Moving Through Overwhelm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed with life lately. In the past few weeks, I was in a car accident (no one was hurt, thankfully, but I was driving my parents’ car). After that, I ended up getting my own car (yay!); however, the process of getting there was a little stressful since I had to rearrange my schedule to look, sign papers, etc. Additionally, I’ve been feeling like I’m behind on my business-related work, dealing with issues with my ex more recently (Venus retrograde, perhaps?), and just day-to-day life.

During this time, I’ve really had to remind myself and practice staying calm, at peace, grounded and centered.  And I say remind myself because even as the calm coach, I, too, have to remember to practice what I preach: Peace is a choice, and it’s up to me to actually do the things that bring me peace because my inner peace is inside of me, no matter what’s going on around me. With that said, here are some of the things I’ve been doing, just in case you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, too:

1. Pause and breathe.

If you’re anything like me, when you’re stressed, you can find yourself overthinking and overanalyzing things, which — of course — leads to more stress because you’re probably thinking of all the things that might go wrong. Or, you’re obsessing over your to-do list, wondering how it will all get done.

When you have these moments, stop (and you can do like I do sometimes and literally tell yourself to “stop” out loud). Bring yourself back to the present moment, and take 5 to 10 few deep breaths. As you inhale, fill your belly with air like a balloon and count to four. And as you exhale, bring your belly button back towards your spine, counting to four.

2. Release any physical tension. 

As you may already know, we often physically hold on to stress, and it’s usually unconscious — we don’t realize we’re doing it.  Most commonly, we hunch our shoulders by our ears, clench our jaw, furrow our brows.

So, when you notice that you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to scan your body, starting at the top of your head and going down to your feet. As you do this, breathe deeply and note if you’re tense in any area of your body; if you are, relax that area. (This is also a good practice to get in the habit of doing regularly).

3. Stay present and focused.

Like I mentioned before, thinking too much about the future is a big cause of our overwhelm (trust me, I know). Being mindful and staying present, brings you inner peace, improves your mood, reduces anxiety, and brings emotional balance.

Some ways to practice mindfulness are:

4. Practice gratitude. 

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to have a “woe is me” attitude and feel sorry for yourself, like nothing is going right. Taking time to focus on the positives in your life and what you have to be thankful for brings you more joy, calm, and contentment. A couple of ways to do this:

  1. Start a gratitude journal, and every day, write down three to five things you’re thankful for or positive things that happened during the day.
  2. When you feel stressed, take a couple of minutes or so to write down everything you can think of that is going well for you.

5. Choose a different thought and affirm.

It’s challenging to just change how you feel from one minute to the next, especially when you have a lot going on. But, one (relatively) simple way to start feeling better is to choose to think differently (because generally, our emotions come from our thoughts). Again, you can literally tell yourself to “stop” when you feel yourself going down the path of thoughts that don’t serve you. Then,  bring your awareness to what’s actually going on in the moment. You can also use affirmations or reminders to shift gears. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • All is well.
  • Trust the process.
  • Focus on one thing at time.
  • Life/Spirit/God/the Universe is conspiring in my favor.
  • Everything is working for my good.
  • I got this.

Do you have another suggestion you would add? Do any of these resonate with you? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

10 Quotes to Inspire You to Live in the Moment

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Over the past few years, I believe the Universe has been trying to teach me to live in the moment. As a daydreamer who has been developing her patience forever (it seems), being present and allowing everything to unfold the it is has not been my strong suit. I am, thankfully, getting better at it. Because what I’ve come to realize is that the only moment/time there is is the present moment, and fretting/obsessing over what’s to come does nothing but stress me out and cause me anxiety (and it probably does the same to you).

If you have trouble staying present and living in the moment, here are 10 quotes to inspire you to do so:

  1. “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” – Eckhart Tolle
  2. “Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” – Brene Brown
  3. “Trust the timing of your life.” – Unknown
  4. “I know that the big miracles we’re waiting on are happening right in front of us, at every moment, with every breath. Open your eyes and heart, and you’ll begin to see them.” – Oprah Winfrey
  5. “Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot
  6. “Be. Here. Now.”– Unknown
  7. “Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience, moment to moment.” – Jon Kabat Zinn
  8. “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  9. “Wherever you are, be there. If you can be fully present now, you’ll know what it means to live.” – Steve Goodier
  10. “Living in the moment brings you a sense of reverence for all of life’s blessings.” – Oprah Winfrey

Having a meditation practice is a great way to learn how to live in the moment! Download my guided meditation to get started.

