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Harness the overwhelm

Let’s face it, everyday living can be a bit much: the to-do lists, the expectations, upholding importance, overstimulation, social media, all the caring. Sadly, feeling overwhelmed has become a new norm, and it’s throwing our nervous system out of whack.

Contrary to popular belief, the brain is not capable of multi-tasking well! We thrive best when performing one task at a time. The human brain was developed and thrives on scarcity. Hundreds of years ago we had limited resources—we had to go out and hunt our food, build our shelter, collaborate in team efforts to get our needs met.

The pre-frontal cortex is the skillful decision-making part of our brain. It's responsible for concentration, problem-solving, willpower, discernment, focus, and more. With overload, or too much, we lose critical decision-making skills, creative thinking, and an overall zest for life.

Today we are inundated with too much choice, and quite frankly, it’s making us sick. Not to mention most of us are doing so on our own isolated little orbits, alone.

Feelings of overwhelm activate the sympathetic nervous system, or the fight-or-flight response, which can wreak havoc on our immune system, our hormones, reduce our capacity for enjoyment, creativity, concentration and success in whatever we are supposed to be accomplishing.

Are there any possible positives to being overwhelmed? How can we transmute the oppression of overwhelm into motivation, so we may be more useful, productive, and excited about our lives?

In order to assist the brain to go from fight-or-flight, to the parasympathetic brain response of rest-and-digest, we need moments of “waking rest”, or moments where we purposely de-activate in order to re-activate. This simple “switch” can restore motivation, increase concentration, increase creative problem solving, self-awareness, healthy boundaries, and sets our moral compass on track.

There are many ways to de- and then re-activate the brain. It is simple, actually. We need to bring into a moment a healthy balance of what we do not have enough of in a moment of overwhelm.

We need movement when we are too sedentary

Nature if we have spent too much time on our computer

Solid grounding when we feel out of control

Conversation with friends when feeling alone

Rest when we are too busy...

Imagine if we could put our brains in a state so that instead of feeling the detriments of overwhelm we could turn them inside out and find a healthier, and quite honest, more productive alternative?

Trade the “I don't have time” into skill and excitement to prioritize, step by step.

Turn the “I’m all alone” into useful collaborations of “we need each other.”

Exchange the “resentful yeses” into “no thank you, not now” so that every yes is a “HELL YES”.

To paraphrase Carl Jung, there’s nothing wrong with climbing up a ladder…as long as it’s leaning on the right wall.

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