Picture this: You wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat with your mind racing. Constant thoughts are running through your head probably as fast as you running from the dreadful reminder that your next bill is due or even over due. You feel unsettled, playing over and over in your mind how you’re going to pay your bills, take your kids to all their appointments, resolve that fight with your partner or friend from the night before, deal with your boss and his mood swings, fix that leak of two weeks in the bathroom, and then, finally, take whiskers to her vet appointment so she can get her yearly vaccinations. Oh, and by the way, you get to have these thoughts exactly twenty-four hours later…same time, same place. Sound overwhelming? Many of you can relate to such a list of responsibilities and I am sure you can replace my list with a list of your own.
Being overwhelmed can be a feeling that causes us to remain “stuck.” Attempt to fix all the problems at one time and you continue your cycle of chaos and feeling overwhelmed. Do nothing at all and you still feel overwhelmed because the problems still exist. The good news is that there is a solution to your state of inertia. Making positive changes to problems that exist in our lives sometimes first involves a little imagination and visualization.
Try this exercise: Envision yourself standing in the center of an empty room all alone. On the count of three, the room will fill around you with filing cabinets (not exactly your dream scenario). Moments later, they all pop open at the same time and you’re stuck in the middle with no place to go (hello claustrophobia!). You can see the exit door in the room but blocking your pathway are filing cabinets open with cloud bubbles. One bubble caption reads, “cable bill”, another reads, “car repairs”, “relationship problems,” etc… Take out a piece of paper and fill in the rest of the “cloud bubbles” above your open “drawers.” If you want to get out of that room you will have to close one drawer at a time.
Your problems did not occur over night and it is unrealistic to think you can solve all of them at one time. The reality is that many of our problems are actually perpetual problems. These problems are never really solved but actively managed throughout time. I will leave the “how” to manage these life problems to my readers. What solutions have helped you to feel less overwhelmed? Is it finally asking those around you for some help? Did you just realize you had to prioritize things better? Please share specific examples of what has made you successful with feeling less overwhelmed.
My name is Jason T. Cerro and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Mystic, Conn.. I provide therapeutic services for children, teens, couples, and adults in which I help them find solutions to their problems. I will be writing to shed some light on everyday mental health issues that many of us experience from time to time. My goal is to help you think about things in different ways and look forward to hearing your struggles as well as triumphs.