(c) 2010 Joan Newcomb
A lot of people nowadays are overwhelmed, with too many things converging on them at once. Most of us are used to being pretty busy, or handling one or two crises at a time. But when challenges happen in three or more areas at once, you reach a breaking point.
What do you do when you're already on overload and the next thing threatens to tip you over?
Slow down and focus only on what is in front of you. Do the next indicated action. Take it one moment at a time. Do what you can in present time and let go of the rest.
The Buddhists call this 'mindfulness'. In Twelve Step groups it's doing the next indicated thing. It's recommended when in crisis. It's helpful in every day stress management as well.
When you focus on the present moment, you turn off the mind's chatter. It's the chattering that takes you into the future, beyond your control. It's the chattering that makes things much more dramatic than it needs to be.
Staying present also helps you deal with overwhelming emotions. Don't dredge up past experiences that were as bad or worse as what you're facing now - why add memories to your already full plate? Don't imagine terrible future scenarios; the future hasn't happened yet, and what's happening now is enough to deal with.
Break down "now" into small portions, individual tasks, and do only what you can. Hardly anything has to be responded to immediately; you can take 24 hours to decide on something or reply to someone.
Now is the time for extreme self care. Nurture yourself. Sleep. Eat. Sit in the sun.
Notice that there are different parts of you, and that they are having different reactions to whatever is going on. The loudest part is your emotions - part of your body/personality. It's the part of you that only sees things from a black and white perspective. It's only knowledge is from past experience. When traumatized, it goes back to the age you were when you were originally hurt or threatened. The quietest part is your Expanded Self. It's the part that sees everything. It's knowledge is infinite, because It is infinite.
In crises, you want your Expanded Self to step in and take care of things. It's the You that you want driving the car and making decisions.
Shift your awareness from the you that is reacting to what's going on to the You that can respond to what's happening. When you do so, You become your own parent and your own Guidance.
It's helpful to do on an everyday basis, whether you're in crisis or not!
Try some of these suggestions for this week and see how balance restores in your life.