Hello, hello! We’re wrapping up this week of super awesome guest posts with one from my friend, Raphaelle. She is a Pilates and mindfulness teacher who believes every woman should live peacefully and passionately. Today Raphaelle is sharing her best strategies on how to deal with feelings of overwhelm and integrate them into a mindful, peaceful frame of mind. I know you’re gonna love this!
We all know what it feels like: that tight, constricting veil of self-doubt and fear that colors everything we do with the panic of ‘not enough’.
There’s not enough time to finish this project.
I’m not skilled enough. I’m not efficient enough. I’m not peaceful enough. I don’t meditate enough.
There’s not enough love; I’m not lovable enough to receive it. It will all go to others.
We may feel overwhelmed at work, pushing through our to-do list and managing our colleagues and bosses’ demands, real or imagined. As an entrepreneur, we feel overwhelmed by clients, or the lack thereof. We rush through our daily tasks in case we’ll look up one day and all of our clients will have gone to other coaches because, as the scared, overwhelmed part of us keeps repeating, there’s not enough.
Does that seem like a fun way to live? I thought not. And yet, almost all of us experience overwhelm to a varying degree. I’ve found that rigidity is the best clue to identify feelings of overwhelm.
This rigidity can manifest itself in different ways. Perhaps we are physically rigid: we hunch forward at our desks, with our necks twisted in front of our spines and our heads peeking out like we’re a turtle, hiding behind our shells. Or perhaps we are mentally rigid: we continually run over every single item we’ll have to get done in our heads, even as we’re accomplishing an important task. We pay attention to the future and rehash past moments, judging ourselves for mistakes real or imagined.
Sometimes, we are even rigid with our schedules and our sense of time; we don’t allow interruptions, we panic if traffic is heavy, we cut short on bathroom breaks or even stretching out a sore back until we’ve reached a certain point on the to-do list. None of this makes us more efficient. But it certainly makes us more stressed, inviting yet more rigidity into our lives as we attempt to control and manage the overwhelm.
Rigidity is not the answer to our impressions of overwhelm. They compound the problem of not enough, by adding not enough flow, ease, and space to our pre-existing feelings of lack. The solution is not to force ourselves into a mold, to micromanage our time, to deliberately forget our own needs and desires in order to ‘get more done’. The key is to acknowledge the overwhelm, and to integrate it into our minds, spirits, and souls.
How is that done? By accepting. Forgiving. Aligning. Instead of pushing the feeling away and seeking to control it through rigid behaviors, allow yourself to feel stressed and lacking. Yes, really. Allow the feeling to come. And then…
Allow it to leave.
Don’t try to cling onto the overwhelm physically, mentally, spiritually. Notice the tension in all parts of your bodies, be they physical, emotional, or mental. And once you’ve discovered tension, rigidity, overwhelm…
Let it be. Feelings leave on their own when they’re let to evolve in peace. It seems counterintuitive, I know, but when you think about it, fighting feelings of inadequacy with behaviors that invite even more feelings of inadequacy is pretty counterintuitive too.
And yet, that’s what we do every time we feel like there’s not enough and immediately start rushing, whether there’s something worth rushing for or not.
Notice the next time you are tense. Notice the not enoughs running around in your head.
Notice the way you tighten onto life when you ignore those feelings, or attempt to fight them. Notice all of that. And try letting it be.
Do you have a technique or specific words you use to integrate feelings of overwhelm?
Share them in the comments below.
A psychology student, Pilates and mindfulness teacher, and life enthusiast, Raphaelle Robidoux believes every woman should live peacefully and passionately. She works on bringing body love, time flow, and mental space to those who feel constrained by the demands of their day-to-day. For more information about Raphaelle, feel free to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
[photo credit: infiniteache]