One of the most profound pieces of advice I’ve ever put into practice is to keep things simple. It’s really pretty amazing how liberating it feels to simplify—the task at hand, the day’s goals, even your life as a whole. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I invite you to ask yourself this one question, like it’s your mantra. And pay attention to five things: areas of your life where you could apply the answers to this 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
Why do we devalue and dismiss the effective practices labeled as “simple”? We don’t always need a complex mathematical equation to solve our problems or the most profound psychological discovery to illuminate our path back to peace.
It takes openness to consider how simplicity can tame our feelings of overwhelm. Life on earth can be complex enough. Feeling overwhelmed? Time to simplify. It works for me every time.When the magnetism of complexity pulls you in for more, return again to the simple. tweet this
Sure, shiny new answers can look really good, but there’s a whole lot of wisdom to be found by taking a break. Go back to easy. It’s a lovely starting place for a calmer existence and it’s often quite productive in the long run (though that’s not the focus at the beginning, just a nice side-effect later on).
Here’s the question I’ve been asking myself lately when I start to feel overwhelmed by all the chaos inside of my head and on my to-do list:
How can I make things easy?
That’s it. Sound ultra-simple? Great. That’s the point.
This question has been bringing me back to an easy place inside where I just notice the life around me that I’m breathing. It’s led me to uncover old ways of being mindful; nothing fancy and sparkly here, just a present heart until it feels like a grateful heart.
It feels good just to be.
Now, this question brings me to five easy practices that are helpful when feeling overwhelmed, like a few deep breaths are helpful when life turns out to be just a tad too claustrophobic.
If you’re really having a tough time getting through this season (whether it’s a project at work or life in general), write these five main things down and set reminders for yourself so you can check in often.
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. tweet this
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. tweet this
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.
What’s something you can make easier and what’s one way you can simplify that area?
Please share what resonated with you from this post, helpful advice you’d give to someone who’s feeling overwhelmed, practices that help you keep things simple, and any stories of a shift with me in the comments.
Sharing what works for you with someone else is a wonderful way to lift your spirits; send these tips to a friend if they helped you at all.
The freedom you seek is also seeking you; I think that’s why you came here. You’re worthy of what’s drawing you closer to a breakthrough.