How many things are you thinking about right now?

As you’re reading this, I imagine you’ve got a few things going on in your mind haven’t you. I have as I am writing it. Not at the front of my mind, perhaps, but my mind is processing the movement of my dog behind me, wondering what time my son will get up, thinking about the fact that I need to shower and get dressed, processing some of the information from the book I am reading, planning the day ahead, thinking about the scary ‘to-do’ list I created this morning, and more.

Luckily, I am still able to write with all this going on in my mind. But sometimes having many thoughts racing around in the mind can be overwhelming and can lead to an inability to proceed. In this busy world we live in, how many things are we trying to think about at any one time?

Too many I would imagine. We often multi task our way through the day, trying to do 5 things at once, sometimes even more. Our lives reflect this. We have multiple roles, multiple demands on our time. Juggling these roles and demands can sometimes feel like an endurance test, and often leads to overwhelm, stress and procrastination.

How would it be if we could just cut out the overwhelm, and focus on one thing at a time?

This is something I struggle with in my own life, I am not claiming to have the answers to an overly busy life here. I’ve been looking at my own life recently, and can see where there is too much clutter. I need a life detox myself. The worrying part about overly cluttered lives is, when we feel overwhelmed with the stuff of life, the first thing we often ditch is the self care. When life is busy, self care becomes seen as a luxury that we cannot afford. Yet this is the exact time we need to prioritise it. Self care equips us to be able to withstand the turbulence of too much life clutter. It provides us with the space, the tools and the inner resources to be able to manage the challenges of a busy life.

I am as guilty of this as the next person. I know that yoga, breath practice, walking, writing, sleep, hydration and good food are crucial to my wellbeing. But when I feel overwhelmed and busy, any or all of these could be sacrificed. This might feel ok in the short term (“I can manage on 4 hours sleep tonight, it’s fine”), but the knock on, and longer term effects of this can be devastating.

One simple way you can make space for some self care, and find a solution to overwhelm at the same time is to turn your attention to your breath. You have to breathe all the time anyway, so why not turn that into an act of self care. When you take a moment to take a few deep breaths, you can create space and peace within yourself, and reduce the stress and overwhelm.

Try it now. Just take a deep breath, filling your lungs completely, breathing in and out through your nose. Do this a few times, and notice how you feel.

Your breath is there for you whenever you need a moment of calm. Any stressful situation, any moment of overwhelm can be eased with a few deep breaths. It won’t reduce the to do list, quieten noisy children, reduce the traffic or do anything about the things that are going on around you. But it will give you space to breathe, and a chance to alter your own response to the situation. And that can change everything.

The more you can practice turning to your breath, the more it will become second nature to you, making it easier to remember when you need it most. Spending 10 days practising the ‘5Minute Breath’ is a great way to begin the habit of sitting with your breath. Making this practice a habit will help you to head off overwhem before it even begins, and give you a powerful tool you can turn to when stress does arise. Register now and begin to connect to your breath today.