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 mental ‘to do’ list? Today’s technology may provide a world of information at your fingertips, but who has time to sort through, digest, and act on all that ‘stuff’?
Spending too much time focusing on and worrying about the future is one major contributor to anxiety. When you spend a good portion of your day fretting about all the things you are not doing now, 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 weight of a seemingly infinite line of things we need to attend to.
Realistically we are most effective when we provide our focused attention to one or two items at a time. Anything beyond this simply hangs over our head creating a sense of dread and nervousness. Begin the weeding out process by limiting the items you allow into your focus at any given time. Consciously remove the things that you can’t act on today or tomorrow. Set down consideration of the items that are beyond your immediate control (you have no action item for now). What are your top 3 priorities just for 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.
You may be surprised at how light you feel when you make a conscious choice not to dwell in the future. Just for today, what am I going to devote my attention to doing well?