As we celebrate Independence Day and our hard-won liberty as a free-nation, I couldn’t help but think about other freedoms that many Americans seek. I often hear from clients and others that what they would truly appreciate is freedom from overwhelm.
What if I told you this was not only possible, but likely to happen if you get a little bit of knowledge, a new tool or two, and practice consistently?
Let’s look at overwhelm. It is costing us. Over 95% of all doctor visits are directly related to stress. Stress is the impact of our emotional response to events. If we understand that learning to manage stress can prevent overwhelm, we will likely spend less time in doctor’s offices and more time doing what we truly enjoy. We can allow creativity, insight, productivity and overall satisfaction at work and in life. We learn to experience more feel-good emotions. What would that be worth?
I learned a lot from Robert Dunham of Generative Leadership on this subject. Here is a primer on:
Causes of Overwhelm
- Difficulty Listening
- Difficulty Making Requests
- Making Promises We Cannot Fulfill
- Unrealistic Expectations
Symptoms of Overwhelm
- Stress and all related symptoms
- Clarify Priorities
- Declare a Breakdown
- Ask for Help
- Get help
- Build Skills
- Hire new Talent
- Introduce New Practices
Notice how I did NOT say work more or harder. This strategy is the most primitive, yet the one most people choose. It works mostly in the short term; in the long-term there is no new learning or improvement. People eventually burnout and pay a huge price. Does this sound familiar?
What to do now:
Introduce New Practices:
When I work with clients, one of the first things we do is create a centering practice. They all tell me this is one of the most powerful tools they have learned. They are seeing changes in all aspects of work and life.
Here is one that is a scientifically validated 3-step exercise. It comes from HeartMath’s Quick Coherence Technique®. This deceptively simple technique will help you adjust your heart rhythm patterns into coherence.
Quick Coherence Technique:
- Heart Focus: Shift your attention to the area of the heart and breathe slowly and deeply.
- Heart Breathing: Keep your focus in the heart by gently breathing – five seconds in and five seconds out – through your heart. Do this two or three times.
- Heart Feeling: Activate and sustain a genuine feeling of appreciation or care for someone or something in your life. Focus on the good heart feeling as you continue to breathe through the area of your heart.
The benefits of this exercise are more open-heartedness, better communication and enhanced problem-solving abilities. And a stronger, more centered connection with the people you love. (It will even help strengthen your immune system.)
If this is valuable to you, post your comments here. I invite you to learn more about how to effectively manage overwhelm. Visit our website for an announcement later this summer!