Do you ever feel like there is too much going on at one time? That the world is spinning faster than you are able to keep up; literally the earth rotates at just over 1000mph, so lets just think of this as a hyperbole. I would presume that about everyone reading this has, at some time or another, experienced feeling so overwhelming that all you wanted to do was press the pause button (if life had such a thing). You would think with the spectacularly novel advancements in technology including 3D Printing and pet cloning this might be a viable option somewhere down the line, but alas, now is not that time and you can be left feeling powerless and helpless; but are you really? What if you possess the most powerful tool in existence, you have your mind and, as shown above, almost anything can be achieved with it. Here are a few tips to help bring you back under control:
1. Improve the Moment
Use imagery- look at or picture a relaxing scene; even a skyscraper, the Chicago River, or anything that you find to be amazing
2. Make Meaning
Find and focus on any positive aspects you can come up with (make lemonade out of lemons)
Tense and then relax your muscles, take a hot shower or relaxing bath, exercise, change your facial expression (even a half smile will do), light a few candles, dim the lights and let your mind become free
Repeat in your head that you CAN stand it, that it WON’T last forever
5. Focus on the moment
Direct your attention, all of it, to just one thing (e.g., A physical sensation). For more information on focusing on the moment refer to the prior blog entry “A Mindful Minute”
Do something that can be preformed automatically without much or any thought, such as doing the dishes, cleaning, going for a quick walk, or taking the garbage out
The moment has hopefully passed and you are feeling more in control, but what precipitated you becoming and feeling overwhelmed? Take 10 minutes of your down time, whenever that may be (maybe as you take the L, heading home from work, school, or whatever it may be) and watch this clip of a viral graduation speech. It will present you with another strategy aimed at preventing or at least increasing your resistance to becoming overwhelmed, but the take away is, you are never powerless. You have the power of your mind to make any time or situation better than it is.
Written By: Stephen Ham, M.A.