coaching

5 Simple Steps To Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Overwhelm

Are you stressed out, feeling swamped and anxious? These five simple steps will help bring more ease and calm into your life AND still get stuff done.

One of the things that my clients often struggle with is feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Either over the amount of things they have to get done or with all of the stress and anxiety in their life.

When you get stressed, anxious, overwhelmed or frustrated, what happens?
When your thoughts are running rampant, you’re confused and overwhelmed, how does it normally go for you, what’s your pattern?

For me, I’m going to shut down, burn out or go hide.

My best friend and I developed something that we have used for years and now I use it with my clients. (Pretend you see me touching the tip of my nose with my finger.) This means, do the next right thing in front of your nose.

I’ve boiled this down into 5 simple steps that you can use starting immediately, when you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, anxious or overwhelmed.

  1. The first is, STOP. When you notice that you’re feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, just stop.
  2. Next, take a breath. Give space to those thoughts that are running rampant in your head right now. Breathe. Our current culture and societal pressure is to get stuff done and succeed. Stopping and taking a breath releases pressure and brings us out of our heads and into the present moment. Which leads us to step 3.
  3. Give your thoughts some space. As we disconnect from our head, we can drop into our heart, intuition, instinct, higher self, whatever you call that part of you that connects with your inner wisdom and guidance.
  4. The next step is to ask, “What is the next right thing to do?” You’re not looking out over the week or even the day, you’re looking at just NOW, what is the next right thing to do?
  5. Finally, do it. We can’t get anywhere if we don’t get into action. After you do that thing, check in, how are you feeling? If you feel the anxiety coming back, follow the steps again. There are days, I follow this even when I’m not feeling stressed because it keeps me moving and helps me get out ahead of the stress and anxiety.

It works really well when you have a partner because we are not always reliable to notice when we are caught up in our emotions. There have been days I’m talking with my friend, spiraling into a story of overwhelm not sure what to do. She simply touches the end of her nose and I’m immediately brought out of my head and into the present.

I have been able to get things done when I didn’t think I could. It’s worked for me and for my clients.

I have a video on this that you can share. (https://www.facebook.com/linda.heeler/videos/10218420561973393) Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Begging Your Pardon: 5 Steps to Forgiving

As much as I hate to admit it, I stink at forgiveness.   When I was hurt, all I heard was, “You need to forgive and move on.” I was stumped, what exactly is forgiveness?   My first stop was the dictionary for the definition of forgiveness; “to grant pardon for or remission of an offense, debt, etc.”   The word that intrigued me was “pardon.”   I suddenly pictured a judge sitting behind a court bench pounding her gavel or, the president signing a presidential pardon saying, “You have received special dispensation and thus you are hereby pardoned of your offenses!”   This hit home the fact that I have the power and a choice to make.   I imagined someone with whom I had been holding onto some hurt. I pictured myself signing a decree that, from heretofore this person is officially pardoned.  

“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” ~Anonymous

  I wasn’t condoning what they had done, I simply was saying I will no longer hang on to the negative energy that resulted from their actions. I felt the hurt begin to melt away.   I also pictured signing that executive pardon for all the embarrassing, hurtful and stupid things for which I judged myself.   If you’re struggling with forgiveness, give these steps a try:
  1.  Make a list of the people with whom you’re currently holding a grudge. Don’t forget to include yourself.
  2.  Go through the list and write down (or state out loud) what they did to hurt you. Dig deep, and don’t forget yourself.
  3.  Before moving to the pardon, ask yourself, “What did I learn from this experience?” Don’t skip this as it can help you see patterns of behavior and/or help to avoid repeats of the situations and people that you are now trying to forgive. Again, don’t forget yourself.
  4.  One at a time, imagine them standing before you. Declare that they are officially pardoned and bang your pretend (or real) gavel. Move on to the next person and, you guessed it, don’t forget yourself.
  5.  This takes practice. You may have to run certain people or situations through the courthouse more than once. However, if there are people and things you just aren’t able to forgive and move past, consider seeking support from a licensed therapist or counselor.
  By taking a few minutes to forgive, we can free up energy to begin again with a clean slate. What a great way to say good bye to 2018 and welcome 2019!   Did this work for you or do you have another way that helps you practice forgiveness? Please let us know in the comments below.