A few days ago I was on the phone with a very dear friend of mine and she was telling me that she has started to feel overwhelmed with all that’s been going on in her life: her kids, family, her career, the million of things she has to do and that seems to never end, all the people and things that required her time and attention… and really, who hasn’t been there before?
I’ve been in my friend’s position a lot of times before and actually, with the added pressure of this pandemic and the new set of worries we now have to deal with (those of you who are mothers will understand what I’m talking about!), I guess that what is incredible is that not ALL of us are overwhelmed ALL the time!
So, while I was talking with her, I remembered a book that I read some time ago and that is one of my favorite ones: Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport, that has perfect advice for this sensation of being completely overwhelmed and as soon as I remembered it, I just knew that I wanted to share some of the advice in there that I find very useful.
One of the main premises of this books, is that our thoughts determine the outcome of our lives and how our own inner monologue can (and will) make something look worse than it really is, how negative our own mind can really be when the “little comments” she always seems to be doing, and how difficult it is for us to get rid of these negative thoughts, so this book shows you in a very practical way, how to clean up your mental clutter.
The book is divided in four sections and it’s quiet detailed, so I’ll concentrate in the first part, Decluttering your Thoughts, and the advice the authors give are:
- Focused Deep Breathing. Easy, right? Of course! The only difference here is that instead of breathing out of habit, you should be able to be present with your breath and make it intentionally deeper, specially if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by what you’re thinking, but practicing theses deep breathings though the day, every day will improve your mental process and is the foundation for the next tip.
2. Meditation. Surely some of you have heard me talk about the benefits of meditation, so I’ll not go into every little detail of all the benefits of a meditation practice I’ll just tell you that once you make it a habit, you clearly see the difference in your days. In the book you cand find a 10 minute meditation practice very useful for those of you that are new in this practice-
3.Reframe all Negative Thoughts. You reinforce your negative way of thinking every time you don’t challenge them and accept your thoughts as your personality and… you are not your thoughts! So to reframe them you would like to first observe them and be aware of them and once you recognize them, you can say “Stop” every time you identify one of them
4. Teach your Old Mind New Tricks. How? Taking the last advice one step further: once you stop one negative thought, replace it! Recognize that your negative thought is not completely true and find one concrete example that contradicts your negative thought. During those times where its impossible to maintain a positive attitude (because being honest nobody can be positive all the time in ever circumstance!) accept your negative thought trying no to judge it or yourself and just accept that is there and remember thar acceptance doesn’t mean inaction. If you’re worried about one situation and it seems you can’t stop worrying about that, don’t beat yourself over that and instead allow yourself to worry all you want but just for a fixed amount of time, and after that time has passed, move onto action!
I’d like to share all the very useful tips from this book, but this post would turn huge! But there’s one thing that I want you to remember: Be kind to yourselves, as kind as you are with the people you love!