I’m a person who tends to get triggered easily. It doesn’t take much to make me overwhelmed, to trigger the “what if?” “holy crap” pile of thoughts. I’ve gotten much better throughout the years, but lately it’s been tough with so many things to plan and do. So lately, I’ve been thinking of ways I can talk to myself without making matters worse. Because the dialogue in our heads can and does make matters worse. The words we use can create tidal waves, explosions, catastrophes inside our minds, which complicate our coping and incite our already stressed-out bodies. Below are some quotes and statements that may help you, too, when you’re overwhelmed. Of course, they won’t work for everyone, and it depends on why you’re feeling overwhelmed. But I hope they inspire you to create your own list, which you can turn to when you need it.
- Breathe through it. Just breathe. Long. Deep. Slow.
- You’re healthy. Your loved ones are healthy. That is everything. It is all that matters.
- Focus on right now. Focus on your fingers dancing on the keyboard. Focus on the words you’re typing. Everything else will be there when you’re done.
- Take in this moment. It will pass all too quickly.
- You can’t please everyone. So start with yourself.
- You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for.
- “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha
- I accept that I’m having a rough time, and I’m giving myself permission to feel it.
- It’s OK to ask for help — whatever that help looks like: seeing a therapist; talking to a friend; hiring a housekeeper, a professional organizer or movers.
- “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ~ Erma Bombeck
- The kindest thing I can do for myself right now is …
- You’re not alone.
- I don’t have to feel any other way than I feel right now. I don’t have to feel happy or excited. I don’t have to feel sad or frustrated. Any feeling — however sudden or surprising — is welcome.
- “If people didn’t do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever happen.” ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
- It’s a stressful time right now. It’s OK to take a break, to rest, to slow down, to nap, to say no.
- It’s OK to talk about how you feel — to let it out — with the people you trust.
- It’s OK to take care of yourself. In fact, it’s vital.
- “Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow’.” ~ The Talmud
- You can’t change anyone else, but you can change your actions, your thoughts, your approach. There is power in that. You hold that power.
- You can’t control it all. You can’t control most things. Let it go. There is liberation in letting go. But there is fear, and a tightness that only gets harder, rougher, more brittle when you’re trying to exert control.
- What I need right now is …
- “I have not failed, not once. I’ve simply discovered 10,000 ways that don’t work.” ~ Thomas Edison
What we say to ourselves when we’re overwhelmed can spike or shrink our stress. Find words that can serve as your soothing reminders.
This article first appeared Psych Central, 20 January 2015.