Feeling overwhelmed and in a cloud of worry? Finding it hard to breath when you think about your upcoming week? Who doesn’t have too many items on his or her mental ‘to do’ list? Today’s technology may provide a world of information at your fingertips, but have you noticed it can also lead to anxious thoughts and a general sense of feeling scattered or stuck?
Spending too much time focusing on future events and things outside your immediate control heightens your anxiety. When your mind keeps jumping forward to all the things you 'should' be doing, it feels overwhelming. At the very least, we keep our blood pressure up and experience stress symptoms such as an unsettled stomach, tight neck and shoulders, or back pain. We may find ourselves frozen- unable to move forward into action as we struggle under the burden of a seemingly infinite mass of things we need to give our attention to.
Studies show that multi-tasking is typically less efficient and leads to more mistakes. We are most effective when we focus on only one or perhaps two items at a time. Anything beyond this may hang over our head creating a sense of dread and nervousness. Begin the weeding out process by limiting the items you allow on your "plate" at any given time.
Imagine removing all the things that you can’t act on today. If you fear forgetting about actions with longer time horizons, start a dated action list in your computer, phone, or a notebook so you can pick them up again when an action is needed. You may choose to set reminders to bring a topic back to your awareness at a later time. Break down large tasks into smaller ones that you can complete and feel a small sense of accomplishment. Make a point to let go of things that are beyond your immediate control (no clear action to take). What are your top 3 priorities just for today?
You may be surprised at how light you feel when you make a conscious choice to reduce what you focus on and to avoid dwelling in the future. Just for today, what are you going to devote your attention to doing well?
Contact me- 512.636.7500 Dianne Fish, LPC
I'll help you manage your anxiety.