Remember driver’s education class and the countless times you’ve been told what to do if your car skids on ice? (turn into the skid and don’t slam the brakes) Or what to do in the event you catch fire? (stop, drop, and roll) What number to call in case of an emergency? (dial 911, Sherlock) What about when you are overwhelmed and about to lose your mind? (…crickets…)
Throughout life we’ve been taught how to respond to emergency situations, but many people go through life without being taught how to deal with the emergency emotional feeling of being overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed may not seem like a typically emergency, but it is an emergency of a different kind that can throw your mind and body into a tailspin if not dealt with. It is vital to learn how to manage the stress and anxiety that naturally comes with life. Gaining emotional intelligence is a set of life skills everyone should invest in because it is an investment in yourself.
When you feel completely overwhelmed and as if the sky is falling, remember these 5 tips:
- When Your World Becomes A Rollercoaster, Get Off The Rollercoaster – Unlike in amusement parks, you have the power and ability to take a step back and give life a “time out.” It may not seem like you are in control at times, but you are in control of yourself. Take a step back. A step back is a step towards clarity so you can get your thoughts together. Your circumstance may stay hectic and stressful, but take control of what you can – you.
- Block Out Everyone’s Advice – People love to give their 2 cents. Everyone has an opinion and, though they mean well, you need to block out everyone’s advice on what you should do. Hear your own thoughts first, without mental clutter from those around you.
- Write a “To Do” List – Breaking down your world into small, tangible tasks, is key to finding organization in a cluster of responsibility. Typically, we think of writing down tasks that we need to accomplish. These tasks are outward actions. Consider making a “To-Do” list for YOU and what YOU need. Make a list that focuses inward, on your needs. Do you need to remind yourself to take the time to work out, meditate, go on a technology fast? Make a “Me List” to keep you grounded when the pace around you starts crushing you.
- Freak Out (just a little), Then Move On – It is OK to have a minor freak out moment. Don’t let it linger. Have a “moment,” but then pivot, gather yourself, and tell yourself the sky can’t fall unless you let it.
- Rely On Others – Identify your core of go-to, trustworthy people in your life who you can vent to, use as a sounding board, or just rely on. Comfort and calm doesn’t always come from a friend giving advice, sometimes just knowing someone is there is all you need.