My Stress-Busting Mantra

Karen at Living Well on Less wrote a great post on accepting the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day. It got me thinking about how I deal with stress and feeling generally overwhelmed about 75% of the time (on a good day).

Here's how my brain works:

I'm doing a task (let's call it A). As I'm doing A I start thinking about how after A I'm going to do B. Then I think of a C, D, E, and F that absolutely have to get done at that very moment, and if they don't, I'm a failure and the entire day has been a waste. And aren't I a horrible person for not being able to get A-F done in a single day???

I've tried lots of things in the past: meditation (I'm horrible at it); deep breathing (sometimes I can't even slow down my breathing because I'm too stressed out about breathing correctly); journaling (I do this, but I love to journal and don't want it to be something I only do when I'm feeling bad about life); etc.

Here's my new tactic that I'm trying:

When I'm doing something and I start getting overwhelmed, I say to myself, "Right now you are doing A" (in which case A might not even be a task--it could be taking a shower, eating breakfast, watching TV). "And when you finish A, you will do B." And that's where it ends. I don't let my mind go any farther than that. If it tries do, I just repeat my mantra "A then B." "A then B." Of course, my mind says "What if this won't work long term?" and I repeat again "Today you are doing A, then B."

How do you stay focused on the here and now?

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to try this method. I have the same problem, though. A while ago, when I was doing cognitive behavioral therapy, my therapist wanted me to try mindfulness, but I couldn't slow my brain down enough to focus on one thing at a time. Since I started taking anti-anxiety meds, it's definitely been easier for me to do.