Feeling overwhelmed? Try a new mantra

by

Sarah Welch

posted in Tips & Tricks

Last summer I admitted to being stuck in a bit of a funk.

An unexpected shift in our child care situation combined with my own ambiguity about “fixing” it with anything other than me, left me feeling totally overwhelmed by chaos and exhausted from trying to run my small business totally by myself.

And until I came clean about it on my blog, I felt powerless and stuck – white knuckling it through each day.

Writing about my struggle was cathartic and transformative.

Thoughtful and helpful comments from readers definitely made me feel better, and – -just as important, taking a step back and dispassionately looking at the swirl of words on the page also made me realize I had a real focus issue.

I did have the power to regain control. And it was all in my mind.

My Overwhelm Mantra

Do you know what a mantra is? Basically it’s a sound, syllable, word, or phrase that one repeats – traditionally in a quest for transformation. As I reflected on my situation, it hit me like a blinding flash that I was unconsciously repeating an energy-depleting, soul-sucking mantra.

You see, I was SO focused on my mile-long to-do list that I literally would walk around with the words, “ohmyGOD I have SO MUCH to get done today!” looping around and around my sleep-deprived brain from the time my eyes opened in the morning until the moment my head hit the pillow.

Just like a mantra.

And clearly, it was transformative. My reality was that I was completely and totally overwhelmed. And unhappy. And stuck.

A Mantra Experiment

Once I realized the power of my subconscious loop, I became determined to swap out my soul-sucking phrase for a positive one.

Over the past year, I’ve run a slew of new mantra experiments. After twelve months of tweaks, I now have a list of 5 questions that I use to jump-start my days. Each week I cycle through a new phrase. I spend the first five to ten minutes after waking up just repeating the phrase of the week. If I feel my mind wandering in a negative direction during the day, I turn to them again. At night, I take the last five minutes before bed and reflect on them one last time. Here are my five:

1. What can I happily contribute at home and at work today?
2. What am I grateful for (at home/at work/in my personal life)? How can I convey my gratitude for those things today?
3. Thank you God for this day (or moment). How can I honor you with it?
4. Who am I going to choose to be today (or right now)?
5. What actions today will truly make our home/buttoned up/my life better?

Holy cow what a difference this new mantra has made.

Especially the second phrase. Rather than focusing on a litany of to-do’s and requirements, my brain started to focus on all of the abundance in my life. As the year progressed, I gradually became unstuck. And even though I got it intellectually, I still am kind of awestruck by the power of a simple thought.

Are you at the mercy of a sub-conscious mantra? Have you ever experimented with this kind of thing? If so, I’d love to hear what worked for you!

Leave a comment