Monday Musings ~ A Tool For Overwhelm/Anxiety/Panic

Hello Lovely!

With the holiday season dawning upon us, it can be very easy to find ourselves in a state of panic/overwhelm.

It is often during this time of year that we most expect to feel love, support and the gifts of family that we actually face our deepest and darkest feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, fear, anxiety and even out right panic.

We are fed messages of family values, of slowing down, giving, spending time with the people we love and getting to take a break from all the responsibilities of life - and with that it is very easy to feel like there is something ‘wrong’ with you if this time of year actually makes you feel terrible.

It is possible to slip into states where you feel like there is a part of you that wants to play the game - to go along with all the societal expectations and pressures put on you by the ideals of this time of year and the ideals of those in your actual life that is warring with another part of you that just hates this whole thing, feels resentment and anger towards the people around you, who feels nothing but expectation and like you want to run away and hide from it all.

You want to enjoy this, you believe this is supposed to be a ‘nice’ and ‘special’ time - and if you are not having that experience you assume there must be something fundamentally broken about you.

I am here today to tell you - there is nothing wrong with you.

What Is Actually Happening Here:

What is actually happening is there is a part of you that is awakening to the idea that what this whole ‘holiday season’ is painted to be - giving, time with loved ones, slowing down, enjoyment and relaxation - is actually not what it is really about.

You are noticing the juxtaposition between what everyone is saying this time ‘should’ be - fun and love filled - and what it actually is - a time of people getting together and sharing in their turmoil for a few weeks. A time of consumerism. A time of everyone giving themselves ‘permission’ to indulge, check out, numb out and project onto one another and it’s all ok because we are in this vacuum where the holidays’ make it all not count.

Now, this is not to say that there are not people out there who truly have an amazing time with their families and do partake in this festive season with true giving and love in their hearts. But the thing is - these people tend to be/feel that way all the time. They are not reliant upon a certain time of year to put that stuff out - it is a way of being for them. If this is you, yay! Enjoy this season!

If this is not you, if you are feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, depressed, over taxed, like you are a ‘bad’ person because this isn’t fun for you - fear not. You are just seeing things for how they really are. You are being triggered. You are being confronted with that which is out of alignment in your life on a louder and prouder level than usual.

Meaning this season where everything seems amplified is actually an AMAZING opportunity for personal growth and alignment - if you are willing to look at it this way.

Not A Solution, But A Tool To Find The Solution:

What I am going to offer you here is not a ‘solution.’ It won’t make it so that you can sail through this time of year without a hitch and a big smile plastered on your face. What I can offer is a tool to help you focus on what is truly happening in your current reality, so that you can tackle just what you have power to tackle in this moment, while letting go of that which you have no power over right now. 

That feeling of intense emotions/overwhelm is usually sourced from a life that is generally out of alignment.

It comes from the experience of having your awareness of that which is bothering you/out of alignment with you being temporarily blown wide open to a place where you can’t placate yourself or ignore it like you usually do. Then rather than being able to pinpoint what is arising right now that is bothering you and taking action on remedying that, you instead allow your mind to go running off into the future or ruminating on the past - feeling helpless to stop the assumed negative consequences of what is being experienced currently. There is a knowing that something is off and that life has to change, but there is no clarity on how to start making those changes - and THAT is what feels so terrible. We get ourselves convinced that there is nothing we can do to remedy our life, and that we must just learn to cope because we are not allowing ourselves to see where we are not taking our power and taking action in a proactive direction.

This is where we blow our system and feel like victims to our lives. When we don’t learn how to just deal with that which is pertinent and possible to deal with in this moment, we inadvertently end up dealing with absolutely NOTHING. By worrying, getting overwhelmed or indulging in deeply troubling emotions WITHOUT pulling ourselves to the now and empowering ourselves to take the actions we can take in this moment to move towards a life that feels better - we get stuck in doing nothing. We worry, we stress, we build up emotions - we then release those emotions in some way, feel the relief of that release and trick ourselves into thinking that we have ‘dealt’ with something, when all we have done is let a little steam off.

