Overwhelmed? Stressed? Struggling to keep your head above water? All these states have us ready to pull out our own hair as we stifle an urge to scream. We’ve all been there and likely we will find ourselves overwhelmed again in our future. So what can we do to move past this predominantly flight or fight response to situations beyond our control?
Increase the number of times you sigh in an hour. A sigh is an extended, deep breath that upon it’s release offers the individual a bit of stress reduction. Did you know that humans aren’t the only ones who sigh in response to stress? Perhaps you’ve even seen your faithful four legged companion sigh.
Sighing isn’t restricted to times of stress, it is also the body’s modality for getting more air into the lungs. Sighing can also indicate a state of sadness or even exhaustion. Not unlike deep breathing, sighing is the body’s way of instilling a piece of calm to an otherwise overwhelmed state of mind.
When stress enters our lives, our body naturally lends itself to restoring the balance and one of the ways it does this is by inducing frequent sighs. Using a little reverse awareness may also help us manage the stress in our lives. For example, now that you are aware that you will naturally sign when under stress, perhaps taking note of an increase in sighing is another way to acknowledge the stress and take action to reduce it.
Are you a list maker? Studies indicate that when an individual is feeling overwhelmed, writing a list of tasks to be completed is an effective method for managing the workload and the stress.
Putting your tasks down on paper takes the unknown out of the equation. A list allows you to cover all bases. You can see what needs to be done right there in front of you. You can move items around and organize them in priority sequence. Or you can estimate time frames to complete said tasks and thus reduce your stress by managing your time effectively.
A little bonus tip for list writing… If you find yourself needing to complete a task not on the list you’ve written, simply add the task to the list and then promptly cross it off. Keeping track of accomplishments throughout the day is another benefit of list making which also works to lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Have grace and say Thank You. I’ve said it many times before and I will probably go to my grave repeating it. Gratitude is the number one way out of any less than stellar situation in life. Nobody’s life is perfect. Most certainly, nobody’s life is free from stress. Gratitude is a guiding light through both the best of days and the worst of days.
There have been times when gratitude was a struggle. Whether it is a deliberate mantra you have to remind yourself of, or a state of flow that enlivens all the best aspects of your day, gratitude must continue to be nurtured throughout your daily life.
You may be feeling overwhelmed and buried under your own life situation. Simply take a moment, lift your head, and announce three things you are grateful for. They don’t have to be extravagant. Being grateful isn’t about the thing you are grateful for after all. It is about the act of gratitude in and of itself.
The best thing about gratitude is its true ability to transform your life and your perspective into something extraordinary. The key is a simple math equation. The more overwhelmed you are feeling in any given moment, the more frequently you need to voice your gratitude.
We cannot always control the life situations that happen around and to us, but we can always control our reactions to those situations. Being overwhelmed is an exhausting place to live. My wish is that you will take these tips and include them in your tool box of life skills and go on to live another stress free day.