Most of us think of overwhelm as an emotional state, forgetting that it also affects the body. [Watch today’s live video, where I talk about overwhelm and offer some solutions, as outlined below.] How do YOU experience overwhelm?
A sense of overwhelm is often triggered by outside events and how we respond to those events internally. Overwhelm can happen when we feel that there’s too much information coming at us, our senses are overloaded, there’s too much for us to be able to process all at once, we receive a shock (such as a sudden death in the family), or if we have a sense that there’s simply too much to do and not enough time. Overwhelm can build up over time, when our threshold of tolerance of that pressure is surpassed.
What causes YOU to feel overwhelmed? How do you normally react to that feeling?
When you’re overwhelmed, you will feel uncomfortable mentally, emotionally, AND physically. You might get anxious, and your body will feel tight and constricted. You might throw yourself into a frenzy of rapid actions, running around here and there trying to accomplish a thousand tasks all at once, or you may feel stuck and utterly incapable of acting at all.
When you’re overwhelmed, your thoughts are jumbled, jumping around from one idea to another, you can’t think straight, your body goes into a “startle” (fight-flight-freeze) response, you either rush or become lethargic, and negative feelings such as performance anxiety start to take over. You might be prone to making more mistakes, as well.
What happens to your music-making when you feel that way? What if you had reliable tools to prevent and overcome overwhelm consistently?
Here are some essential solutions to deal with overwhelm in the moment:
It is so important to give yourself a time-out, even if it’s just for 30 seconds (10 minutes is better!!). You need to STOP what you’re doing when you’re feeling overwhelmed, even though it will FEEL like stopping is impossible. JUST STOP ANYWAY. Do nothing. Wait. Breathe.
- NOTICE & ACCEPT.
Don’t judge how you feel. Just notice your mental and bodily state, and observe yourself as if you were outside of yourself, watching another person. Get curious, and simply observe and gather information, without trying to fix or change how you feel. Use my 3 Magic Phrases:
1 – I am free [to feel the way I feel right now]
2 – I don’t HAVE to do anything right now [It’s OK to do nothing for a moment.]
3 – I have time…and space [to be myself right now, just the way I am]
Also… tell yourself, “I am safe,” and “I don’t have to know anything right now.”
Notice how you feel when you think these thoughts.
- CHOOSE EASE.
Take action! You can either focus on the sensations of overwhelm, or you can re-direct your attention and start wondering about ease. What if it were easy?
Learn TheCyCle, a Primal Alexander Etude by Mio Morales here, and do all or part of TheCyCle when you feel overwhelmed. This will help you feel more centered and connected in mind and body, with EASE.
[Take my 5-Day “Best Warmup” Challenge and see how TheCyCle can improve your musical practice session! < LINK > ]
- FOCUS ON ONE TINY NEXT THING.
What’s one tiny baby step you can take next? Instead of thinking of the million things you need to do, pick JUST ONE. What’s the smallest step you could take right now that would be EASY to implement? DO IT.
- SLEEP + SELF-CARE.
You expend an enormous amount of mental and physical energy when you’re overwhelmed, by overthinking and over-tensing muscles. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed for awhile, it’s likely that you’re exhausted. SLEEP, or at least REST. And make sure you’re eating well and drinking enough water.
- HAVE FAITH!
Last, but not least, have faith that this too shall pass. It always does!
I hope these suggestions help. Let me know!!
p.s. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’d like help managing your overwhelm for better music-making, send me a message. I’d love to chat and offer you some individualized solutions. Be well!
I’d love to get your feedback in the comments below, and please share this post. Thanks for reading!!
** Get your free Checklist/Starter Guide:
“7 Keys to Make Your Music Great!” >> http://bit.ly/artoffreedom7keys
** Join my FREE Facebook group:
“Musicians! Mind-Body Practice Tribe” >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/J30DPC/