I’ve been struggling all week with a nagging feeling that I’m about to become overwhelmed… by work piling up, by unhappy news headlines, by crappy weather, by everyday life hassles like a tropical storm blowing so many leaves down on my nice clean yard that it looks like I didn’t spend hours raking leaves into big piles last weekend. (All of us in the mid-Atlantic region are feeling that pain right now. Thanks a lot, Ida.)
We’ve all woken up feeling so overwhelmed that we just freeze, unmotivated and unable to get anything done. The tendency to buy into feeling overwhelmed is tremendous in our fast-paced, need-it-now culture.
So how do we get unstuck from the world of the overwhelmed? By taking the energy used to churn with indecision and flipping it into productivity.
Notice those negative thoughts in your head, but be determined to refute them literally and firmly (silently, aloud, in writing–whatever works):
“I can’t do it” becomes “Yes I can!”
“I don’t know where to start” becomes “I’ll start here!”
“I feel overwhelmed” becomes “I will get something done!”
Start with one negative thought, turn it into one positive action, and see how quickly your mood picks up. In the time it takes you to turn your thoughts around, you’ve made a tiny investment in positive energy that can kickstart a day filled with productivity. You might even get some of those leaves raked to the curb.
Full disclosure: I’ve been reading about mindfulness lately, which I interpret to mean taking any negativity floating around in your brain, noticing it for what it is, thinking about it rationally, then turning your attention to something positive to overpower the negative. I haven’t mastered this yet, but it helps to have a strategy.