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Lighten Up to Find the Answers

Written by Pat Sullivan

The best way to solve overwhelming problems may be to quit thinking about them.

Are you so overwhelmed by problems that you feel you can't get your life in order?  Do your attempts to pray or meditate just make you feel more frustrated?  Do you ever feel that the harder you work on a problem, the worse it becomes?

If so, the answer to your dilemma may be, "Stop working on your problems. Take a break from them."

Using visualization to help solve problems:
Ask yourself, "Who in the whole world could handle what I have to deal with?"
Imagine Katharine Hepburn characters who could solve any problem gracefully, or Jimmy Stewart roles in which he had incredible listening skills.
Have an imaginary conversation with that person. Ask for advice on what to do next.
Imagine this person helping you say "no" to things overwhelming you.

No, this is not an invitation to escape with your equivalent of a romantic novel and a bag of malted milk balls.  Instead, ease up on yourself. Take a hot shower or work out to wild music. Then give your mind and emotions a break through visualization. 

Imagine your situation being drawn by a great cartoonist.  Do you feel like the old Li'l Abner character whose personal storm cloud went everywhere he did? Are you more like the mythological heroes, so that for every vicious dragon slayed two more come to life?

However silly your picture, accept it. Laugh and enjoy it.  Or sigh deeply a few times and humbly admit how powerless your situation makes you feel.  Notice how the sighs or laughter expand your breathing, making room for fresh energy and hope.

When you fight feelings of overwhelm, you can easily exhaust yourself with ineffective action.  When you humbly admit to being overwhelmed and ask for help, you un-cramp your spirit.  You empower yourself to be more creative and to see options you might otherwise overlook.

Being humble about your problems can empower you. Once liberated from your striving will, you'll be more receptive to wisdom within and outside yourself.  You realize, once again, that you don't have to be perfect, that you don't have to get everything done at once, that the world won't end if you make a mistake.

Maybe you'll discover the courage and creativity you need to change a situation.  Maybe you'll admit that you're in the midst of something hard or painful that can't be changed, only accepted.  Either way,life may not be so overwhelming.  It's rich with options, and you're better able to enjoy them.