All wound up

Have you ever found yourself so wound up over something that you couldn’t calm down over it?  It might be a new idea that you can’t let go of, to the distraction of sleep and anything else you had planned. It might be a need to get through a long list of ‘must do’s’ that seem endless. Or so worried that a pet project won’t be acceptable that you can’t keep yourself from ‘fixing’ it.

I’ve done that so often I stopped counting years ago. I still find myself doing it and don’t expect that will change. But what has changed is my ability to moderate this to a degree that is acceptable to me (if not to my spouse).

It’s taken years. If you have a similar issue, my wish is that it’s easier and faster for you to resolve. But even if it isn’t, here are a few things you can do to begin the process:

  1. Catch the feeling. When I get wound up, I’ve learned to notice a feeling in me that lets me know that’s what’s happening. For me, it’s a buzzing in my head, and a sense of urgency, even if that urgency doesn’t make practical sense. Once I notice that familiar feeling, then I have an opportunity to make something else happen.
  2. Take a breath. A long slow breath in and out – at least 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out. Apparently there is evidence that the optimum time to breathe in and out in order to calm is 5 ½ seconds. That deep breath (or 2 or 3) gives me the space I need to make that opportunity for change a reality.
  3. Take charge. Before catching the feeling and taking a breath, what was in charge was my stress response system. By becoming aware and slowing down even for a few seconds, I give myself the time I need to take charge in a much calmer way. I can decide what is truly urgent and focus only on that; I can make a plan that accounts for other responsibilities, including sleeping, eating and being with family.

Even now, when I catch that Oh so familiar feeling, it isn’t something that worries me very much, because I know I’ve got a handle on it. I hope these three suggestions can help you too.

 

Quote of the Week

I am a fan of overdoing something, but not running it into the ground. They are complete opposites with only a fine line separating them.
― Criss Jami

 

How do parents mess you up?

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