Experiment to calm overwhelm with categorized action steps

When you have peace of mind, you scarcely notice it, but in its absence, you long for it.

Peace of mind is like walking into a room where there's no clutter to trip over. Everything has been put into its proper place.

Just as when you straighten up a room, settling your mind takes a little time.

Experiment calming your overwhelm by taking categorized action steps.

First of all, determine what is out of order in your life. Write out categories like Family, Money, Work, Spirituality. List out all the items in each category that are cluttering your mind.

Next to each one, put an action step, like "call the dentist." If you can't think of an appropriate action to help a particular situation move forward, leave it blank and go on.

It's when you don't know what your problems are, nor what to do about them, that the irritation and panic start to mount.

As long as you're taking an appropriate amount of responsibility toward straightening out each of the problems, you will generally feel peaceful.

The general solution to low-level overwhelm is taking micro-actions.

However, just as some people take too much medicine and worsen their original condition, others overcompensate by becoming hyper-responsible for everything and thus do nothing to increase their peace of mind.

Decide rationally, if possible, what is "yours" to take care of.

At home, if you live with family, friends, or a partner, be clear about whose tasks are whose responsibility.

At work, know what is yours to do. If you're unclear, ask.

If you know what is "yours," and you still feel overwhelmed by not knowing which action to take, sleep on the list for one night.

In the morning make up an action. Invent one.

You don't have to go through with it, but giving yourself the option of an action will relieve your worries just a little bit.

In your own personal, spiritual, creative life, you can also set yourself a few fun or pleasant goals.

Build them into your schedule just like your so-called "real" responsibilities, whether this means a daily walk to tune into your inner wisdom, setting up a quiet corner for meditation, or reading holy scriptures every day.

Let these "extra" practices support you. Don't allow them to become an additional burden or requirement in your busy life.

Peace of mind is yours to choose. When you have a clear idea of what you're facing, then you can decide your course of action.

Categorized small steps plus an extra hobby goal is a great strategy to test out.

If you're taking small steps in each of your categories every day, but you're still feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, then you'll know that it's time to ask for additional help, such as from a counselor.

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