What I do is breathe and count slowly. The first tool for me to get out of my toolkit is slowing down when anxious or overwhelmed and just count super slowly in my head from one to ten and back to one and then repeat about four times. This slows down the breathing with conscious focus and will help one figure out what has to be done instead of worrying about what has to be done. Just 60 seconds of mindful counting with eyes closed is a vacation from the rest of one’s busy life. Then we can plan an action instead of just reacting blindly.
This was especially helpful to me on Mother’s Day, when I received a condolence call about my mother before I was even told by anyone that she had died. Of course the first words out of my mouth were, “What? Shit! Shit! Shit!” Then I got off the phone, and in the kitchen with my Mother’s Day celebration going on all around me, I slowed down the moment by imagining a finger in the sand slowly writing the digits. This helped the adrenaline to flow and the shock to move through me. I was able to then take action and call my family in Pittsburgh and see how I could help with the arrangements. (I live in San Francisco.)
Losing my mother on Mother’s Day still feels surreal, but I can practice my mindfulness counting and handle the daily to-do list of mothering, working, writing, and coaching that needs to be done whether Mama Hilda has passed away or not.
What do you do to stop the insanity in your life? I want to hear from you!
-Author and Creator of the Superior Self series
Visit me at www.superiorselfwithkjlandis.com