Where I live, it’s been relentless snow and cold. We’ve had below zero windchill temperatures, and, well, pull on your boots and parka designed for arctic adventurers. While the weather is good or bad, depending on your perspective and time zone, what really bothers me most is when I hear people mention the words “I feel overwhelmed”. My heart breaks.
Even my dog Buddy looks cold
I’m always on the lookout for tools to help people live their best life. To cope with things like OVERWHELM. Because we can’t do everything, but we’re told we should. Overwhelm is an energy and joy stealer. It prevents you from doing your best work, living a full and complete life, feeling happy. Neuroscientists report that “94% of working people in the industrialized world have felt overwhelmed to the point of incapacitation.” (Christine Carter, PhD.) We try to do more multi-tasking, to get everything done. But that doesn’t work either.“Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking.” (From an article in the Guardian written by Neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitan) No wonder I hear that undertone of hopelessness when people say, “I’m overwhelmed.”
Because you can’t do everything, you need to make choices. In those areas, begin to practice ‘no’. But what do you say no to? Say no to all the things that don’t line up with your values. I’m not talking values as in ‘family values’, although family can be one of your core values. Values are the principles, beliefs and attitudes that guide your decisions, actions and behaviors. When you are not in alignment with your values, your life doesn’t flow easily. My clients do a values assessment that helps them clarify where their values lie. They work with a list of words associated with values, such as ‘Career’, ‘Individualism’, “Innovation’, “Helping Others”, “Family”, “Adventure”, etc. I work with them to get really clear on what their top 5 values are. They can then make decisions on where to say yes, and where to say no. Any tool that can help you make decisions and set priorities, is helpful with overwhelm. So, make a list of ten words describing important personal principles. Compare them with each other, and see which 5 are most important to you. These are the values that drive your life. By getting clear on your core values, you can make decisions on where you spend your time and energy. At work, you may not have control of all of your decisions. Zero in on the areas you do have control over, and choose what and how you spend your time.This leads to a life lived with integrity, and a whole lot less overwhelm.
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