A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao Tzu

By Amy Offenberg on Mar 06, 2015 A single step? Sure, that sounds easy, but I have a million things to do and a single step will get me nowhere. I have to get prepared to work with my new students, the phone and internet service at my house has been out for four days and I am endlessly fighting with Comcast. I have patients to see while I still fight a cold, my dry-cleaning has been ready for a week and the loads of laundry pile up. A dear friend is on the phone about her sick mom, another wants to separate from her husband and I support another loved one recovering from a cancer surgery. I am totally overwhelmed.

Feeling overwhelmed is very stressful and so much a part of many of our days. We feel like we should be able to multi task and do a better job at being efficient. And yet when we are overwhelmed, this causes us to freeze up and do nothing, because there is way too much for us to do. When external factors in our life seem overwhelming, it is important that we try and remove ourselves from our thoughts, gain perspective, and compose ourselves.

It is critical to become aware of where the emotion that causes us to be overwhelmed is really coming from. If we are able to isolate where the feeling is coming from, we may be able to stop the thoughts ourselves. Usually one thought or task is the thing that causes us to be stuck, creating the feeling of being overwhelmed. Our brain becomes fixated on that one thought and this prevents us from doing anything.

Some tips for tackling the overwhelming feelings:

-Take some deep breaths. I suggest at least three deep breaths. It sounds simple, but it helps.

-Delete all of the items on your list that are Non Essentials, things that can be realistically done at another time

- Develop a personal Mantra and repeat it to yourself. Think of the little train who got over the track with a Mantra of…..I think I can

-Visualize a stop sign, yes the one you see on the road. Picture it in your mind when your thoughts are taking over. Make yourself stop thinking.

- Be kind to yourself. Give yourself Grace. Some days are easy, some are hard. It is Ok to have some compassion for yourself, not just for other people.

My service disruption, the two no show visits by the Comcast technicians and the fact that despite my best efforts, my problem still exists are creating my feeling overwhelmed. Today I will be kind to myself knowing this too shall pass. Today I began my journey with one single step