Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.

Roald Dahl

There’s a reason why you’re only born with two hands; your mind is capable of doing only so much – why we try and be more than who we are is beyond me.

I can’t tell you how many clients come to me with the problem of being overworked or overstressed. They come to sessions or classes with the same problem, perhaps in different words: I can’t stop kicking, I’m afraid I’ll drown.

What happens when we try and juggle more than we’re physically capable of doing?

  • Your body produces stress hormones, like catecholamines and noradrenaline.
  • When your body is flooded with stress hormones, your blood pressure shoots through the roof, your heart rate beyond that which you can count.
  • Your sensitivity to pain increases – yes, you feel more pain, much more strongly.
  • You raise your risk of developing conditions like diabetes, depression, and anxiety.
  • You put your body in undue pressure: you’re constantly in fight or flight mode.

Want to know whether you’re juggling more balls than you can handle?

Try this exercise on for size: breathe in and out. Now do it again, faster, all the while keeping the depth of your breath the same. Take deep breaths in through your nose and back out through your nose, but really fast. Setting a timer on for only 30 seconds, take those really deep, fast breaths through your nose. At the end of 30 seconds, assess yourself: do you feel dizzy? If you do, it means you’re taking on too much.

You see, what happens when we put ourselves in a chronic state of stress – your body is in constant fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system fires) and you take shallow breaths. Which means, your brain has been deprived of the deep breaths and oxygen levels it needs to be in homeostasis. Which means, when you try a breathing exercise like the one mentioned above, you’ll either feel a rush or dizziness because you’ve been depriving your brain of all that oxygen (it’s not used to that much oxygen; hence, the dizziness).

If you fall into the above category, you’re (trying) doing too much. Here are your antidotes:

  1. If you’re overwhelmed, it’s because you’re time traveling. Bring your mind and awareness back to the present moment, not scurrying to the future that hasn’t happened. yet. Focus on something you’re seeing, and notice the quality of shapes, colors, etc. Focus on something you’re hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting – all with the intention of noticing nonjudgmentally different qualities and details you’ve missed before.
  2. Prioritize: do the things that matter – what can you do now that needs to be done now (urgent AND important)? What can you do next (important)? What can wait (not urgent or important)?
  3. Ask for help: no man is an island onto himself. Ask for help from those you trust when you need it.

Which of the three antidotes will you apply today? What about tomorrow? Write a comment below and share what works best for you.

Lead with intention. Inspire with Love.