Are there times in your life when you thought you just could not handle one more thing? Or that you just can’t take it anymore? Well, you are not alone. That is a feeling we all get from time to time. And, of course, what did you learn? You can handle anything and everything you need to handle. You have exactly what you need to move forward, one step at a time. Just keep moving forward. Sometimes it feels like you take one step forward and two steps back. It feels that way but, it’s just a feeling. It’s not necessarily true and feelings change, constantly.
There are several ways to handle these negative, fatalistic feelings. There is an expression in NLP that says, “The map is not the territory.” The map is not the real world, it’s what we created with the information we had and then we interpreted. A menu is a map but it’s not the food. Changing our map is changing the way we see the world.
Life is a series of using maps, internal maps, things you assume and take for granted. When you go to the store, there will be toilet paper. That is just one example of something that can rock your world. A simple change in the map occurs that you didn’t plan on so you feel a little rattled. Right now, all those maps are changing and it’s completely out of our control.
When your conscious mind cannot count on the map being the same on each trip, it becomes overwhelmed and the other part of your brain takes over. It is the subconscious part of your mind that puts you into ‘fight or flight mode.’ It is also referred to as ‘survival mode’ where your blood pressure goes up as your heart beats faster, your breathing becomes shallow and faster, muscles get tight and it feels a lot like fear and anxiety. That’s exactly what it is. It is the natural way to respond when your map is no longer reliable. You feel lost without your map! So now what?
You can begin by looking at the big picture. Take inventory of what you know you can control and all the resources you have to handle what you need to handle. Realize that although maps change, you can adapt and stay grounded knowing everything will be ok, even if it’s a different version of ok. We have the ability to adapt easily when we take control of the only thing we can control: our thoughts. Change your map so you can change the way you see the world. See the silver linings in all the clouds. Notice all the ways life has been better and the opportunities there are to be grateful for those things you used to take for granted. Focus on your new perspective on what’s really important to you. How have your life and priorities changed?
Remember, those anxious feelings are just feelings, not things. You can begin to feel better by changing your thoughts and using the breathing techniques I have told you about so many times. Breathe deeply into your belly as though the breath is going through your heart. Breathe slowly and deeply in, and slower and deeper out. Do this when you need to shut off the adrenaline that creates that uncomfortable feeling. Then, change the thought to something pleasant or someone you love and the feelings will change. You don’t need to feel like a victim, you have a choice!