I was in a state of agitation
The morning hadn’t got off to a good start. My son was dragging his feet for the school run and I could see we were going to be late.
I’d slept badly and could feel myself getting into a state of reactivity.
Not the responsive, considered energy I might normally bring to my interactions.
I was going into full gnarly, tetchy, intolerant mode.
Grumpzilla was on the loose.
It felt like cars ahead of me were deliberately going slowly. There was more traffic than usual.
The day weighed heavily on me. The thought of my client meetings, normally light, joyful, energising, felt heavy and difficult.
Part of me wanted to cancel my commitments and dive back under the duvet.
I imagine you have had your own experience of something like this. Maybe it happens more than you’d like.
Or perhaps it creeps up on you without you noticing. You feel irritated at home or with colleagues. Nothing seems or feels right.
You snap at someone who really didn’t deserve it. You become hyper-critical of yourself and others.
Your self-talk goes south. You’re pushing yourself. Harrying and hectoring.
Or maybe it’s more simply experienced as a tension building within you. There are no words.
Simply an increase of intensity. Tightness. You feel armoured against the world and sensitive to perceived incursions into your mental and physical space.
These are all experiences of overwhelm.
Sometimes, it’s good to give a name to what we experience, even if we hadn’t done so before or acknowledged that’s how life feels.
The invisible and visible knock-on effects are well documented.
Poor sleep, poor decision making, poor relationships, poor health and diet. Ultimately, burnout.
Avoidant behaviour: procrastination, obsession, fixation, perfectionism.
Turning to: drink, overwork, drugs, shopping, smoking, porn to numb pain and difficulty.
Rigidity: needing to control; inflexibility; struggle with sudden change. Lashing out when too many demands are made on you.
If any of these have more than an occasional grip on you, you might be wondering what you can do.
There are 4 key aspects to living these experiences differently that I’ve learnt through personal experience, tried and tested with clients and seen a lot of success with:
1) Knowing (in an embodied not simply intellectual way) that circumstances do not create our experience. Everything is experienced through the filter of Thought (conscious and unconscious.)
2) Understanding that our truest, deepest nature can not be harmed, hurt or destroyed by any stressful or overwhelming circumstance.
3) Developing a simple yet powerful practice to meet these feelings of overwhelm compassionately in the moment
4) Creating a practice that neutralises our underlying beliefs and creates a foundation of deeper resilience in the face of habitual responses to overwhelm.
Together these 4 components create the possibility of living out a very different relationship with overwhelm and coming to a more powerful and inwardly peaceful stance for creating what you long for in life.
Even when big waves hit, you have what you need to stay on an even keel.
Take my example of agitation.
Seeing myself slipping into my reactivity, I brought a simple practice into play to soften the experience, reconnect with my sense of self, and step out of the spiral I found myself in.
Is this something you’d like to learn how to do for yourself?