Overwhelmed!

I have been feeling this way lately, work, school starting, home projects, weeds. There is a lot. The to do list is never ending. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? This could be the to do list, dealing with another person, managing your own emotions. There are many ways to feel overwhelmed.  overwhelmed

What are your symptoms? Do you start to forget things, become more irritable, sleep less, more headaches, body aches, feel sick, yell, throw things, cry? Anytime you notice your behavior changing due to external circumstances, it would be a good time to reign it in and examine it. What is going on?

Write it out. What is going on that is causing the feeling of being overwhelmed? Do you have too many things to do? Have you taken on too many responsibilities? Is money or time too tight? Are you taking on the responsibility for too many people? Perhaps you are allowing someone to take advantage of you, hurt you, use you or someone you love.

My first suggestion would be to take some time to list out your responsibilities and essentials. Often people feel overwhelmed when they are not managing their time well.  Using a calendar, schedule and making appointments (even for exercise, meals, and cleaning). If you make time for your duties and things you want to do, it can be easier to figure out where to put it all.

checklist.jpgThe important and urgent items would need to be first. Those with specific dead lines (work, kids to school, bills, meals). Many things are important with no specific dead line (exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, family time). Start with those important things. You need to focus on your self first. If you find that there are several items still on the list, not under important, what should you do with them? Get rid of them, move them to a later day/date when you have more time, delegate to someone else?

If you are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated you will not be effective. You might need to give yourself 5 minutes to do some deep breathing, take a short walk on your break at work, get more rest.  Take care of yourself first so that you can think clearly and calmly about what needs to be accomplished. Some things might not be necessary, but feel important to you. What is really important?

You attract what you feel you’re worth

Do you ever wonder why a certain kind of person always finds you? Why is it the same kind of guy/girl that you always end up dating? You don’t have good friends, they are flaky, non-commital, never pay, etc.  Do you feel like you have a sign on your head that says “I love losers!”?  Well, it really is your fault that all these people show up in your life. They literally seek you out. I will try to explain this from both sides.

You attract to you what you feel worthy of 

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That means that whatever you feel you deserve in a relationship, job, money, life, youwill attract that to you. Wait! That is not the same thing as wanting something really, really bad. Just because you want it doesn’t mean you think you actually deserve to have it. Listen to yourself very closely after you say out loud that you deserve something your really want. What happened? Did you sigh, snort, “yeah, right” “like that will happen”? Perhaps you don’t really think you deserve it.

Like attracts like

I have worked with all kinds of people. I spent several years working with sex offenders. Sex offenders, manipulators, abusers, violators of all sorts have some kind of internal radar. They can walk into a room of 20 people and find the ONE person who will “take the bait.” Some can not explain how this works, they just know. Some can spot the body language. They can just tell. Abusers tend to stay away from confident people because they stand up for themselves. They don’t allow other people to hurt them. It’s not okay. So, they gravitate to the people who thinks it IS okay to be hurt and manipulated.

EVERYONE deserves love, affection, kindness, empathy and understanding. NO ONE deserves pain, violence, betrayal, loneliness and heartache. You reap what you sow. If you hand out kindness, you should receive it. Unless you hand out kindness to sociopaths and manipulators. Then you get nuthin’. If you want to be treated the way you treat others, you must believe that you deserve it.

This kind of belief system fits with the self talk, affirmation, and visualizing your goal. You create the life that you feel you deserve. Make it better by believing in yourself and your worth. You can start globally with the belief that everyone deserves happiness and love. Include yourself in that “everyone.” List what you want in life, being realistic about what it really is that would make you feel content. Tell yourself, constantly, that you deserve those things. Put it out in the universe (as The Secret might tell you). It will come.

Self Talk. It’s what you make it

Self talk is a common phrase in psychotherapy.

self-talkIt is about attitude, affirmations, self confidence and esteem. How you talk to yourself,about yourself, situations, life and future, directly corresponds to how your life feels, shapes, and becomes. If you are a negative talker, with a negative outlook, either about yourself, your situation or other people. That is how your life will be. It turns out exactly how you think it will.