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

 

20 Affirmations for Calm and Inner Peace

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you follow me on social media, you probably know that I post an affirmation every Friday related to finding calm and/or self-care.  Affirmations are a great way to not only create calm but to also change your mindset so that you’re calm and peaceful more often than not.

Success coach and co-author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series Jack Canfield says an affirmation is a statement of your goal or desire now realized in the present time. They’re statements you can write down or record then repeat/listen to regularly so you bombard your subconscious mind with thoughts, images, and feelings you’d be experiencing if your goal was complete.

With that said, here are some affirmations that will help you find your calm and inner peace:

  1. I let my worries go so I can be here for the beauty that surrounds me now. (Mary Davis)
  2. Today, I take a moment to press pause, get quiet, and simply breathe.
  3. When stressful situations occur, I remember that it’s possible to choose peace over worry.
  4. I let go, and allow the Universe to do her thing. (Gabrielle Bernstein)
  5. Today, I choose serenity.
  6. I am centered, I am calm, I am at peace.
  7. I make my calm and serenity a priority.
  8. Today, I relax and flow.
  9. I choose to experience life in a calm manner.
  10. I let go of all negativity that rests in my mind and body. (Louise Hay)
  11. It’s okay to make myself a priority.
  12. I relax, knowing that everything will be okay.
  13. I got this.
  14. I inhale peace and exhale overwhelm.
  15. I focus on the thoughts that bring me peace and joy.
  16. It is easy for me to tap into my inner peace whenever I need to.
  17. I deserve calm and self-care.
  18. My stress and tension melt away with each deep breath.
  19. I stay focused on the present moment, which brings me peace.
  20. I create my own calm.

Like these affirmations? Download this printable PDF or save it to your phone.


 

 

#CalmTip: Protect Your Peace.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

The result of this year’s election has a lot of us feeling anxious, fearful, on edge, a swirl of various emotions. It’s definitely warranted and necessary to process whatever we feel. And during — and after — you’re working through your feelings, I think it’s super important that you protect your peace.

That doesn’t mean you need to be totally oblivious to what’s going on, ignoring it, or pretending to be super happy. It means just doing what you need to do to stay centered and grounded. With that being said, here’s what I did the past couple of days to make sure I maintained and protected my peace:

  • Social media break. I did make the mistake of getting on Facebook early Wednesday morning, but I ended up taking a break from there and Instagram until Thursday evening.
  • Read. I read some good, drama-filled urban fiction.
  • Meditated with/carried crystals. If you want to do the same, here are some suggestions:

For calm/peace —  amethyst, rose quartz.

To ground yourself — black onyx, smoky quartz, black obsidian

To boost your mood — citrine, rose quartz, yellow jasper

By the way, I’ve gotten a few crystals from ThirdEye Naga.

  • Deep breathing.
  • Yoga.

Some other ideas:

  • Journal and get your feelings out.
  • Go to the gym/work out.
  • Smudge yourself/your space.
  • Chat with a friend.
  • Laugh.
  • Watch some ratchet TV (don’t judge lol).

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

What do you do to protect your peace? Let us know by leaving a comment!

#CalmTip: Use Affirmations

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

A great way to create calm and even change your mindset so you’re more calm and peaceful more often is to use affirmations.

Using them not only has created a positive change in my life, I’ve also realized that it’s a powerful way to relieve stress, too. According to success coach and co-author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series Jack Canfield, an affirmation is a statement of your goal or desire now realized in the present time. They’re statements you can write down or record then repeat/listen to regularly so you bombard your subconscious mind with the thoughts, images, and feelings you’d be experiencing if your goal was complete already.

You can either use ones you’ve found or read, or you can create your own. If you choose the latter, here are a few tips:

  1. Begin with the words “I am,” and/or use present tense. You want to speak your affirmation like it’s happening now. (Because your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between reality and your imagination).
  2. Make it positive. Instead of saying, ” I don’t let negative people disturb my peace,” say, “I surround myself with positive people, and that brings me peace.”
  3. Keep it short.
  4. Be as specific as possible.

