Are you someone who gets easily overwhelmed? Do you stress about things that, in the grand scheme of life, don't really matter all that much? If so, know that you are not alone. This is something I have struggled with in my life and this summer was a big wake up call for me.
It was a Sunday evening last June and I was feeling stressed. I had too many things to do and not enough time to do them, (or so I thought). As I was rushing through washing the dishes I was focused on how fast I could finish them so I could go do more important things. With just one more dish to clean, I lifted a heavy glass bowl over the middle of the sink to rinse it and it slipped out of my hands. It shattered on the middle part of the sink and deeply cut my right wrist (not somewhere you want to get cut!). I covered my wrist right away to stop the bleeding and my fiancé ran to help; we knew this was potentially very serious. We went straight to the ER and I got stitched up.
Though quite scary, everything ended up being totally fine, and it reminded me of an important lesson. As soon as the bowl broke and I was cut, all the stress over work, money and everything else I had been thinking about vanished and I became hyper-present in the moment. I realized again in that instant that life is precious. Our bodies are mortal - we are not invincible and I needed to focus more on what really matters rather than worrying about the little things. So for the next few days, I did just that. I was more careful with the pace I set for myself, more mindful in my tasks and felt overall happier and more peaceful. Then after just a few days somehow I got overwhelmed again and got back into my never ending to do lists. Essentially, I forgot what really mattered.
Fast forward to six weeks ago and I was feeling overwhelmed again. I had a lot going on in my life (most of them good things) but I wasn't managing the stress well. Then, all of those little stressors suddenly vanished when we found out that Hurricane Irma was headed straight toward our home in Florida and the prognosis wasn't looking good. We jumped in the car, drove north, and tried to not "sweat the small stuff" for a week. In fact, it almost felt like time was standing still because I couldn't think of the future. Every time I tried, all I could think of was the impending force of nature heading our way. The future was unknown.
I again remembered what really matters: the health, safety and wellbeing of Eric and I, our family, our loved ones and the community and world as a whole. We were up against a threat we had no control over and knew without a doubt what made sense to worry about and what didn't. I did my best to stay positive and not fall into worst-case scenario mentality. I felt clear-headed. I knew what mattered.
We ended up being extraordinarily lucky as Sarasota was mostly spared in the storm compared to some of the terrible damage south of us. This experience helped to really cement the idea that there are some things that truly matter, but that most of our daily annoyances don't really matter at all. They are not worth our time, energy, fear or stress. I know that with each important experience I have the opportunity to gain more insight into what matters and work even harder to live life in a way that I only spend energy where it counts.
Do you tend to lose sight of what truly matters? If you notice this quality in yourself and want to get out of that stressed state, ask yourself these questions:
Will this matter a year from now?
What is worrying about this costing me?
How would I feel if I stopped worrying?
Next, I recommend repeating an affirmation to help you let go of your worry. For example:
Remember, we have the ability rewire our brains to be more relaxed, we just have to focus more on creating new healthy habits than we do on worrying about our old unhealthy ones. Each day you can learn to focus more on what matters, you just have to set that intention and practice. If this is something you struggle with, set that intention today!
If you can relate to this, I would love to hear about your experience. Leave a message in the comments!
Donations for Hurricane Irma Victims
Tomorrow, Longevity Wellness Clinic where I work part-time as a Health Coach is Hosting a Fun Run to raise money for victims of Hurricane Irma, click here to donate or join the run.