Feeling Overwhelmed? One Question + 5 Tips to Simplify Life
One of the most profound things I've ever done is this: keep things simple. It’s amazing how freeing it feels to simplify—the task at hand, the day’s goals, life as a whole. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself this one question...
“When your world moves too fast and you lose yourself in the chaos, introduce yourself to each color of the sunset. Reacquaint yourself with the earth beneath your feet. Thank the air that surrounds you with every breath you take. Find yourself in the appreciation of life.” — Christy Ann Martine
How can I make things easy?
That’s it. Sound ultra-simple? Great. That’s the point.
It feels good just to be.
Here are some ideas to help you do that.
When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed, Try Focusing on 5 Things
1. Mindful input.
Focus on what you’re consuming, which means everything from what’s on your plate to what you’re spending a lot of time looking at or listening to. It’s okay to indulge in yummy things, but how much feels like too much? It’s a simple question to ask yourself while you’re in the process of consuming.
Repeat an affirmation for protecting your energy from toxic situations; acknowledge how energy can be contagious, and actually ask yourself if you want to adopt what others are putting out.
2. Mindful output.
Focus on the ways in which you contribute yourself. What are you putting out, radiating? Pay attention to your physical movements and align your body with activity and expression that feels nourishing and honest.
Take care of your energy by allowing space between a stimulus and your response; before you give, ask how you can contribute who you are. Notice the words you speak; do they contribute to who you want to be, how you want to feel, what you want to do?
What you devote your energy to is what you're cultivating. Like a garden, you nurture with your attention.
Focus on the quality of the space you occupy, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Does it feel like you allow yourself enough downtime, alone time, quiet time? How often would you like to read, write, meditate, sip tea, or just lie down? Could you allow yourself a little space for what nurtures you right now, today, this week?
If you tend to accept every invitation sent your way, especially those really beautiful ones, check in with yourself before you accept. Make your first priority your sense of spaciousness.
4. Connect to inspiration.
Focus on activities and practices that encourage creativity, mindfulness, flow, a sense of spiritual connection to something larger than yourself, or your dreams. It’s important to keep in touch with inspiration, but if you’ve fallen out of alignment with that sort of connection, do something easy to get back into it.
Volunteer for a cause that matters to you. Read an inspiring book. Listen to a podcast. Play a guided meditation and give yourself the time and space to be all there. Involve yourself in a flow activity, where you’re completely submerged in the moment, challenged and engaged yet enjoying the experience. Go for a walk outside and reconnect with the natural world.
Pay attention to the little details of the moment.
Inspiration is everywhere, though it can seem like it's nowhere. The trick to tapping into it isn't to force, but to allow; not to try harder, but to enjoy the process of what's already in motion.
5. Prioritize big Yeses.
Focus on the sensation that arises when you’re about to make a decision. This, again, calls for space between a stimulus and your response. (I guess the whole “ease” thing is about space.) Let the feelings evoked from the decision emerge; let the intuitive intelligence within come to greet you. If the heart isn’t saying “YES!” then it’s not a yes. Feel. Listen. Then decide.
Living from within makes a tremendous difference and can turn overwhelming periods into catalysts for newfound clarity.
. . .
Which of these thoughts did you need to read today?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I'd love to know!
P.S. Need some help keeping it simple when you get home from work? Get my book Sleep Rituals for 100 at-home practices that are all about you. And the life you really want.
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