This is a big question. I recognize we all have unique life circumstances and challenges. Today, I’m humbly sharing my own experiences of coming back to inner peace again and again.
What does it look in real time when overwhelm rises, and instead of drowning in the sea of emotions, you somehow find your way back to stillness?
First of all. I don’tcontinually maintain the most ecstatic levels of inner peace 24/7. Who does? But, what I do well, is return to inner peace again, and again, and again. You are doing this too.
And with these pointers, hopefully we’ll all return to and maintain inner peace more easily.
Of course, like everyone, I get triggered, overwhelmed, self-sabotage, raise my voice, make stupid mistakes and roll my eyes at life’s unfolding circumstances. And sometimes overwhelm pulls me under for WAY longer than I’d like.
Our emotions are simply feedback about how aligned or misaligned we are with life.
There are so many things that can take us out of alignment with life, taking us out of peace. But, today’s focus is “overwhelm.” It’s a big inner peace buzz killer! And with my move with a broken foot, business, travels, twins, and more… overwhelm is frequent visitor, so examples are plentiful!
Over these last 2 months, I created a new relationship with overwhelm, and want to share the 10 keys I’m constantly leaning on to keep it at bay. I hope they are helpful for you too, especially when “overwhelm” comes flirting.
If “overwhelm” isn’t a frequent visitor, feel free to apply these principles to another inner peace buzz killer.
11 Keys for Transforming
Your Relationship with Overwhelm
These 11 keys work together and independently. Experiment. Get creative. Focus on one key at a time. Or dance with several. Be patient. Be persistent. And KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that you canfind your way back to inner peace.
1. Make inner peace a priority. Be a renegade when it comes to accepting stress, anxiety and overwhelm as something you just have to suffer through and live with. I know, without a shadow of a doubt that I can find inner peace in any moment, as long as I’m willing and patient.
Remember, overwhelm and all it’s cousins are just visitors.If you’ve let one or more inner peace buzz killers move in your sacred self, then it may be time to show them the door.
Inner peace is your natural state. Hang out with a baby or young child to affirm this. Yes, inner peace gets interrupted, and it isn’t always the same path back. But, when you make it a priority, you’ll soon become adept at returning to your natural state faster and quicker.
2. Notice when you’re out of sync. This is SO important. What happens when you’re triggered with overwhelm?
* Does your chest tighten?
* Do you feel irritable?
* Does your voice become harsher or “less pleasant”?
* Does sarcasm emerge (either out loud or in your mind)?
* Do you start holding your breath? We do this unconsciously when we’re stressed.
* Does life start to feel harder?
One thing we know for sure. When inner peace isn’t alive, we don’t feel good. Emotions like overwhelm anxiety, self-doubt, fear, and depression feel yucky and icky. These are all clues that you’re not in alignment with the current reality of life.
Recognize you’re off kilter. You’re human. I’m human. It’s going to happen. It happened for me after writing a draft of this article. LOL! More about that in a minute.
***The key is to not dwelling in these unpleasant feelings. And the only way to nip it, is to catch it when it arises. The sooner, the better.
3. Allow the trigger to be your catalyst back to inner peace.My favorite and quickest response to “overwhelm” or any stressor is BREATHING. I start noticing the tightness, and almost automatically, reach for a deeper, more conscious breath. Then I reach for another one, and then another. I do this until I settle myself in the present moment with easy breathing.
I allow my exhale to become s-l-o-w-e-r. Resetting my breath is absolutely the first thing I do. Try it. It’s that simple.
Countless times throughout the move, and even more so in the unpacking boxes phase, I’d notice overwhelm arising. And before it could take hold, I’d stop (ideally with a smile, but sometimes an eye roll) and breathe. I also noticed a new mantra arising, “I’m not going there.”Followed by an exhale. Meaning, I wasn’t willing to let feelings of overwhelm twist me out of my center.
And yes, some days, I had to repeat this practice 10-15 times or more a day.
4. Relax fully in the present moment. It sounds so cliche, but truly the present moment is a safe haven. Expand it. Feel it. Get to know it. It’s your friend and ally.
Even if you’re in the middle of a sea of boxes, a monstrous to-do list or receiving 10 requests simultaneously (6 year olds aren’t afraid of asking for what they want, nor noticing how many requests are already in the queue – LOL!)… you can always fall back into the present moment. Breathing helps.
Challenge yourself to consciously relax more squarely in the present moment. “I’m here. I’m NOW.”Find the “okayness,” in the here and now. Whatever emergency of the moment is twisting you out of shape is almost never a real emergency. And if it is, handle it — and then come back to the present moment.
Suddenly there is space between me and the boxes, I notice the to-do’s are just ideas written on paper, and there is a teaching moment with my children (Remember, Mom can only handle one thing at a time).
And out of the present moment, it’s easier to see what the onenext thing to do is. We can all handle onething at a time. And if we’re fully present with it, chances are, you’ll enjoy the heck out of it!
5. Let it go.This is an important part of coming back to the present moment. In a moment of overwhelm, I may have tolet go of expectations, attachments and emotions.Frequently, I have to let go of a “to do” item or a big long list. Or a timeline.
Unrealistic expectations are an inner peace buzz killer. And sometimes what wasrealistic, becomes unrealistic with interruptions or distractions, an innocent mistake, or fizzled energy.
I’m an eternal optimist, who believes I can do it all. How about you? Well, we can, just not all at the same time or in the same week. I’m constantly re-aligning expectations with reality as it unfolds.
I’m often reminding myself I can only do ONE thing at a time. But gosh darn it, I sure love trying to do 5 things at once, or doing things fast. No wonder my kids don’t hesitate to ask to their hearts content.
* My plan to complete a newsletter is interrupted by a client in need, travel, higher priority task, and I have to graciously look for the next window of available time ideally without guilt. Sometimes again and again.
* When an army of ants show up in the kitchen, my timeline for dinner — or anything else for that matter — has to be set aside and those tiny, pesky insects get my 100% focus. Or mice! Yikes!!! We’ve diverted attention to both invasive creatures several times in the past couple of months. All good practice for finding inner peace in any moment.
* My emotions flair with a stern voice in attempts of thwarting a bloody accident, scarred wall or broken chandelier… and, then I come back to center. Once the message has landed, why dwell in the intensity? When inner peace is your default state, you’ll find yourself letting go of hot emotions faster than you could imagine.
You get the idea. There is a lot of letting go in order to avoid overwhelm and return to inner peace. Just keep letting go.
There are 6 more keys to share with you. And, in the spirit of minimizing overwhelm, I decided to split this article into two. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with an article about transforming overwhelm 🙂
Part of transforming your relationship with overwhelm is mindset and your ability to come back squarely in the present moment. Play and experiment with the first 5 keys this week.
There is also a practical side of overwhelm — tasks, to-do’s and projects! How in the world do we maintain inner peace in the midst of boxes, 1000 task, projects and responsibilities galore? I’ll share these next time!