name, which is fear. Just by calling it out, you can minimise its effect.
The second step is interrupting the flow of your thoughts and energy.
You can do this with a simple prayer or mantra.
Say to yourself: “No, thank you! I choose to see this in light.”
This prevents you from engaging with the world from a stressed out, panicked space. You’ll slow down the mental momentum and reorganise your energy. You’ll feel more confident and less scattered, so you can focus on the next right action you need to take.
From a practical perspective, when we’re not intentional with our time and energy, we’re all over the place.
This is a sign to check in with what you’re paying attention to.
Brain-dumping is an amazingly simple, but effective strategy to help you organise your thoughts when overwhelm takes over and focus on what really matters.
Set a 5-minute timer and brain dump everything onto a page in your journal. The goal is just to get all of your thoughts out of your mind. Trying to keep everything in there is a drain on your mental energy and leads to overwhelm and feeling unfocused.
In the same way that we set an intention at the beginning of yoga class, ask yourself: how do I want to feel? Become the embodiment of that energy and use that to inspire you as you look at what you’ve written.
Simplify where you can and cross off anything that can wait, or won’t serve you right now. Then, forget about everything else you have to do and choose one baby step to take today. After all, your brain can only handle one thing effectively at a time.
Prioritise the one thing that will move the needle forwards to get you closer to the way you want to feel.
It’s a lot easier to focus on what’s in front of you then you can manage and sustain the flow of life, as your energy is in the present moment. If you’re trying to do it all, then inevitably, you will burn out.
This reminds you that you’re in control of how you feel, what you’re paying attention to and the choices you make.
And let’s be honest, sometimes, you just need to give yourself permission to take a break. My teacher, Eoin Finn always says “less drama, more pranayama”! If you need a moment to rest, reset and breathe, check out my 15-minute Restorative Yoga for Overwhelm practice in the resources below.
But let’s finish this episode with a simple breathing meditation for overwhelm.
Close your eyes (if you can) and begin to breathe long and deep. As you inhale, silently say, “I am breathing in”. As you exhale, silently say, “I am breathing out”. This mantra slows down the mental momentum of your thoughts and grounds you in the present moment, so you can take aligned action from a clearer, calmer place.
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