All too much? Try These Steps.


When everything just gets too much...
  1. Give yourself permission to stop everything for a couple of minutes. Take yourself somewhere quiet - even if this means just hiding in the loo.

  2. Sit down, and now permit yourself to let your breathing slow down and your muscles relax. If you notice that it’s difficult to relax more than just a tiny bit, that’s OK. Just giving yourself this couple of minutes is already helping; even the tiniest degree of letting go of tension you can achieve is a real achievement and something you can build on in future.

  3. Now you’ve slowed down a little, ask yourself, “What brought things up to that peak state?" It may be just one cause, or a number of accumulative causes.

  4. Check in with your breathing and tension again. If you've tightened up thinking about it all, remind yourself that just for this minute you're safe - safe to let the tension go again and breathe more slowly again. You are safe to look at your situation.

  5. Imagine there’s a sympathetic and totally trustworthy person - a friend, relative, counsellor, therapist, late ancestor, Ancient Greek Oracle, whoever fits the bill - right there with you (yes, in your mind's eye, they can be right there with you in the loo, and if that's funny, all the better).

  6. Explain your situation to this person - out loud if you're truly alone, or in a whisper or mouthing if you don't want any real people hearing you talking to yourself - but actively speak the whole explanation. When you speak it out, you hear it in the telling. And hearing why you were distressed will prove you weren’t upset for no reason. This can lower the temperature from a state of (now understandable) panic or rage, and really help you feel better.

  7. Now, some further juicy questions: a) “Was I responding to what just happened, OR, was I responding to something in the past that I’m still upset about, and which these current events reignited?” b) If 'no, it’s the current thing': "What if anything do I need to do next?” c) If 'yes, it’s an old thing': "What can I do to help myself process that? Can I figure it all out on my own, or do I need to seek help from somewhere - online, in a book about it, an organisation, an expert, or just a chat with a friend?”

  8. Finally, take a couple more nice breaths and thank yourself for looking after yourself. Maybe go and make yourself a hot drink, and enjoy it slowly.

  9. Only if you have the time, maybe pick one very small area of your house or workplace and tidy or clean it. Something that will take under five minutes.

  10. Whether or not you have time for step 9, remember: there is always enough time for every important thing. Say this out loud to yourself; it may help you prioritise and get some important things done - also great for bringing down a high emotional temperature. Well done! Oh, and that person you told your story to? That's actually you. When you can listen to yourself asking yourself the most pertinent questions, you can always be your own instant-access friend, parent, counsellor, therapist or Ancient Greek Oracle.


Tel: 07714 028800

Email: mail@francesbutt.com

Write/Visit: 7a Camp Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3LW

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