It would be hard not to feel a sense of overwhelm when reading or watching updates about world events these days—from catastrophic weather to the testing of nuclear weapons to proposed policy changes in healthcare and human rights.
The most important thing to know is that being able to “feel” this overwhelm is a beautiful sign of how well your system is working. I would be worried if someone told me that they didn’t feel anything in response to things that are going in the world these days.
That said, it can feel like too much. When it does, take these 4 steps:
connect with your body
1. Connect with your body.
Take a moment and notice what this feeling is like for you. Where does it sit? In your gut, in your heart, in your head? Try a simple body scan: sit or lie down on a blanket, a soft rug or a yoga mat and say each body part aloud, starting with your toes and going all of the way up to the crown of your head. Notice how each part feels. Another option is to use Village Wellness' free 5-minute body scan.
In a quiet space (this can be anywhere: the shower, sitting outside, under the covers, in your car in a Wawa parking lot), consider the information that you got from connecting with your body. Are you someone who gets the “feels” in your gut? Maybe a pit in your stomach; an unsettled feeling deep inside? Or, are you someone who processes overwhelm in your brain by seeking answers to questions about how we got here and worrying about what is coming next. Or, perhaps you simply don’t know where it all lies—you just know it’s in your body somewhere.
2. Honor yourself.
Wherever this overwhelm lands in you, honor that space. Place your hands on your belly and send it gratitude for the way in which it serves as a vessel for your experiences, especially those that feel like they are too much to handle sometimes. Remind your gut that it is doing exactly what it is designed to do—send you signals when the big “feels” are happening, They are everything from falling in love to sensing imminent danger. Thank it for allowing you to feel all of this—for giving you the experience of being so alive and connected to the world you live in.
Similarly, wrap your hands around your head and send gratitude to your exquisite mind—the space where your magnetic poetry kit creates all sorts of questions, stories, predictions, worries and what-ifs. Thank it for its ability to manage so many feelings and so much data with grace and creativity. Specifically honor its ability to bring the dark alive and not allow you to hide from the reality of human suffering that comes from hurricanes and fires. Celebrate the ways in which it connects you with the universality of human suffering, even to those whose magnetic poetry sets have entirely different sets of words.
3. Breathe. You are okay. Your feelings of overwhelm are normal—they are expected responses to unexpected events.
connect with others
4. Connect with others.
Close your eyes and notice which sentient being (or beings) comes into your consciousness—it might be a human, a pet, a tree, your garden. Make a plan to connect with that being today or in the days to come. A call, a hug, a silent walk, a letter or a text. “I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed with all that’s going on in the world right now. I don’t necessarily want to talk about it, but I would like to connect.”
Know that your act of reaching out to connect with others will likely be just as soothing to them as it is to you—maybe even more so.
With abundant love for all that you are,