(printed in the New Spirit Journal March 2007)
In addition to the stress of our everyday lives – family, jobs, finances, we also witness world events like hunger, AIDS, war, and natural disasters. It can be overwhelming to our emotional, physical and mental well-being when we consider all that is going on in our lives and the world. As a Certified Intuitive Counselor, I work with many people who are trying to deal with feelings of overwhelm, frustration, and helplessness caused by events in their lives or in the world.
Men and women often come to me questioning why they feel ill or tired, or why they feel emotionally drained and absent.The first thing I do is help them recognize their feelings and acknowledge them because they are real. I am currently studying the effects of overwhelm and through this article I will explain how we can ‘take back’ our lives.
With today’s vast information systems, we exist in a much smaller world than many of us realize. We must filter through tremendous amounts of information about war, disease, death, and natural disasters. Our filters typically experience an event or information as something being immediately in front of us. Thusly, we experience overwhelm because we have no caution signal reminding us that it is happening thousands of miles away.
Most of the world uses the collective belief that what we perceive with our five senses is more accurate than the unseen. However, based on the quantum physics finding that an atom is less than 1% matter and over 99% space, we understand our world is made up mostly of space. I believe the attitude of “it can only be true if we see it, taste it, touch it or hear it” has run its course and in order for us to be empowered, we have to reprogram our minds to a new belief system that is inclusive of the non-literal.
I recently experienced overwhelm through dealing with my ailing mother. After I had a migraine for a few days I heard that she had taken a turn for the worse. My mother lives 1,000 miles away, was in pain, afraid, and there was nothing concrete I could do to help her. Much of my conscious self believes this was the reason I had the migraine, supporting the idea that the distance between an event and ourselves makes no difference in our reactions or feelings to the event. When we see war on TV or the effects of a natural disaster, our minds see it as being something we are directly emotionally or mentally involved with and in turn we react accordingly.
Experiencing our World Differently
By experiencing the world only through our five senses, we allow for a small percentage of what is truly going on to be considered. By opening our minds to recognize that much of what is happening is unseen we allow for an expanded interpretation of life, thusly opening up possibilities to experience what is happening around us in a very conscious way. If we change our belief system from “I effect only what I touch, to “my effect on the world is far reaching”, we have a real potential for manifesting peace within ourselves and in the world. As I integrate the idea that our belief structure plays a large part in the manifestation of our reality, it becomes easier to manage my world from a peaceful place. When we become inclusive of the unseen as we manage our everyday lives, we allow for an enormous opportunity of harnessing the power of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual capabilities. This provides a degree of relief in that we have more power than we realize to deal with any situation, and the power to change a situation.
Tools to Manage Overwhelm
As mentioned before, much of our overwhelm comes from our reactions to events or when we experience a ‘what if…’ scenario that causes anxiety about what could happen. If we react to a current stressor with a conscious response, we can take care of the situation and move forward with our lives. Some tools Ioffer my clients in managing feelings of overwhelm include becoming and staying in the present moment. Pulling your focus into the present can be done by:
a. Paying attention to your breathing. Shallow breathing is a very common result of an overwhelmed reaction. Concentrate on exhaling fully without pushing too hard; this insures the next inhalation will be as full as possible. Taking 3 full breaths, 3 times a day can do wonders for your overall well-being.
b.Becoming aware of where your thoughts are in relation to time; or being aware that you may be reacting as you have in the past and bring yourself into the present. Simply saying to yourself, “I am here, safe, now,” can bring you to the present.
c. Stop listening to/watching/reading the news. I say this tongue in cheek, but am also serious because if people would spend their day focusing on what is in front of them and looking at the news as a secondary aspect of their lives, they would feel a lot less overwhelmed.
Managing overwhelm is a daily practice yet one that offers great rewards. If we remember to be present, open, and that we create our reality through our perceptions, actions and beliefs – we can create a more harmonious energy that heals ourselves and the world.