Overwhelm - that sensation of being consumed and drowning.
When you're overwhelmed, emotions are running high and rational thought is running low. Overwhelm is a key signal that you are in the flight or fight response. When you reach overwhelm you have likely been feeling inundated with difficult circumstances, repeatedly. Initially designed to get us out of short-term life-threatening situations, the stress response increases cortisol and diverts energy from your non-essential systems (eg. digestion) to your essential systems (eg. respiration, circulation) to ensure your greatest assets and strengths are primed for survival.
Unfortunately, for many of us our flight-or-fight response is perpetually switched on due to the demands of today's lifestyle. Let's review the list........
- Financial burden: mortgages, credit card debt,
- Career pressure: am I successful / happy / aligned / contributing / achieving?
- Parenting perfection: trying to be ALL things, to smALL people - present, nurturing, independent, boundary enforcing, engaged and involved without being a helicopter parent
- Nurturing relationships with spouse / partner while maintaining indpendence
- Respecting wellness: it is inordinately expensive to feed your body with organic, whole, sustainable and ethically sourced food and engage in exercise, yoga, pilates. Have you seen the cost of yoga gear!!
- Relaxing: finding ways to switch off and but not with more than two glasses of wine or you're an alcoholic
- Keep up with the latest research / news / entertainment / technology while switching off your device to limit exposure to wi-fi
Hello downward spiral. Yep. It's easy to see how we end up in overwhelm.
There is plenty of information available offering solutions to manage anxiety and stress. However, I generally find an abundance of advice with limited practical application. My offering to you is to give practical tools that you can use anywhere, anytime to clear your mind and body of the anxiety that limits us into thinking that we are somehow not enough, right now.
When you are feeling stressed, try essential oils that help to open the airways so you can breathe deeply. Deep breathing is still the most effective, clinically proven method of reducing stress. Adding essential oils makes it far more effective, particularly if you have trouble expanding your lungs - because you're so uptight! Easy Air, Peppermint, Cardamom or Lemon all support deep, oxygenating breaths that slow your heart rate, body and mind. Once you're breathing well apply some oils that ground, centre and calm the nervous systems such as Balance, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Frankincense or Patchouli. Add some oils to uplift your mood such as Wild Orange, Bergamot or Melissa and you'll be feeling like your old self in no time. Once you've taken some deep breaths and let your body and mother nature do their work, it's time to delve a little deeper into other ways you can support yourself.
Emotional Anatomy provides remarkable insight into your natural characteristics and tendencies. For example, if you're a Vata type you'll need to regularly ground yourself to ensure your flighty nature doesn't succeed in running away with you. Faced with a crisis or the pressures of consistent high load, Vata types can experience an excess of thoughts, darting around in their heads and creating a lot of noise. Standard response is to take flight. Regular grounding using essential oils, yoga or getting out in nature with bare feet will work wonders. Pitta types on the other hand thrive on high levels of activity, both mental and physical. But we all have limits and if there is too much rigid structure, and not enough flexibility and choice, then the Pitta will end up stressed, tense and likely have digestive issues. So keeping options open and doing meditation to clear the mind and body of excess energy will support you in the day to day. And ditch the coffee, you don't need it! Kapha types tend to go a little more slowly, they take their time to digest and need to maintain close links to their tribe in order to keep on an even keel. During times of high stress you need to take time to connect with loved ones, and slow down.
EFT Once you understand where your stress and anxiety is coming from, then you can get into the nitty gritty about why YOU'RE CREATING the environment that perpetuates the problem. Yes, we all do. You have control over far more than you think. Understanding your behavioural patterns will give you enormous leverage in changing your life. Whose expectations are you trying to meet? What are you trying to prove? Why? The questions and answers are different for everyone and shifting beliefs that don't serve you will position you for far greater success, and peace.
I find it extraordinary that we are killing ourselves with stress. The World Health Organisation reports that more than half the deaths that occur worldwide each year are the result of lifestyle choices. 'LIFE-STYLE'. As in, how you style your life. Do you want to style a life for yourself that results in stress, disease and death?
I sure as sh*t don't!
I want a life that is full of joy, abundance, heart-warming connection, humour, intimacy, beauty and wild success. I want to leave this planet knowing I did everything possible to give the most I could, and live the best I could be. I want to know that my children, future women of the world, know fundamentally that they are connected to the planet, the universe, each other, me and most importantly themselves. And that they nurture those connections of mind, body and spirit. My job is to model HOW to do that, enough so that they get the picture and then grow up to go out and find their own ways of doing it, and contribute that to their world.
So I do the work everyday to improve myself, to better my practice, to lighten my heart and to share that with others. Because we learn through experience, we must take action. Ain't nobody gettin' nowhere sittin' around thinking about stuff. It's called 'contemplating your navel' and it's an incredibly indulgent behaviour. Progress, momentum, change, growth, expansion - all require action. So get up, learn about what's best for you, grab some oils and start tapping. I love to hear how you use these tools in your daily life, post a comment below!