Some days when you do your work things go just as planned.
On some days there are a few small bumps in the road.
And on some days things simply get overwhelming in school, at work or in your business.
You feel the pressure and stress rising inside of you. You become unfocused and dark thoughts start to brew and fill your mind.
But such days don’t have to continue that way. You can often turn them around or at least make them a lot less uncomfortable and more focused again.
Here’s what I do when I feel trapped in one of those days.
First, just breathe and calm your mind and body down a bit so that you can think a little more clearly.
I do this by first sitting down. Then I breathe with my stomach for a minute or two. During this time I keep 100% of my focus on the air going in and out.
I find this is always a good start when the mind is racing and the stress and overwhelm make everything feel tough.
2. Zoom out.
I have often found that zooming out a bit alleviates stress and inner pressure.
When you feel trapped and like the world is pressing down on you then it is easy to get a very unhelpful perspective on things.
So I ask myself: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 months?
This allows me to see things from a broader perspective.
3. Unclutter your focus.
When you feel overwhelmed and stressed out it’s easy to get stuck in thinking you have to do 5 things at once to get a handle on things and to get back on track.
So I ask myself:
Honestly, which ones of these things can wait until tomorrow or next week with no or small consequences?
This usually helps me to find a bunch of things that can wait and that I don’t have to think about anymore today.
4. Go for just taking care of the rest of today one small step at a time.
After I have alleviated pressure, overwhelm and stress by using the three steps above I narrow my focus.
I do not look forward because then I’ll see all the things I have to do to reach my goal or get all the way to done with a project.
Instead, I go smaller and focus on just taking care of the rest of today.
This makes things feel even easier and less stressful.
And then it is time to take action. So I narrow my focus even more and ask myself:
What is the most important thing to focus on right now?
What is the most important step I can take right now to get that one thing done?
When I find that first step I focus on just that and nothing else until it is done or the work day is over. And after I am done with the first step I focus on the next step until I am done with that. And so on.
If that first step leads me to procrastinating instead of taking action then I chop it up into even smaller steps. And I take action on the first one of them.
Image by Steve Snodgrass (license).