What helps you keep thoughts in perspective so they don’t overwhelm you?
Now that I’ve accepted that I belong in the Type A personality box, I can acknowledge that I am: the over-achiever – tick, a perfectionist – tick, grind my teeth – tick, obsessive -sometimes, catastrophise – often, have a short fuse with incompetence – tick. They forgot the ruminating, head-butting thoughts that live in my mind in raying stages of overwhelm. It doesn’t mean I like those attributes only that I accept they are my default behaviours. Some are even coping strategies in times of great overwhelm.
Looking at the thought/problem in the context of the big picture is a biggie. Is this a life or death situation? No? Deal with it or get over it. Yes? do what you can right now, accept help and keep the communication going. It helps to remember what my purpose is in the situation, is the problem really mine, or do I feel I’m the only one that can solve it? If it’s the latter I have learned to let it go and allow someone else to problem solve. Invariably they do a better job. Another tool I’ve used frequently is to ask myself if I don’t deal with the matter will someone else? Again the answer is usually yes. Does this need doing now? More often than not, it can wait and in the waiting it resolves itself. Is this ambushing what I’m doing now? I’m a procrastinator so the answer is more often than not, yes!
These are some of the strategies I use to help me get a grip on my thoughts. Looking around me and finding things for which to be grateful help to lower the sense of overwhelm as does getting out and doing some physical activity. Last week I joined the gym and have been giving those machines and weights a work out (Type A obsessive). I’m amazed how few thoughts I have chasing around my head when I’m in the throes of trying to push the last set out of the leg press.
Thinking objectively about something breaks it into doable tasks and that helps to reduce the anxiety. Once there is a solution I set about putting the small stepping stones in place. These will lead towards the end goal. Simply being engaged in the process helps reduce the feelings of overwhelm.