Have you ever looked into the future and saw the changes ahead and felt paralyzed with overwhelm?
As a highly sensitive person, this threatens to happen to me to the extreme.
I thrive in routine, but being able to do lots of different things. I love variety, but set within the context of routine and some predictability. With all that is happening in the world right now and so many ever-occurring changes, I've needed to adapt and learn to become well-versed in how to handle the uncertainty and potential future changes. I'm sure many of you can relate...
So how do I face change and uncertainty with grace?
1. Stop and breathe.
This may seem too simple or really obvious, but I catch myself almost holding my breath in anticipation, or worry, or I-don't-know-what. Just stop! Consciously tell your mind to pause, breathe slowly and deeply, and notice something with your 5 senses to ground you (the water lapping at the lake edge, the little plane overhead, the smell of lilacs, the warmth of sunshine, etc).
2. Tell yourself that the emotions are okay.
So many of us grew up (intentionally or unintentionally) hearing the message that our feelings were too big or too much. Because big feelings make others uncomfortable, we shouldn't feel.
Totally not true! But if you're anything like me, I struggle with being fully myself and letting myself be okay with feeling all of it before I move on. It's okay to feel.
3. Switch tasks.
If you get overwhelmed and feel paralyzed with a specific idea or task, it's normal and okay to take a break from that for a bit, do something else, and then come back to it. Today I felt very overwhelmed by something I was trying to figure out. So, I took a 5-minute break to finish loading the dishwasher and start it before coming back to the task at hand. And I came back to it a little more clear-headed than before.
4. Tell someone you trust.
Even just the act of letting someone you trust in on your feelings or how big the task feels can make it seem less weighty or less overwhelming. Tell someone. :) If it's the right person, you won't regret it. For me personally, this also includes consulting God about whatever I'm facing. He is always with me, and He will not let me down.
5. Focus on the positive truths.
Ultimately, what you choose to focus your mind on is where you will go. At the end of all the what-ifs (or even mid-mind rant), I CHOOSE to stop myself, press the mental reset button, and let my body ride the emotions WITHOUT adding run-away thoughts to it. I know that the big emotions will be over in 90 seconds, and I can then process more cognitively after the initial 90-second wave. Even better? Add something like essential oils to the 90-second emotional wave so that they can address it while you temporarily mentally distract. This trick particularly has served me very, very well.
So there you have it! Lean into it, dear HSP friends. This too shall pass. And I'm here for you.
Need someone to lean on and listen, like I described above? I cherish the opportunity to do that for those around me. I'd love to be that for you, too, really. Truly! And I have a group of like-minded people who love to do this for me and one another, too. You're welcome to join us here to learn more about supporting big emotions, especially how they affect the voice.