Feeling overwhelmed? Make this choice

Recently, I collaborated with Univision on a segment on how to handle feeling overwhelmed. 

The majority of people I come across, whether in my personal or professional life, feel overwhelmed. It doesn’t matter if the person is an executive or a stay at home parent, the demands, commitments, and responsibilities of life have often resulted in exhaustion, stress and anxiety.

I rarely come across someone who tells me that everything in life seems in place and is manageable, and that they are really enjoying the pace in which life is moving.  Furthermore, everyone believes that they are much more overwhelmed than the next person given their own particular set of challenges. 

On the segment, I shared a life changing piece of advice that one of my favorite Stanford Professors gave my class some years ago.  His words had an incredible impact on me.  My professor shared with us that going forward, we will always have A LOT to do.  Period.  This was the reality, and what we needed to do was learn how to deal with a lot of competing priorities, rather than wish that this were not the case. 

So he advised us to see ourselves as jugglers, juggling many balls all at once.  He explained how we should see each ball as a responsibility we have in our life.  One ball could represent our family, another one our work, another one our health, and so on.  He shared how we begin to experience troubles when we try to maintain all of the balls in the air.  It is almost impossible to do this, as throughout the years, more and more balls are added.  If we try to maintain all of them up in the air, our physical, emotional, and mental health will suffer.  So much so, that we put at risk having all of the balls come crashing down!

The crux of his advice? Of all of the balls you are juggling, identify which ones are rubber and which ones are crystal. And let the rubber balls fall.  The rubber balls will bounce back and you will be able to catch them again.  Don’t let the crystal balls fall.  They will shatter into pieces and never, ever be the same.  

So often we take crystal balls such as our health, marriage, and family and compromise them for the sake of rubber balls, such as superficial friendships and transitory situations.  In the Univision segment, my interviewer gave a great example: fighting with your daughter over the color of her birthday piñata…What is more important? What your invitees think of your party or the opportunity to strengthen a bond with a crucial family member?

How often do we believe we “must” attend a certain event, or respond to all of our emails by the end of day, or perfectly do something that is completely transitory and un-impactful?  We try to keep these rubber balls in the air alongside our crystal balls, all the while risking the crucial latter ones.

Remember (and please share on Facebook): 

Aside from learning to prioritize our crystal and rubber balls, on the segment I also shared two of my top strategies to further ease overwhelm

  1. Meditation. The benefits of meditation are incredible. Personally, I have experienced life changing benefits. Here are just a few of them.

    Do you know how to meditate or would you like to further deepen your meditation practice? Here is an incredibly powerful guided meditation that will not only help you achieve this, but also deepen your ability to practice gratitude.

    2. Morning pages. The practice of writing morning pages is life changing. You can learn more about these here.

I hope this article was of service to you.  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or question below. 

Do you know someone who would benefit from identifying which balls in their life are crystal and which ones are rubber?  Share this article with them, or share it with your friends and family so they can also start creating the life they want to live.