Dwelling on the Past
The other day while on a hike through a beautiful, pristine, snow covered landscape, I became aware of how much more attention I was paying the thoughts in my head instead of the natural beauty surrounding me. This made me wonder… how much of our lives do we spend in our heads instead of in the present moment? You know what I’m talking about – that mental dialogue that never ends. Constantly dwelling on shit that has already happened. To further illustrate this, let me tell you a story:
There once were two Zen monks; Tanzan and Ekido. They were walking along an old country road that was really muddy after heavy rain the night before. Along the road, they approached a village where a beautiful young woman was trying to cross the road out front. But the road was so muddy it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Immediately, Tanzan went to help the young lady by picking her up and carrying her to the other side of the road. The two monks then continued walking along the road in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching their temple, Ekido couldn’t restrain himself any longer. He said, ‘Why did you carry that girl across the road? We monks are not supposed to do things like that!’ Tanzan’s response was, ‘I put that girl down hours ago. Are you still carrying her?’
Can you imagine what it would be like if you were unable or unwilling to let go of things from the past? Imagine how how many disagreements, rejections, upsetting comments, embarrassing situations, past failures or negative experiences you would have accumulated over your life. Well, you now have an idea of what life is unfortunately like for most people. This is one of the biggest reasons we aren’t productive. We are just stuck re-living moments in our head. Constantly dwelling on the past (or worrying about the future).
True focus and therefore productivity comes from being in the present moment.
What are limiting beliefs? Your limiting beliefs are basically stories you tell yourself that stop you from doing something. For example, let’s take a 25 year old guy that has an interest for starting his own business. He’s still working a normal day job but is reading as many books and listening to as many podcasts on entrepreneurship as he can. Even while at work. He’s probably the keenest man alive to have a go at being his own boss. After all, imagine the potential of how his life could look if he were to live on his own terms. The world really would be his oyster.
Now, he realises that he doesn’t want to continue his job for the rest of his life and has this burning desire to follow his heart and turn his passion into a business. But he doesn’t. Why? Well, he has a bunch of stories he tells himself. Stories that he has consolidated over many years that make him second guess his ability to do his own thing. Common thoughts (stories) going through his head are: what if I fail?, my university degree will be a waste, the time I put into my current career will be a waste, I’ll be giving away a decent salary and my financial security, I don’t know much about the ‘business’ side of things, I’m not very good at sales and I don’t know anything about marketing. These limiting thoughts and beliefs go on and on and on.
These stories can create a fear of the unknown and for some, a fear of success. But just keep in mind that you are constructing these stories completely out of nothing. So every time you become aware of a limiting belief, turn it on it’s head. Make it empowering! This will ensure you stop worrying about the future.
After many books and podcasts on entrepreneurship and more importantly on MINDSET, the above guy started thinking ‘what if I succeed?’. And, ‘now I have the potential to double, triple or 10x my career income.’ Or more importantly, ‘I can now craft the life of my dreams.’
Ever heard the saying, ‘when one door closes, another one opens’? What a load of RUBBISH!
Every door is already open.
So, how to stop feeling overwhelmed? Well, I’ll make it very simple.
How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
- Bring yourself into the present moment
- Focus on ONLY one task at a time
Bring yourself into the present moment
Have you ever tried meditating? In particular, mindfulness meditation? If so, awesome! If not, download an app called ‘Smiling Mind‘. Do it right now. And if you haven’t heard of this app but are practiced in meditation, I want you to download it too!
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of being in the present moment. Something you can practice formally by sitting down or informally as you go about your daily tasks. In a matter of minutes you can easily bring yourself into the present moment by simply focusing on any of your senses.
But as a quick exercise, just notice that you are breathing right now. Feel your stomach rising and falling as your inhale and exhale. Try to count to 20 breaths. Your mind will probably wander but don’t worry as that’s what it is used to doing. Just bring your mind back to focusing on your breathing. This is the present moment.
Focus on ONLY one task at a time
After you have brought yourself into the present moment and released any thoughts about the past or future, it’s time to focus on the most important or pressing task at hand. Focus on only this before moving onto the next. Trying to multitask and juggle a million things is a recipe for the question: how to stop feeling overwhelmed. Focus on only one task at a time. It’s that simple.
So we’ve discussed two big reasons why we feel overwhelmed. Dwelling on the past and your made up stories that prevent you from living the life of your dreams. And you’ve got a super simple two step process to stop feeling overwhelmed.
If you liked this article, feel free to share it around.