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An entrepreneur told me a few months ago that only children feel overwhelmed, because adults have strategies and logic to help them get clear and get going.

He may be right that as adults we have the tools to move forward, but I don’t know about you – I still feel paralyzed by overwhelm more often than I care to admit.

When you’re a visionary with a big mission and task-list to match, you may bite off more than you can chew. Your office may look like a small tornado permanently lives in the ceiling. Your computer files may be organized in a way only the NSA’s top code breakers can decipher.

Which works for you on good days. But on bad days = stress.

You may have thoughts like…

Why can’t I be like everyone else who’s calm and organized?
Why can’t I focus and just do one thing at a time?
Why don’t I have a coherent system and strategy?

These thoughts are great at kicking you while you’re already down.

They know how amazing up feels. After all – you have a vision and are making it happen, which feels AMAZING on the good days.

But on the bad days, your brain can crash in on it’s self. All your powerful thoughts that help you move forward can turn inwards and rip you and your disorganized, scattered, un-strategic world to pieces.

Which is why down can feel so overwhelming.

It’s not just the task-list or your perceived lack of time. It’s that to even SEE your priorities, you’ve got to get through the fog of your mind’s unhelpful chatter.

And that’s hard work.

Doing the tasks on the other side of your brain isn’t hard – those are just steps in a certain order. But GETTING to the work through all the horrible, nasty pressure your mind is putting on you can feel impossibly overwhelming. Like you’d rather just stay in bed until the happy comes back.

I get it. In fact, I’m having one of those days today.

This is what I do to turn it around:

1. Nap.

It’s next to impossible to feel your best when you don’t feel your best. So give yourself a break, rest, and try again in an hour when you have more energy to choose your thoughts instead of believing whatever muck they spew at you.

But on those days you wake up in the cloud of overwhelm like I did today, try this:

2. Rant it out.

So you feel annoyed, overwhelmed, and frustrated. So what? So you wonder if you have what it takes or will ever be good enough. Who cares? Feelings pass. They’re like the weather – some days it storms. But you can still love rain.

Feel all the yucky, defeating feelings you normally hide. Let them come out. It’s FAR better than holding them in where they do all sorts of unseen damage behind the conscious scenes. So grab a journal or your voice recorder and let it out. Just don’t take it out on others.

Getting to see your negative thought patterns for what they are is a HUGE opportunity for growth, because on a good day, you can confront and discredit them. But that only works if you let your negativity express itself safely, in a space that it’s honored. If you flip on someone else, you might be ashamed of yourself and tamp that darkness down even further. So use your own personal practices and rant with safe abandon.

3. List 25 things you’re grateful for.

It may seem like the opposite of ranting, but trust me, it helps. Your mind is sliding down the edges of the negative hole and the only way back up is gratitude. Plus you just emptied yourself of the junk, so make sure you fill your tank with empowering feelings instead.

It can be small – I’m breathing, I have a tools to help myself, I have food to eat and water to drink.

Counting your blessings is the most powerful practice you can use each day to align yourself with the ever-present flow of abundance in the world. Even when you feel like you don’t have enough time, focus, money, help, or knowledge – all that you need is there, waiting for you to plug back in.

4. Remember your intention.

Your intention is what you’re here to feel, heal and create in the world. It is so deep and intrinsic to you that just remembering it will shift your energetic space.

This is why all my clients go through the process of identifying their soul’s vision and purpose. Because once you see it and put it on paper, you always have something to come back to that reminds you of who you really are.

More importantly, it reminds you of how you want to feel. When you remember your ideal feelings, you can imagine bringing them into your experience now. (Also try smiling right now to break up the physiological sequence of stress that’s happening in your body).

5. Ask yourself this powerful question – what is the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?

Sometimes your feelings are just signals that you’re on the wrong track. You’re pushing too hard, neglecting your health, or focusing on the wrong priorities. By getting into a space of appreciation, then reconnecting with your highest intention, you lay the groundwork  for allowing your deepest wisdom to guide you to what you most need.

I also like to ask – what one thing, if I did it, would help me feel more in control / productive / confident? Then listen for the answer. These are your clues – your guidance and road map back to renewed clarity and focus.
Following these five steps will help you take advantage of feeling overwhelmed instead of drowning in the self-pity it brings. In fact, if you’re like me, you’ll emerge even clearer and more committed to your vision and message.

Because overwhelm isn’t a step backwards, it’s an opportunity for growth on the path to your dreams.

Be free. Be brave. Be YOU!