We have all had the experience of feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed because we have too many tasks and too little time.
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and this feeling seems to come from fear, worry or grief. Sometimes it’s just a pervasive feeling of anxiety. Whatever the experience, we know that it’s created by thought.
Within each person however, is a natural, dynamic process that’s always at work to bring us beyond the overwhelming thought. If we will allow it, this natural process will take us to the deep pool of calm and well-being that lies at the very core of every human being. In fact the very feeling that we are so uncomfortable with is part of that natural process. It’s our wisdom saying, “hey!! Pay attention. The kind of thinking you’re doing is not serving you well. That’s why you feel so bad.”
It’s very much like stubbing your toe. It hurts because it’s meant to hurt. If we didn’t have pain fibres we would never survive. We would be damaging ourselves without knowing it. A simple stubbed toe would become seriously infected without hurting at all if it weren’t for that important signal of pain. Well psychological pain is the same. It’s our “mental pain fibres”. It hurts because it’s meant to. We are designed to live in a good feeling more of the time. We’re meant to feel gratitude, compassion and joy. As Stuart Wilde’s wonderful little book suggests, “life wasn’t meant to be a struggle”.
What can we do to help that process along? Well just a few simple tips. Pay attention to how you feel. Learn to recognize that gnarly feeling sooner, before it becomes a full blown “bad mood”. Recognize it for what it is. Your mental pain fibres saying, wrong way, take a break. Take a walk, have a cup of tea or best of all take a nap. We don’t want to mask the message of the pain, either physically or mentally for too long. Nor do we want to become so accustomed to it that hurting seems our norm.
We’ve talked before about the “inside out” nature of life. The evidence for this is all around us. What bothers one person doesn’t bother another. What bothers you today didn’t bother you last week. What is bothering me right now is quickly forgotten, for the moment, if one of my kids calls to tell me a funny story. Thoughts change, so feelings change and our experience changes. The more we can learn not to “sweat the small stuff” the easier life will become and the more our natural feelings of well-being will surface.