Feb 262013

Have you ever been overwhelmed by something?  Your thoughts are racing, your chest is tight and you don’t know how define your emotions?

Overwhelm: To cover over completely (submerge), to overcome by superior force or numbers, to overpower in thought or feeling.

This is where I find myself today.  I feel as though a gigantic wave has crashed upon me, submerged me and left me searching for solid ground to set my feet upon.

Life does this to me from time to time.  I feel crushed.  Immobilized.  Left gasping for air.  Whether it be circumstances which lie in front of me or I simply cannot handle the stress of life.  Sometimes I merely cannot see how to make it through.  How to breathe again.  How to feel peace or normalcy again.

Right now, I’m trying to practically figure out how to manage such feelings. Here are a few ways I am coping in my waves of overwhelm:

  • Breathe.  Over and over again.  Intentionally reminding myself to take deep, slow breaths.  (Instead of the short, shallow breaths that feelings of overwhelm typically stimulate.)
  • Prioritize Rest.  Ensuring I get enough sleep at night.  Taking a nap during the day if necessary to protect me from feeling even more raw.  Being rested allows me to give what I need to my family and to life’s circumstances.  Rest keeps my thoughts and emotions in check.  I am also more prone to give myself grace.
  • Light A Candle.  Lighting a candle has always brought a sense of peace to me.  I have one in my kitchen, my bedroom, and my table.  Even lighting it for a few minutes helps me breathe and slow down.  It creates an atmosphere of calm when I feel unrest.  The aroma also seems to lighten my mood.
  • Hold On To A Short Mantra.  Each week I try to have a verse I can cling to.  Right now it’s Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  Amidst the grind of the day, I remind myself of one word or phrase from my verse. It can change and redeem a single moment.  Lately, when I feel my chest tightening, the tears welling, or the emotional fatigue setting in, I take a deep breath and say, “plans for welfare and not for calamity.”  And I find my feet can move a few more steps.  I can move a little closer to the surface.

Is anything in your life overwhelming you today?  How do you help yourself make it through feelings of overwhelm?



© 2012 Standing on Peace