You know that feeling when your stress has been building for a while, and there’s some nagging issue in your life that is going unresolved?
I’ve been experiencing a bit of that lately.
I know it’s there because there’s a pit of anxiety in my belly that grows bigger and stronger with every passing day.
And as that pit in my stomach grows, I also notice my mind getting busier and more chaotic. I can’t find my sense of inner peace and well-being anymore. It’s like it’s just out of reach, and I’m stuck in some kind of downward spiral.
Any of this sound familiar?
Well, what I’ve noticed is that the only way to stop this proverbial ‘wheel’ of the anxious mind, is to stick a wrench through it - so to speak.
See, we humans have two modes - Doing and Being.
And when we’re stuck in a state of anxious overwhelm, we’re usually avoiding the ‘Being’ state because, on some level, it feels too scary to go there. Our instinct is to ‘DO more’ because it feels like that will fix the problem.
—-Think back through evolution here - our species didn’t survive because we sat and reflected when under threat - it survived because we RAN! Or FOUGHT!
Unfortunately, that often doesn’t serve us anymore. Our own minds are so powerful that they are sometimes the biggest threat to our well-being.
So even though, in moments of stress, your instinct is to AVOID slowing down and going into ‘Being’ mode - that is EXACTLY the wrench that is needed to stop your anxious mind-wheel in its tracks.
So what does this look like, practically speaking, you ask?
Step 1: You need to literally STOP. Make time to simply BE with yourself. That could be going for a walk, sitting in the car, lying on the couch, taking a long shower, sitting on the toilet… whatever. You need about 10 minutes to make this effective. And just to warn you —- this will likely NOT FEEL GOOD initially. If you’ve been in anxious ‘Doing’ mode for a while, you’re going to feel a lot of resistance to stopping - DO IT ANYWAY.
Step 2: Turn off all distractions! This is not a time to be listening to a podcast, watching TV, or listening to music. You need it to be quiet enough that you can hear the voices inside you that are trying (probably screaming) to get out.
Step 3: Start by taking 10 deep, slow breaths. Really FEEL into your body as you’re doing this. Tell your brain that this is your only job right now.
Step 4: Identify what the predominant EMOTIONS are that are lurking inside you right now. Name them out loud (i.e. “There is a lot of FEAR here”). Stay there for a few minutes, just noticing the feelings inside you, with compassion.
Step 5: Do a worry DUMP. Start to list, out-loud, all of the things that are causing you worry at the moment. This is not a time to problem-solve or analyze them… you’re just naming them out-loud. You could also write them out on paper as a list. Keep going until you feel a sense of lightness start to open up within you.
Step 6: End with creating a new belief that will SERVE you. It should be simple and quite generalin nature (getting into specifics may re-activate the anxious mind). For example, “Things always work themselves out”, or “I can handle anything that comes my way”. Whatever it is, make sure it feels true. Say this new phrase a few times to yourself SLOWLY, really feeling the meaning of the words.
AND YOU'RE DONE! You can now enjoy NOT feeling like a rabid, caged animal - you’re welcome.
But seriously ... During times of stress, this technique can be INVALUABLE and keep you more grounded and present.
When you’re anxiety isn’t running you from the inside out, you can perform WAY more efficiently, and you might even have fun while you’re doing it!
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If this was helpful for you today, or you have your own tips/strategies to share about recovering during stress - shoot me a line! I would love to hear from you.
P.s. If you’re ready to beat overwhelm and stress for GOOD, come work with me! My 1-on-1 coaching packages will transform the way you operate in the world, from the inside-out. Click here to learn more.