Do you feel like you are being hammered with all of the responsibilities, chores and events that are happening in your life? There is a name for that, and it is called overwhelm, which can lead to a state of panic. When you are faced with overwhelm, it is easy for a small thing to tip you over and make you feel like you can't get a handle on anything.
Photo by Evil Erin
The Power of Five Minutes in Preventing Panic
One of the problems with overwhelm, is that it is takes over and is all consuming. It feels like a cascade, everything is coming at you at once.
It is impossible to deal with overwhelm, until you step out of it. If you don’t stop the process, the state can lead to an even more non resourceful ones, panic and ongoing anxiety.
Don't underestimate the power of 5 minutes to change the course of your day. Here are simple ways to take 5 minutes to put things into perspective.
First things first, make a list of everything that you have to do….putting it on paper takes it out of your mind and puts it where it belongs, in a to do list, concrete evidence of what you need to do. Set your timer!
Lay down! Take 5 minutes to close your eyes and rest!! While you are there, take those pictures in your mind and make them dim and small…..turn off any voices in your head that are chattering at you about ALL the things you have to do….or make them lower…..
Take a deep breath! When you are stressed, do you hold your breath? Stand tall and take in that life giving, energizing dose of oxygen that you have deprived yourself of by being stressed.
Gently stretch! Touch your toes, reach your arms over your head, do a gentle side bend or yoga move that you are comfortable with…..
Exercise! I keep a hula hoop in my room, a large hula hoop, and 5 minutes of that certainly takes your mind in a meditative place! A five minute walk can work wonders, especially if you have a pet you can take with you.
Replace Your Panic Button!
Instead of hitting the panic button, replace it with a recharge button! Focus clearly on something else, like a favourite picture or a great memory! Funny videos on YouTube or videos of rolling kittens work too. (just don't get lost there!)
My recharge button is a picture of a serene mountain scene with bright blooming flowers and a stream of water. Perhaps yours is a pet. People who have pets that they can touch, like a dog or cat, feel calm when they spend a few minutes with them.
Think about it. How can you incorporate this into your life, easily? What is your recharge button?
Make a Happiness List to Change Your Focus
A great tool to have is a happiness list. You have heard of a gratitude list. This is similar except that instead of writing down why you are grateful, you write down what makes you happy.
It's simple and it's very effective. Take out a paper and a pen/pencil and list what makes you happy.
Is it a cup of hot steaming cocoa on a hot winter's day, your cold hands wrapped around a warm mug?
Is it the look in the eyes of a loved one?
The feel of soft, newly washed sheets on your skin?
Put down the simple things……it has to be realistic. While we probably would love to win the lottery, it's not realistic to put on a happiness list, is it? : D When you think of small and easy ways to be happy, the larger obstacles that are panicking you, fade into the background.
Being alive….how often do we forgot that just being alive is a blessing?
Your health…..even with health challenges, you can focus on one small aspect of good health that you have.
Your family….look for the tiny details that make you happy
and so on…..
You might surprise yourself…..just like that….
Forgiveness is Essential to Prevent Panic
How does forgiveness come to play with overwhelm? In order to create the state of overwhelm, at some point in time, you allowed yourself to say "yes" to more than you can handle. Forgive yourself for that.
Forgive yourself for having needs. We all do and it is very common to forget that we have needs and that is a normal and necessary part of life. No super capes allowed!!
Forgive yourself for being imperfect. Perfection is a game that none of us can afford to play. It is a game that you cannot win. We are all imperfect and when you realize that, you won't allow yourself to be overwhelmed.
I was talking to a client yesterday evening,when she was feeling overwhelmed and panicky. I reminded her of the advice that we are given when we are flying in an air plane. The stewardess always reminds us to put our oxygen mask on first, before we help anyone else.
What is your "oxygen mask"? Unless you take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else. Remember that and smile!
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