Blooming Boomers

April 1, 2014

OVERWHELMED? TRY THIS SIMPLE TRICK

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — sakaco @ 10:21 pm

This week we’re looking at the feeling of being overwhelmed. You know, the feeling of being bogged down, buried,  too much on your to-do list. In our last post Sherrie shared some great ideas about how to overcome this burned out, stress-filled feeling. So today I’m going to share a simple trick that can also help you get back on track to loving your life.

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So here it is…REFRAMING.  Let me explain. Behavioral scientists have discovered a unique trait that we  human beings have. It is the amazing ability to change our feelings and the direction of our lives by changing our thoughts. So “reframing”  or changing your thinking from “I’m feeling overwhelmed” to “I can handle this and even enjoy it” can make a huge difference in your life. Sounds too easy, right?

Let me give you an example in my own life. Years ago I founded and directed a ministry to juvenile offenders and other troubled youth.That was a 24/7 job and then some! I also wore the hats of wife,  mother ( though my kids were older  ), and household manager.  It was a lot, but I loved every minute of it! I felt blessed and joyful in all these responsibilities. But somewhere along the way I started feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, burned out, you name the feeling, I felt it!  In fact, I was getting sick and found out it was caused by stress! Talk about being overwhelmed!

Now one of my older volunteers, Dave,  was a businessman with a very busy company to run, many employees to deal with,  very active in his church and also spending a lot of time with his adult children and grandchildren. And on top of all this, he spent many many hours volunteering for our organization and even started a whole new side ministry to ours which entailed finding people to donate cars, having the youth fix them in his garage and helping them take ownership of the cars. ( to those who qualified! )  He was always so happy and seemed like he didn’t have a care in the world! He was not at all stressed out by all that he was doing! And he was working many more hours than I was!  Then one day I heard him say, “I have so many projects going! My life is so fulfilling!”

Then it hit me! He is not stressed because he is seeing all his responsibilities in a positive way.   Me?  I had unknowingly changed my thinking from, “I’m feeling really blessed to be doing all this and feel joy in having these responsibilities!” to “This is too much! I can’t do this!” I hadn’t realized that I had changed my thinking! The funny thing is that is what I had been teaching the youth I was working with. They needed to change their thinking from, ” I can’t change. This is just who I am”, ” to “I can change and do good things with my life.” I just needed to take my own advice! So I started to” reframe” how I thought about what I was doing. I needed to see things  the way I used to.  So I took the words right out of Dave’s mouth and told myself that ‘I had so many projects going that my life was very fulfilling!” And guess what? It worked!Not just saying the words but actually believing them again! I began to look at my responsibilities differently. Not as something to dread but something to enjoy! After all, nothing had really changed in my life when I went from feeling joy about things to feeling stressed about things, except my thoughts about them. After reframing my thoughts,  I felt a weight lifting and eventually I was back on track feeling the joy of these responsibilities!

Your circumstances are different from mine but you can reframe your thinking to see your responsibilities in a whole new light. Reframe them to see how you can turn something stressful into something positive! Your feelings will go right along with your new reframed thoughts. It won’t happen over night but keep at it and it will make a difference!

 

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