Over the last year, since the pandemic shut down the world, a deluge of overwhelming feelings and inability to focus have been my battleground.
I noticed that I was being very reactive, constantly picking up my phone to see ‘what everyone is up to’ – signaled by a ‘ding’.
I thought that if I was responsive, crossed things off the list more quickly, did ‘more things’, it would alleviate the stress.
Instead, I decided to put my phone on silent mode. You won’t hear me saying, “I decided to exit out of social media..” because honestly, I like being there!
But silent mode – life-changing!
I missed a lot of calls, I wasn’t available on whatsapp chats right away and I didn’t get notifications from Facebook.
I stopped checking emails and answering messages as soon as they came in.
But nobody died, and I managed to respond to all the important ‘callings’.
I stopped unconsciously reacting to every single ding.
This relaxed my nervous system, every day, little by little.
I noticed that my day was more calm + quiet. I could focus for longer periods of time, and I had so many new ideas for work, content and how to help my clients.
And also, every day, new, tragic world events emerge.
Fires, a building collapsed, an assasination, anti-semetism on the rise, floods.
I can’t help but think about the effects of it, the impact on people, the animals, the environment.
This means more stress to the mind + heart, feeling less in control, less connection to my ground.
These world events are going to keep happening, and I’m going to ‘feel’ them, but NOT unconsciously reacting to every ‘ding’ that calls to me, has given me a lot more rest and an ability to focus on the important things.
So you see, creating more space in my mind and calm in my body was the answer to relieve the stress – not crossing to-do’s off my list or getting mad at world events.
When my clients say, “Elinor, it’s so hard to focus, I have so many things going on, where do I even start?” Besides asking them to put their phones on silent mode, I also give them my 3 Steps to relieve distractions, overwhelm and get back to center.
- Notice – Be an active observer of your thoughts – pay attention to the exact thoughts that pop into your mind and just observe them, intentionally. For example, It’s great to take a walk because of ill feelings and discomfort… but if you just infuse some awareness and intention into this walk – AKA:: “I’m walking to soothe my overwhelmed feelings and I’m going to come back and figure out what I was thinking that was causing me to feel this way”…is 80% of the work.
This is the step where you are gathering information.
** Remember: the WORK is to PRACTICE SOOTHING, NOT “REMOVING”
- Pause – No more information is needed at this point – just tuning into the moment and your body. From the previous step, you already know something uncomfortable is happening, you are practicing active awareness and just noticing what is circulating inside your mind. This step is all about pausing time and feeling into yourself. Does that sound weird? That’s because it is, haha, but only if you’ve never practiced this before. The more you practice this, the more ‘normal’ it will seem.
Pay attention to scents, textures and what you are seeing in front of you.
This is the step where you’ll use your feelings, activate your senses to help you relax. Just taking a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth will help you ground into your body and tune into the moment. You don’t need to ‘do’ anything here – just BE.
- Trust – What is your next best step? Once you relax your body, you will feel like the overwhelm has lessened. And this is where the BEST ideas will start flowing to you – grab those ideas and write them down. Choose one and TRUST it is the next best step for YOU, because you chose it. Don’t look back – your choice is good enough in that moment. Only YOU know the next best step, and I highly suggest you take that step, without asking for others’ opinions.
What are your thoughts about this 3 Step Process, let me know below.