It is a feeling that hits all of us at one point or another. A feeling that we have too many things going on. We have too many tasks and too many problems, which all start to crop up at once. Then these feelings send us into panic mode. Our mind starts to race. Breathing becomes difficult. We get sweaty palms and armpits. We just don't know which direction to turn first and, instead of getting anywhere, we just spin our wheels. Worst of all, these experiences can force us to live in fear that it will happen again and to limit our life to avoid it.
To a great extent, how bad these feelings can get will depend on the person. For some, they may just cause a feeling of being momentarily overwhelmed. For others, it can be so severe that they cause complete paralysis. While neither of these situations are ideal, the good news for everyone is that with a little effort they can be managed.
The first thing you need to remember is that anxiety is really fueled by dwelling on the future instead of living in the present. We have talked about this before. We are not guaranteed one breath beyond the one we are taking right now, so get yourself grounded in the "now" of the situation.
As soon as you detect those creepy feelings starting to take hold, take a few deep breaths--in through the nose, out through the mouth. Focus on nothing but each breath and how it feels to draw the air in, feeling your lungs expand and then contract as you push it out. If you can, imagine the tension flowing out with each exhale. Give this a try and you will find it has a very calming effect both mentally and physically.
Now, that you have a grip, don't let your mind start racing again. Take one thought at a time. Recognize that what just happened was nothing more than your mind running to consequences before recognizing priorities. Organize your thoughts, prioritize your task and get to it.
This process is much easier to explain this than it is to accomplish, but it is not beyond anyone's abilities. Like most things, it will get easier the more you do it.
My challenge for you this week:
Organize your priorities.
Whenever you feel stressed, make a list of the problems and tasks that concern you.
Prioritize your list based on the value of bringing the problem or task to a conclusion.
Review your list for problems or tasks that have little to no value toward advancing your future. Eliminate these items!
On a daily basis, take time to practice the breathing technique shared above.