Liz was stuck in the trap of overwhelm. It seemed that there was always something to do, and not enough time to do it.
"I don't have anything huge happening in my life," she said, "but I feel like all of these little things add up and make me feel less like ME. I just want things to feel easier."
Liz and I talked about what it would feel like if things were easier. We didn't discuss the details of how, but played with the feeling of more ease.
She took a deep breath and then started to describe moving through her day without having things bother her so much.
How does that feel, Liz?
"I feel steady, grounded, like a rock in the river that stays put as the water moves around it."
How does that feel, Liz?
"It feels amazing. It feels calming. Powerful. It feels...(she laughed) it feels like ME."
She found it--ease, empowerment, herself--and she didn't take any action to get there.
But she did consciously tap into the feeling of ease.
A lot of people struggle with feeling like there is so much to do and not enough time to do it. And for many, the strategy to overcome this stress is to do more.
That strategy usually leads to one thing: doing more.
Ever feel like you keep doing more and there's always more to do? That's why.
So, the strategy isn't working so well.
The more effective strategy is to identify the feeling you really want, like ease, and then connect with that feeling.
And the really good news is: that doesn't require you to do one more damn thing but feel into ease.
Let's play this out together so that you can try it:
FIRST: HOW DO YOU WANT TO FEEL?
You may not know right away, and that's okay.
Sometimes it's easier to identifying what's not working and how you don't like to feel. Do you feel stressed? Afraid? Overwhelmed?
If so, then what would be the opposite? Ease? Calm? Confident? Secure?
SECOND: CREATE THAT FEELING NOW
Now that you know what you want to feel, is there anything in your life right now that makes you feel that way? It could be anything. It doesn't even matter if it's related to your ultimate goal.
For example, maybe you want to feel more ease with your kids (step one, check). Right now, you feel ease walking the dog at night. That's perfect. That's identifying something in your life that creates the feeling of ease right now.
If you can't think of anything right now, that's okay too. Can you imagine a time in your life that you felt that way?
Once you've identified what brings you that feeling, hold the memory in your head so that you can feel it now.
See if you can get so close that you taste it, smell it, touch it. Amp up that feeling.
AND any thoughts that start with, "yeah, but..." are not invited to this party. So, if "yeah, but.." tries to knock on your mental door then kindly put up the do-not-disturb sign.
THIRD: ANCHOR THE FEELING
Okay, you know how you want to feel and now you've connected with that feeling. Now what?
Create an anchor.
This is something you might say to yourself, look at, pause and visualize--whatever works for you--to help bring you back to the feeling you want.
For Liz, her anchor was imagining herself as the rock in the river.
She put a rock on her desk.
She practiced breathing and feeling grounded, like the rock. She put a lot of attention on things that already felt easy and noticed more ease in her life.
Overtime, she started practicing seeing things in her life like the river, moving around the rock, but not making it unsteady.
Thoughts and behaviors that we've been practicing for a long time feel easy to fall back into.
That's why practice helps a lot when starting new thoughts and behaviors.
A great way to practice is to think of how you could blend your anchor with something you already do on a regular basis.
For example, try emptying the dishwasher with appreciation for every item you take out and put away. Or, drive to work with the intention of noticing the ease of driving (starting the car, accelerating, turning, braking, etc) the whole way.
Liz built practices into her day, beginning before she got out of bed.
She started by feeling the ease of lying down, the steadiness of being in bed, and how grounded she felt.
This helps her reconnect to that feeling throughout her day.
Try these steps and see how you can begin to fill your bucket with more ease, and then post a comment below and tell me about it!
*Client names and stories have been modified to protect confidentially.