Our thoughts, feelings and emotions become our reality. As a result, you want to focus on what you do want, not what you don't want. For example, if you are thinking that project will overwhelm you, that will become your reality. Instead, you might focus on what baby steps you can take to begin to work your way forward one thing at a time. Learning to breathe, ground and center is the first step towards decreasing your overwhelm. Once you are in that calm state, you can begin to think more clearly to focus on what you do want and what you might be able to do to get there.
Did you know overwhelm and helplessness is a learned state? There are many studies that prove this. Researchers found that once you learn this helplessness, you actually begin to apply it to other situations and your situation just worsens overall and you may put yourself in in a crisis place. The good news is crises are actual the foundation for growth and change. We all have the power in any given situation to consciously find what is good about that situation as that will make you feel more fortunate instead of helpless. It is all how you look at the situation and that is often the result of your natural style. There are people who have an optimistic style and they will usually interpret the situation as temporary or as not that bad…they will see what can be not what is at that moment in time. Those with a pessimistic style will see situations as more permanent. Your potential for success is very dependent on your style. The good news is you can learn to change your style. You can retrain your brain to find what’s right or good in the situation.
There are several techniques that I teach to help people begin to rewire their neuropathways to begin to see and find the positive instead of the negative. Several are extremely simple but takes practice and dedication to actually begin to change how the information travels in your brain.
Technique #1: Keep a grateful journal. Yes, it is as simple as that. Physically writing down what you are grateful for each and every day can begin to retrain your brain to a more positive state. Studies have actually shown that you can become a more positive and optimistic person overall by writing at least 5 gratefuls every single day.
Technique #2: Start finding what is right in every situation or with each person. A high percentage of people tend to focus on what is wrong especially if you are in a job that requires you to find errors or question the status of things…auditors and lawyers are a good example. Once they are trained to find the problems, it is hard to see what is right in any area of their lives. I ask them to start finding what is right every time they are faced with a problem or setback. Or to look for what is right to balance out what they see as wrong. For instance, a person trained to find errors will see the C’s on their child’s report card and overlook all the A’s…not a good way to build strong relationships with your kids and it definitely doesn’t build their self-esteem.
Technique #3: It is about turning adversity into opportunity. When you are faced with adversity or a situation you cannot change, accept that. Realize that it is what it is. Then look to see if you can come up with a solution or what you might be able to do change how this situation will impact you in the future.
This has a lot to do with your belief system. If you believe you can change the long term impact of the event…you will be able to. But if you don’t believe you can, you will become more helpless. So the key is telling yourself that a belief system is just that…it’s a belief, not a fact. Talk to yourself…and tell yourself…that’s just a belief…it’s not necessarily true. Challenge that belief…and say, I know I have always thought that but now I am looking at it differently. What is the evidence that this belief could be true? Do you have any? Does this reasoning or belief make any sense? What should we consider instead? How can I turn this negative situation or adversity into a positive? What is right in this situation?
The human psyche is more resilient than we often realize. Breathe, ground, center, learn from adversity and focus on what you do want and begin to decrease your overwhelm and make progress towards the life you want to live.