What I do when I am feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed
Hand on heart, inhale…I am here…exhale…I am ok.
I hate to admit this but I have been feeling stressed out, busy and anxious at the moment, and I’m sharing it here because from the conversations I’m having, others are too.
I feel (key word: feel) anxious, impatient, irritable, overwhelmed and tense.
There’s a lot happening in the business and in my personal life (all of it amazing by the way!) from August to December and it’s making me feel a bit frazzled.
But here’s the thing…if I write it all out, put it onto my year planner on the wall in the office, I actually have loads of space in between all that is happening…and for the most part everything that is scheduled is all prepped so I just either have to turn up and/or deliver.
The stress is in my head. My mind is in overdrive trying to forecast into the future, which is a bit silly because until the moment arrives there really is no use in fretting about it. Only when the task or event arrives in the present moment do I have any control over it so in the meantime why not just let it go? Dunno.
I have fleeting moments of clarity about all of this, realising that my anxiety is not helping me at all – but then I wake up in the middle of the night or in the early hours and my unfortunately my mind flips the ‘freak out’ switch and I’m back on the roller coaster again.
And you’d think with all the tools I have at my disposal I’d just breathe into it and ‘let it go’ right….ha, sometimes.
Other times I just can’t be bothered sitting in the anxiety and dealing with it, or am just to immersed in the drama to even attempt to sit quietly and try to reconnect…but thank you universe, this morning I did.
For some reason this morning I was really aware of where my anxiety was living within me, it’s in my stomach, and it feels like a big lump smack bang in the middle.
It’s location made me realise how often I have been walking around with a hand on my stomach lately, as if to try and comfort the anxiety.
I’ve also had issues digesting my food and have had days where I’m constantly looking for food to help fill the space that the anxiety seems to be creating, or perhaps trying to push it down.
Anyway, back to this morning.
I had an opportunity to take time to sit quietly and just observe what was going on inside. I wasn’t trying to meditate or let go of anything, it was just simple observation…silently asking “ok what the hell is actually going on?!”
Eventually I heard:
Because: my priorities aren’t aligned. What I want to be focusing on versus what I feel like I should be focusing on isn’t in alignment and it’s sending me into a spin.
I’m not communicating enough.
Because: I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, and because it makes me feel weak and vulnerable. It’s feels like complaining, when I should be grateful.
I need more movement AND more stillness.
Because: that’s how I process and transform blocks, physical, mental and emotional. I need to keep my asana practice up because it shifts me from head to heart or from mind to body. I NEED the stillness because it’s where I can hear myself clearly, it’s the place where I re-align and experience clarity and recognise that all of it, the stress, anxiety and overwhelm is in my head, and if ignored for long enough manifests in my stomach.
I learnt a technique earlier this year when on retreat and it’s done wonders for my anxiety this morning.
Once I felt and named the feeling as anxiety, I sat there in it for a moment, almost daring it to expand and then asked myself…
“How do I feel when I’m anxious….?”
And then waited….
“And how do I feel when I’m irritated?”
“And how do I feel when I’m angry?”
………….You get the drift, I just kept going until I got to the CORE of what was actually going on.
The reason why I’m sharing this, and trust me I almost didn’t, is because I know that I’m not the only one who feels busy and stressed and anxious and overwhelmed.
I know that many people are so used to feeling a certain way that it becomes normal. And the truth is there is actually nothing wrong with feeling the way you do, but without having an outlet or process of acknowledging feelings and emotions they become chronic and can actually make you believe that this is life.
This is why my mindfulness, asana and meditation practice is SO important.
For you it might be the same, or connecting with nature and journaling or walking and talking to a therapist or counsellor. It doesn’t matter as long as it works for you.
So what’s the point of sharing my musings with you?
I felt anxious and overwhelmed and it often makes me freeze and tense up. I needed to push myself to get on the mat and move and be still.
There’s a choice that often needs to be made, and it takes effort BUT I never regret my practice even though I had every excuse not to do it today.
Sometimes I just need to get out of my own way and stop listening to the voice that tells me I am stressed, anxious and overwhelmed…because the reality is I need to get present and acknowledge where I am in the present moment and accept it with the grace and the wisdom that really, most of the time all is well.
It might seem like in the moment I am powerless and affected by external circumstances and events, but more often than not…deep down inside, I am here and I am ok.
Hand on heart, inhale…I am here…exhale…I am ok.
Place your hand on your heart:
Inhale…I am here…Exhale…I am ok.