When I met Beth, a friend of mine, last week, she looked in pain and discomfort. I asked her what was wrong and she said she had gone hiking over the weekend and her shoulders hurt from the heavy load she had carried. Beth is extremely fit and hikes and treks a lot. This, I was surprised to hear about her shoulder ache. She said she had carried an extra heavy bag as a practice for her trek to Mt. Kilimanjaro.
I enjoy hiking and what I dread or dislike the most is to carry a bag on the shoulder with water and some snacks to provide myself the necessary fuel along a long hike.
Carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder is exhausting. Imagine if you had to carry a really heavy bag up a steep mountain. Even the thought of this heavy lifting is exhausting.
If this thought is exhausting, imagine the emotional baggage we carry with us and load our shoulders and mind with the weight possibly day-in and day-out.
Those days when we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and almost feel like tearing our hair apart. Phew, even writing that is exhausting.
How much of worry and stress do we put ourselves through on s day-to-day basis. And the stress that we carry with us affects not only us but others because we show it in our behavior, our body language and our facial expression.
You may say that in this day and age who doesn’t have stress and worry? But do we really need to put ourself and others through this?
Can we step out of our negative thoughts and clear our mind from this emotional baggage? Emotional baggage is burdensome and debilitating, especially if carried over a long time. Stress shows up in various forms and it can affect our self-confidence, our communication with others, our relationships and thus our people skills and of course our ability to inspire and making a positive influence on others.
How do we get over our emotional baggage and the overwhelm factor?
1. What is the worst case scenario?
There are many things, situations, conversations, events that we stress about. In hindsight, we realize that a lot of things where we over think or stress did not happen. Personally, for me asking this question helps me to remind myself that there is a way out and to get the facts clear in my own mind. Asking yourself this question helps you to face your fears, apprehensions and look at things more objectively.
2. What are you resisting?
This helps you to determine if your assumptions are based on inner fears, conjectures or facts. Once you determine your facts, ask yourself what is the worst that can happen? Prepare to accept the worst – this is about your mindset and how much price are you willing to pay ( in terms of your time, your emotional state and your health) to continue to worry about something. Once you have prepared to accept the worst, put efforts to improve on the worst. This process takes the load of your mind and helps you to face a situation objectively without falling a victim to the overwhelm factor.
Negativity is a vicious circle and one any of us can get easily entangled in it. To snap out of negativity, each of us need to find ways. Negative thinking and stress is good as long as it enables you to move forward. However, if the negativity is only going to lead you to irritation, stress and being engaged in a blame game, let it go.
4. Problem or Imagined
How many of the problems that you conjure up in your head or mind come to fruition? Ask yourself, What is the problem? Is it real or imagined? What are the causes of this problem? What are the possible solutions to tackle this ? What is the best solution?
5. Idle mind
An idle mind is a devils’ workshop. Keep yourself busy instead of engaging in irrelevant conversations and meaningless gossip. Ask yourself is it really worth fussing about trifles? Not everything in life goes as per your plans nor is everything under your control. If you cannot control what is the point in worrying? Have the mindset to accept the situation and face it and deal with it to achieve your desired outcome. What resources do you have to get help to deal with the situation at hand?
It is entirely up to each of us how we learn to deal with the roller coaster events of life.
Are you going to pick yourself up, dust yourself and choose to move forward?
Are you going to be overwhelmed and give up?