More than ever, people are telling me they feel overwhelmed on a regular basis, and that despite the ease of connectivity....or maybe because of it.....disconnected. That lack of connection usually includes with ourselves, which is a hole that we often seek to fill with more and more 'stuff' - unhelpful behaviours, material belongings etc....all things that actually we know do not help us, but are drawn towards none the less.....but that's not what I was going to muse on here, another time maybe!
In terms of advice and resources, there are plenty of good items out there, but they can get lost or overlooked in the sheer volume or emails and websites. And also it can become all too easy to keep searching for an instant solution, a bit like dieting, the next 'big thing' that will induce results, and that striving can become overwhelming in itself
A favourite quote of mine, as above, from Arthur Ashe.....
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can"
I love this as it seems so forgiving, for me it stops that urgent sense of striving, enables me to reset - and actually get on with something rather than feel overwhelmed!!
Learning mindfulness can help us to come back to the moment, simplifying it, training us to appreciate what is happening rather than scatter our attention in a dozen different places. Giving our full attention to an activity or a loved one can make a massive difference to that moment. In this way we can also pause and truly notice what we are doing, rather than leaving it to the realms of the sub conscious......then we choose to change our behaviours if we find that we would like to do so.
In the introduction to mindfulness and meditation and relaxation course I teach, I also include exercises and strategies that we can all use, to help us start to look at the ways we spend our days, and to see whether there may be more harmonious and productive ways of being, to reclaim a few moments peace. Sometimes, just one small change can pave the way to a big difference in how we feel.
Take for instance, being grateful, a concept known as useful in folklore with such sayings as 'count your blessings' etc. Modern research is proving an attitude of gratitude to be really beneficial for our wellbeing and it's usually catching!
So how often do you do it?
Stop now and think of 3 things that you are grateful for....if it's hard, that's probably just a sign that you are out of practice! How about simple things like the lunch you had today, the fact that you are warm and dry, the last funny moment you shared with someone, a lovely hot cuppa, warm feet.....actually the list is usually endless. That's not to say I think we should all be smiling all of the time, of course not. It's just that if we spend too much time in a negative mindset, that influences the way we see the world and how we interact with it....a bit of a downward spiral. So gratitude is just one way we can take back the reins and improve our daily outlook. It's a great way to end the day, write 3-5 things down just before you go to sleep, and a lovely family activity over dinner or at bedtime :)
see these articles for more info on gratitude