Overcoming Overwhelm in One Step
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by something that you can hardly see the forest for the trees? That burdened feeling makes you think you will never get through whatever you are dealing with. It may be a big project at work. It may be planning an event. It may be getting through a family crisis. Or, it might just be getting through an afternoon with the kids.
When you get to that place - the seriously overwrought, I have so much to do I can hardly stand it, help me now place - remember this, you don't have to figure it all out right this minute. You only have to identify the next action you need to take. That's it. Don't think about the end game. Don't think about how much more you have to do. Just think about the very next step. Identify that single action and take it. Then repeat as needed. How simple is that?
This is the opposite of big picture thinking. Here you are narrowing your focus so you can avoid the distraction that comes from a to-do list a mile long. You aren't avoiding life though. You are just helping yourself move forward in a deliberate way. Sometimes blinders are necessary. When overwhelm sets in they can come on very handy. Why do you think horses where them? So they do get distracted and scared. If that were to happen they would immediately go off course, losing their way and wind up in deep trouble.
I see this technique as a tricky little way to keep making progress even when I am feeling that I will never get it all done. By narrowing my focus to the present, I can avoid the crazy making that comes from being so overwhelmed that I can't manage big picture thinking. Try it yourself the next time you feel paralyzed by all the things on your plate. I can practically guarantee you will feel better and see progress.
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