Moving Out of Overwhelm into the Zone of Possibilities
- Feeling overwhelmed and anxious
- Finding it difficult to sleep
- Experiencing high levels of stress
- Worrying about money, relationships, your career
- Finding it difficult to see the wood from the trees
If you answered yes, I am not surprised. Life and work are very demanding and fast paced. Expectations are high and it is not always easy to share your vulnerabilities with those closest to you. As you are so close to your challenges, it can be a really hard to see that solutions are possible. Jenny Garrett, executive coach and author of Rocking Your Role, shares a quick and useful tool to move you out of overwhelm and into the zone of possibilities in just 15 minutes.
Step 1 – Breathe
Getting in touch with your body and slowing down your pace will help you think clearly and rationally.
Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for 5 minutes. Turn the lights down if you like. Turn off the phone.
Sit in a chair with your back straight and supported by the chair back, your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting comfortably on your lap.
Breathe in through your mouth for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, release through your nose for a count 5, repeat 3 times
Step 2 – Take the higher ground
Think about your challenging situation, the situation that is making your feel overwhelmed. Now lift yourself out of it, as high as you can go, so that you can look down at it from distance. So, if the situation is at work, get on the roof of the building and look down through a skylight at yourself in the situation. Or if it’s your financial situation, imagine yourself sitting on a cloud in the sky observing your attitude and management of your money.
They key is to see yourself in the situation while also looking at it from a distance.
Step 3 – Zone of possibilities
Ask yourself the following questions in this order, writing down your responses:
- What is important about what I notice from a distance?
- What patterns do I see from this perspective?
- What possibilities open up from this viewpoint?
- Who do I notice that can help now my view is wider?
- What small actions can I take to improve my situation?
You may have to practice this exercise 2 or 3 times a day in the beginning. As your overwhelm eases you will need to do it less. Some people find it difficult to focus on their own and ask a trusted friend or coach to support them in the process.
Let me know how you get on, or if you have any questions.
What tips do you have for moving out of overwhelm?
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Karen Hayns MSc - Future PerfectSeptember 11th, 2017