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Overcome Overwhelm: 5 Steps to Renew Your Mind

You know that frantic feeling that comes when you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it all?  The brain seems to be in a fog, unable to prioritize and put things in order.  Then you spin out and shut down – crumpled up on your couch with a huge bowl of ice cream and a mind-numbing television show?

Overwhelm hits all of us at various times throughout our life and it seems to come at the most inconvenient times.  When overwhelm overtakes your brain, what can you do to get things back on track?  I believe that we must take time, regularly, to “renew our minds”.  This renewing comes from taking time out to relax, reassess, realign, restructure and reset.

These 5 Steps to Renew Your Mind will help you overcome overwhelm and get back to being effective and productive.

1.  Relax.  Over the past 15 years in my career as a counselor, I have come to recognize the absolute vital need of our brain and body to relax.  Carve out specific time each day – start with 10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes – where you get quiet, breathe deeply and give yourself permission to relax while you seemingly do nothing.

When you are doing nothing (relaxing) – you are accomplishing a lot.  Your brain can re-order itself, your spirit can listen for God’s nudges, your body can calm itself and your breath can bring in the necessary oxygen to calm the Limbic system (the seat of emotions in the brain).

2.  Reassess.  Now that your brain and body have had a chance to relax a bit, you can begin to reassess your priorities and re-evaluate how your actions have been lining up with those priorities (or not lining up as the case may be).

For this step – reassessing may need to be done in writing – which helps to engage the left brain again.  There is a wonderful dance between the left and right hemispheres of our brain that must take place in order for us to make healthy, well-rounded decisions.  Writing out your priorities and the actions needed to accomplish your priorities is an important part of renewing your mind.

3.  Realign.  Now we ping back to the right brain hemisphere and get conscious about realigning our mind, body and spirit with our big picture life purpose.  For this step, take an active prayerful approach and ask your loving Creator to help you tap into the Creator’s priorities.  After all, you were created uniquely and when you align yourself with your own unique purpose and priorities – overwhelm can begin to drop away.

4.  Restructure.  Now we engage our left brain hemisphere again by analyzing and committing to a new structure or new system that will allow us to accomplish our priorities in the most effective and efficient manner.

To explain the restructuring step I’ll use myself as an example.  I had hit a huge pocket of overwhelm in my business when I realized that I had begun way too many marketing activities (blogging, social media, speaking to groups, newsletters, etc.).  I had unintentionally given myself too many hats to wear and too many activities for any one sane person to complete.

I had to take a break – so I dropped off the radar screen and relaxed for a bit.  I had a major realization that I was targeting too wide of an audience and that I needed to narrow.  I realigned with my core purposes and restructured my business to target a more narrow niche (heart-centered “solopreneurs” with a creative bent).  Suddenly my marketing efforts could become more pointed, taking less time and less effort.

5.  Reset.  Course-correcting involves both the left and right hemispheres of the brain as we set an intention to move forward in a fine-tuned way.  After resetting our intentions about which activities will get us closer to our goal faster, we can give ourselves permission to tap into our creativity every single day.

Tapping into our creative self each day will help us to “reset” on a regular basis.  We may find ourselves starting to add more (unnecessary) activities to our schedules and by examining this and allowing our creative ideas to flow, we can get back on track on a daily basis.  We can say no to extraneous activities and say yes to productivity-inviting activities each and every moment of our day.

Another aspect of “renewing the mind” that is vital to overcoming overwhelm is to get conscious about what thoughts you allow to play in your mind.  Sometimes our thoughts go through so quickly we don’t realize that we are actually thinking thoughts that invite negative and overwhelming emotions.  Slow those thoughts down as soon as you notice life beginning to spin out and capture those thoughts.  Then replace those thoughts with positive, uplifting thoughts.  This will keep your brain attuned to the bigger picture of your life and how you can keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Sherry Collier, Business Coach for Heart-Centered Solopreneurs,

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC #42187)
CEO of Creative Path to Growth Coaching and Counseling
Founder and CEO of www.WomenWhoThrive.com

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