This idea is related to several posts I have already done, Affirmations and Thinking Patterns. It is a pattern with how one conducts their life. I can spend a lot of time with a client working on self talk. It will be what continues on when therapy is over.

One of my favorite parables is about an old man sitting on his porch. A couple pulls up in a car.  “We are thinking about purchasing a house in this town. How are the people here?” The man says “Well, how were they where you lived before?”   He suggests that how they believe people to be, in general, they will be. Your own attitude toward people is how you create relationships.

How do you talk to yourself? Pay attention to what you say, out loud and in your head throughout the day. I find this easy since I have a small children. They pretty much repeat what I say and parroters of my own attitude. My kids have a great sense of humor about things, can laugh at themselves and will try until they get it right. They focus on things they do well and support others. They do not get discouraged easy.

Many people are hard on themselves. “I can’t do that.” “It’s too hard.”  “I will never get it” (job, relationship, home, money). One I heard recently was “BUT, it has never happened before, so why should it happen now.” This followed all the positives of “I deserve it. I am worth it. I worked hard for this.” BUT negates all those strong positives. It just crosses it out.

Keep the self talk positive. If you hear the negative creep up on you, especially in the form of a but, turn it around. That big but can be followed up with “That doesn’t mean it won’t in the future!”  Your future is what you make it.

Fake it ’till you Make it

This post goes right along with my Affirmations post. Affirmations are about creating a road map to where and who you want to be. Start where ever you are and figure out where you want to go. Then you can act that part until it sticks. That may sound easy. It’s not really.

A trainer at my gym talks non-stop about how we create who we are, we have to believe in ourselves to make it work, our minds make our bodies…. He is trying to affirm that we have control of who we are, what we look like, how we act, think, LIVE! It’s true and frustrating. It is easier if it’s everyone else’s fault, or in our genes. Then we don’t have to change. We can just wallow.

His challenge this week was to continue to repeat to yourself, over and over (affirm), that “I am beautiful. I am strong. I am capable.” Even if you don’t believe it. Just keep saying it until you do. I call this

Fake it ’till you Make it

Sometimes, when you really want something to be true, you have to make it so. That means hard work, determination, and a positive mind set. The positive mind set is the push behind it all. If you don’t believe it will happen, it really won’t. Sometimes, you just have to fake like you really believe it, until you really, really do. You have to repeat it over and over and over until it sticks. Much like how you learned everything else in your life, it was repeated to you until it became a part of you.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?  What do you want to see?

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Try this

Write what ever pops into you head, without hesitation. Don’t think, just write. Keep going until you hesitate:

I AM _____________

Yikes, what happened? Did you know you thought all those things about yourself? How many are positive and how many are negative?

Now, write down what you want people to believe about you. What you want to believe about yourself. Be as specific as possible. You can think about this one.

How can you remind yourself to be that person, the future you, every day? I recommend the affirmation. Kick out the old and in with the new.

No quick fix

There is no easy way, fast recovery, magic pill, or other method to make everything right overnight.

It takes work and time.

I know, I know. We would prefer the quick fix. We are raised to envy those who seem to have it easy, to want it all, to be everything and be happy. The half hour sitcom should be our life!

It’s not. Therefore, I deal with the frustration of clients often.

“Nothing is better”

“It still hurts”

“When does it go away?”

“It happened again”

“I am so tired of feeling like this!”

Psyches are not scarred easily. We are resilient by nature. We are made tough, to fight, scrape, and have a strong will to live. It is nearly impossible to drown yourself. We are born with some innate genetic qualities, personalities quirks, intelligent quotients, etc. Mostly, though, it is the nature of becoming that makes you who you are. You can be raised to be even tougher, more resilient, strong in self, confident in your abilities and worthiness of love. You can also be raised to give in, give up, be a victim, take whatever is thrown at you because you believe that you have little or no value.  Or anywhere in between.

If something happens to you, that nature takes over. You will maintain your will, or lack of, in your recovery. That recovery may even be from your own childhood. Depending on how long your psyche has been abused, the time it takes to heal is relative. IT IS POSSIBLE! It is always, always possible. It does take time, strength, determination, will, support, and fortitude.

YOU are not broken. You are still here. You are willing, able and determined to make it, however that is. Take the parts, paths and pasts of you that need some love and understanding and do just that. Give yourself that time and determination to do the work. It is worth it.

Forgiving is not condoning

I talk about Forgiveness a lot, to anyone who needs it. There are many misunderstood ideas about forgiveness. Many religious organizations teach forgiveness as a godly act; to forgive others of wrong doing so that they may learn and grow in spirit. Though, many people do not truly forgive, but say they do in order to follow doctrine or “do what is right.”  True forgiveness is hard to do.

It is difficult to forgive others of wrong doing, especially if we, personally, have been injured in some way. We believe that if we forgive, we are condoning their behavior. If we let go of our own anger about the wrong doing, we are saying that it is some how okay. We like to hold onto our bitterness as proof that we have been wronged and help us avoid that wrong again. That is not true. Not forgiving others is just holding onto bad feelings that hurt us.

Forgiving others is NOT condoning their behavior.

It is letting go of our negative feelings toward others. Releasing the toxic anger and bitterness that eats at our happiness. Whether or not you choose to forgive another person does not change the other person. They will continue to choose their own behavior.

Forgiveness only changes you.

Anger, sorrow, regret, humiliation, shame, guilt are just a few negative side effects of holding a grudge. When we are done wrong, abused, hurt, used, or taken advantage of in some way, we react with self preservation. Those feelings are a means to protect ourselves from harm. We hold onto our trust, refusing to allow others in or push others away. Depending on the level of wrongdoing, we can react in many different ways.

These reactions can serve to protect us from the original person who does the wrong doing. However, they do not continue to serve us. By allowing yourself to not forgive, you may let those feeling fester and become toxic in your psyche. It damages all relationships forward.

TRY THIS

How do you let go? How do you forgive?

Think of it in terms of not allowing the wrong doer any more power over you. If you are angry at another person, you are allowing them the power to control your feelings. If you want to release them from your life, you have to forgive.

Forgiveness is letting go of the anger, resentment and bad feelings about the wrong doing; Being at peace with your self and your past.

Write a letter to the wrong doer(s). Tell them how you feel and how it still impacts you. Forgive them of the wrong doing and hurt. Tell them that what they did was not okay, nor should others be hurt by them. Tell them that you are letting go of the anger and not allowing them power in your life. Tell them what you have learned from the hurtful experience.

Then, burn it. Let it go to ash and wind. You may have to do this more than once.

Mental Health awareness

May is National Mental Health Awareness month.

May mental health

Mental Illness is grossly misunderstood. Many people go by what they have heard on television or seen in movies, or by a neighbor’s grandparent, uncle or distant cousin. You might be amazed at how many people you know who have struggled with a mental illness. One in 4 (25%) people in the United States deal with a mental illness every year.(NAMI.org)

A mental illness is not just “crazy” people. Some crazy people don’t have a mental illness, just extreme beliefs. One of the most popular first films about mental illness is “One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest.”  I also saw one from 1948 called “The Snake Pit” where a house wife was hospitalized due to a mental break down. Which today we might just call “Monday.” 😉

The reality of mental illness is a long way’s from the media. I had a client fear telling people she had bipolar disorder because recently a grandmother had killed her grandchildren and the news announced that she had bipolar. She feared that people would think she was dangerous. Even clients I have worked with who have been diagnosed with a disorder for years, do not really understand it. It’s part of my job to help them understand the disorder, how it works and impacts them, and what they can do to manage it effectively.

Education is the key to control and compassion.

Mental Illness is any diagnosable disorder in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). These include depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia and many more. Some need medication, some don’t. ALL of them run on a scale from mild to severe.

If you don’t understand, have never had experience with, or encounter someone with a mental illness, don’t trust your judgement on this. Research it and get informed. We get incorrect, skewed, and misrepresented information from too many places. Also, don’t assume that every person who has PTSD will be just like your nephew after he returned from the war. Everyone’s experience with mental illness is unique.

Here are some sites to get information on some common mental illnesses:

http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/default.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/

http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health

http://www.typesof-mentalillness.com/

You can also contact your local NAMI chapter for community resources and information.