What If You Could Celebrate Freedom From Overwhelm?


Happy Independence Day!

What If You Could Celebrate Freedom From Overwhelm?

In the U.S., we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 where we recall the values that caused us to fight for liberty as an independent nation.   Yet there are many additional freedoms we seek at this moment. 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, that it can happen for you!  All that is required is knowledge, a few tools and consistent practice.

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:

Managing Overwhelm

Causes of Overwhelm

  • Difficulty Listening
  • Difficulty Making Requests
  • Making Promises We Cannot Fulfill
  • Unrealistic Expectations

Symptoms of Overwhelm

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Resignation
  • Stress and all related symptoms

Eliminating Overwhelm

Manage Capacity

  • Clarify Priorities
  • Declare a Breakdown
  • Ask for Help
  • Delegate
  • Defer
  • Renegotiate

Increase Capacity

  • Get help
  • Build Skills
  • Hire new Talent
  • Reorganize
  • 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:

In order to manage overwhelm, we need to connect within ourselves first, before going out to connect with others to reach a goal or solve a problem.  Here’s an easy tool that works to get started:

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:

  1. Heart Focus: Shift your attention to the area of the heart and breathe slowly and deeply.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

When you are connected within yourself, no matter what is going on externally, you can bring a centered, responsive presence to what you are doing.  This makes all the difference.

To learn more about how you can develop this and other important leadership skills you might not yet know, I invite you to get my new book, “Inner Switch:  7 Timeless Principles to Transform Modern Leadership.”  You can purchase it from your favorite online retailer at www.susansfreeman.com.

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