Overall, it is only through changing your life that you are going to feel better.

This time of year isn’t ‘making things worse’ than they usually are - all this time of year is doing is getting you to see more than you usually see about what is always the case in your life. So if this time of year sends you into a tailspin, that means there are things in your life that need addressing.

It is not your families fault. It is not the stress of the season. It is not the lack of support. It is not the expectation. None of this ‘goes away’ when you go back home and return to normal life. All that happens it is gets quieter. So why not use this time when it is all loud and in your face to start working your way through it? 

We can only address things one thing at a time. We can only change our lives for the better one step at a time. We cannot do it all in one fell swoop - which is why the worrying and stressing does nothing for us. We can only deal with that which is in our reality right now. 

So the antidote to overwhelm is to come into this moment, and deal with this moment in the best way you know to do. To realize you are not going to ‘fix’ everything today, but you can take a step towards that fix by doing what is pertainate now.

The Process:

If this process is repeated often, and if the information you get when you slow down and come into this moment is acted upon - meaning you make changes where changes need to be made - like being honest when you usually compromise yourself, like saying no when you want to say no rather than placating, like opting out of something even though it makes someone upset, like doing what you know you need to do for your own health even if that bothers someone else - you will learn that a) you always have power to improve your life and that you are not a victim and b) you will learn that true positive change comes out of being confronted with all these negative emotions and facing them, because they have the information for you on what needs to change so that you can be happy.

So rather than letting your mind run wild on you, and rather than making up a bunch of stories about yourself or your situation that make you feel better in the moment but change nothing - pull yourself into this moment, get focused on what exactly is bothering you, and then love yourself enough so that you can take action to remedy the situation.

This will take discipline, bravery and the willingness to be and do differently than you have previously been/done - but it is well worth it.

Here is the process you can use if you are ready to really use this season as the catalyst for growth that it can be.

When you are feeling anxious/overwhelmed/depressed/stressed/like you are broken or messed up - sit in a quiet space for a few moments and do the following exercise:

Take a deep breath all the way in and all the way out. Repeat this 4-5 times.

Notice all the tension in your body. Feel the hunched shoulders, tight gut, gripping in your legs - and let all that go. Relax your body. Work this for a few minutes - your body may resist relaxing and that is ok. Keep breathing and consciously focusing on relaxing.

Next, silently in your mind:

  1. List 5 things you see.
  1. List 5 things you hear.
  1. List 5 things you feel.
  1. List anything you taste.
  1. List anything you smell.
  1. List 10 things you are grateful for - and see if you can feel that gratitude in your body. If not, that is ok.
  1. Take 10 deep breaths (see if you can keep your eyes open so you stay here) allowing your body to relax with each breath.
  1. Sit with this relaxed, open awareness for a few moments, then ask yourself ‘What do I need from ME right now to feel more powerful? To feel more like I am running my life? What was it that tipped me over the edge and what can I do about it? What do I need to say/do/express that will send the message to my truest self that I am here for me and willing to stand for me?”

If the message you get is too scary - that’s ok. If the action feels impossible, that is ok too. Just be with it for a while. Imagine yourself taking the action. Just be with what it would feel like if you did. Journal about your fears, or talk to a friend or love one who can support you.

Then work your way up to taking the step.

What To Do Next: Compassion Is Key:

Be willing to be with yourself often, to hear yourself, to acknowledge that you are seeing and feeling what you are, and that you are not wrong. Acknowledge the fear of stepping out of the bounds of expectation and how deeply you just want everything to be nice and consistent. If you can’t do what you need to do, or if you can’t even get a message - again that is ok. This is a process. Be patient and gentle with you. One step at a time this work works. You just have to practice.

This is how we align.

One moment of overwhelm at a time.

If you want to take this work deeper, check out the Emotional Mastery Series here, 

And the Transformation Series Here:


part one

part two

part three

part four

Part Five

Part Six:

Part Seven:

Part Eight: