Maybe your to-do list is a mile long. Or maybe your child takes three hours to eat seven bites. Or he constantly defies your authority.
You can feel overwhelm creeping in.
Your breathing becomes shallow. You feel like you are going to explode, or scream, or all you want to do is run away from the sensation of pressure in your belly.
Been there, done that.
Well, it’s not quite as easy as that.
Or is it?
Ending the cycle of frustration and overwhelm start with recognizing it.
Where does the cycle start?
Think about it for a moment: what begins the frustration or overwhelm?
It’s always something like this:
- a situation
- that brings about a thought (mental image, sentence inside your head)
- which creates feelings
- which cause you to act or not act
- and result in a result.
Let’s translate this into real life:
- Situation: My child isn’t eating his hot dog
- Thought: I will be late for my business appointment
- Feeling: belly churning
- Act: I tell her firmly to hurry up and put the last three bites in her mouth
- Result: she cries, I scream, I get all sweaty and angry and can’t concentrate on the meeting that is at end.
It’s not the situation that creates overwhelm and frustration.
The fact that she doesn’t want to eat her hot dog is not objectively frustrating or overwhelming.
What caused the frustration is your thought about the fact that she doesn’t want to eat her hot dog. Your thought triggered you.
So the first step in the process is to S.T.O.P. and observe.
Until we recognize the thought that triggered the feeling that brought about the action and ultimately the result, we will continue to feel frustrated and overwhelmed.
Easier said than done.
It’s time to ask questions.
To help ourselves understand what stands behind our immediate reaction to a situation, it is helpful to ask questions.
In our example, we could start like this: why do I get angry when she doesn’t eat her hot dog?
Let’s play with it a while, shall we?
Why do I get angry when she doesn’t eat her hot dog? Because she needs to eat.
So what if she doesn’t eat? I’ll have to stay here a while.
So what? I’ll be late for my appointment.
So what? I’ll lose the new client.
So what? I’ll lose potential income.
So what? I won’t have enough money.
Hmm… now we are getting to the core of the hot dog frustration, aren’t we?
It really has nothing to do with the hot dog. It has everything to do with my thoughts.
Freedom comes with insight
Next, when my To Do list gets out of control and I get overwhelmed, I start the same process of asking myself questions, and I find out that at the bottom of it all is a fear of not having enough time.
Before long, I realize that all of my overwhelm and frustrations stem from a sense of not having enough.
Now I am ready to start. Why am I telling myself that I don’t have enough? What story am I entertaining in my head? How could I change it?
Eventually, overwhelm gets kicked to the curb and I begin to create thoughts that serve me instead.
It takes practice to realize what our mind is telling us. It takes training to develop our capacity to observe what is going on.
It takes time.
And we all feel like we don’t have enough time.
But let me ask you: do you trade your time for things that don’t help in the long run? For things that keep you overwhelmed and frustrated?
Here is the truth: those who are willing to put in the time necessary to train the mind will never, ever run out of time in life. They will never need to be stuck in overwhelm or frustration because they will always have the tools necessary to make a way out.
And that’s a promise you can take to the bank!
I created a FREE email course on Thought Creation to help you begin your journey. Check it out here.
This is how I have been helping my clients in my coaching business with great results. Now I am bringing the same message to kids with my very first Children’s Book, Waiting for Isaiah. I can’t wait to see how it helps littles! Please share the love by sharing this post with your friends who could use it!