At times our mental or emotional load can be overwhelming. It can be easy to shut down or check out when this happens. Checking out or emotionally detaching comes from anxiety or stress and potentially leads to depression. It is important to stay present during these times, and here are three important tips to help.  

A—Acknowledge the feelings. 

Name the feeling you are having, be it anxiety, sadness, or overwhelm. This may take some time, but acknowledging this feeling and the reasons it is present can be quite powerful. Many find it helpful to see the anxiety (or whatever feeling you have identified) as a small creature or being. Getting to know this creature, instead of avoiding it and being afraid of it, will sometimes take the edge off. Validating the feelings by saying all the reasons you could be feeling this may relieve the rest of the pressure. An example might sound like, “I am feeling overwhelmed because I have three upcoming deadlines due this week. I haven’t planned meals for the week. I need to schedule my next dentist appointment. This is a lot of pressure to get these done and most people would feel overwhelmed with this.”


Get into our body and out of our head. This is sometimes called grounding, but it can look a little different for everyone. Go for a walk. Even a short 10-minute walk can be helpful, especially if you can get into nature and away from distractions. It can be putting your bare feet into the grass. It can be noticing your breath and where you are in the room. A good exercise is to look around for several things in your environment that are a particular color, say green. Be gentle with yourself here. Many struggle to be in their bodies so it may take some time and practice to get there. Even a few seconds can be a good start.  


This one might surprise you to be on the list.I have been learning the value of finding our creative self, and the more I learn, the more I see it just might be the missing link in many of our lives.It might make all the difference. There are many avenues to explore in the creative realm.

Find that part of you that loves creating. We had it when we were kids. There isn’t a kid anywhere that doesn’t love markers or glitter, right? If you have lost the creative spark, start small. Find whatever medium appeals to you and do something creative. Maybe you want to draw or doodle. 

If you don’t know where to start, sketch out the creature or being that you identified in the first step, the feeling. If you have any crafting or art supplies, pull them out and spend a few minutes creating something, maybe a simple canvas like a notecard will be just right. Maybe you play music on a guitar or piano, make some music for a few minutes. Maybe you are a writer or have an inner writer inside waiting to get out. Write a few lines of a short story, a personal essay, or a simple haiku.  

Each of these three can become practices that lead to a more present and connected life, especially amidst a demanding emotional load that so many of us carry.  Experiment with each of these and see if you can work each into daily practices, even if only for a few minutes.