Some of my favorite affirmations for creating calm are:

  • I am calm and centered.
  • Breathe in peace, exhale overwhelm.
  • Just breathe.
  • Life supports me in every way.

And if you like guided meditations, here’s a sample meditation for creating calm from my ‘Meditation Audios for Calm, Happiness, and Success’ (which you can download here):

 

Confessions of A Meditation Teacher

 

confessions of a meditation teacher

The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic for me. My husband and daughter were sick last week, and I guess I caught whatever they had last weekend (thankfully, I’m much better now), I’m working on things for Black Girl’s Guide to Calm (and I’ve been playing a little catch-up), working on an editing project, getting ready for my daughter’s birthday party this weekend, and not to mention everyday life. Needless to say, I was (and still am a little) stressed and overwhelmed.

And it feels kinda weird (and maybe even wrong?) to say that. I mean, here I am, a meditation teacher, someone who shares information and inspiration about finding calm, stressing less, and taking care of oneself daily. It’s almost ironic really, but as the saying goes, “We teach best what we most need to learn.” And something I’m still working on learning is not letting life overwhelm me, practicing mindfulness, and listening to my body and mind when it comes to taking care of me. I’ve gotten a lot better at these things, but I still need to make some improvements.

Sometimes, I wish I was at the point where I could let things roll off me like water off a duck’s back, but I’m not there yet (and I don’t know that I’ll ever be). But is that really necessary?  As long as I know what to do when those moments occur, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

And here’s what I’ve been reminded of these past couple of weeks:

I’m human, and I’m a work-in-progress. Even as someone who promotes and teaches calm, I’m not always perfectly calm and centered, I have my moments, too. And that’s okay (and normal!).

Calm isn’t a destination per se; I think it’s a journey, and while you can live from a space of inner peace for the most part, you’re gonna have crazy, stressful, hectic, overwhelming moments — that’s life. So don’t beat yourself up when you feel like you’re about to go crazy. Instead, remember that you’re human, and figure out what you need to do to get to your calm space. It’s always there when you need it.

Listen to my body. I did okay at this, but I do have a tendency to push myself to do more even when I know I need to rest, especially when I have a deadline. But I’m learning more and more that if I don’t get the rest I need and take care of myself, my work won’t be its best.

And before I go, here are a few of my favorite affirmations for when I feel like I’m about to have a meltdown (I recite them while taking slow, deep, full breaths):

  • I am calm and centered.
  • Inhale peace; exhale overwhelm.
  • I have time to accomplish all I need to today.

Can you relate to this post? If so, let me know by leaving a comment!

Visualizing with Meditation

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Visualizing is a great tool to create more calm in your life, especially when coupled with meditation and deep breathing. Below is a guided meditation audio that includes visualization (if you prefer to read how to do it and do it on your own, go here). It’s just a few minutes long, and you can do it anywhere.

I hope you enjoy it!

“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.” – Richard Bach

 

 

#CalmTip: October 27th, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If I’m having a particularly stressful or overwhelming day, I repeat a mantra while I meditate. A mantra is a “sound, word, or phrase that is repeated by someone who is praying or meditating.” (Merrian-Webster.com); you can repeat it silently in your head or out loud.

To create your own calm mantra, think about how you want to feel or be, then state it affirmatively. For example, one I use often is “I am calm and centered.” Saying a mantra while you meditate can help you: 1) Focus on something other than what’s bothering you; 2) Relax; and 3) Believe what you’re saying is true at a deeper level so that it actually becomes true.

“Never underestimate the power of words. You make your world with your words.” – Dee Rimmer

#CalmTip: October 20th, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Not only is meditation an awesome way to create more calm, it also cultivates a consistent sense of inner peace and decreases your tendency to worry. You don’t need anything special to meditate; your stillness and breath are all that are really necessary. If you’re ready to begin your practice, learn more about the Meditation Mentor audio.

“In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals; step home within yourselves and be still.” – William Penn

#CalmTip: October 13th, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Visualization is a great way to create more calm in your life. Here’s an exercise to try:

  • Find a quiet, distraction-free space, and get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes, take a few deep breath, and imagine yourself in a beautiful location where everything is like you’d ideally have it.
  • Visualize yourself calm and relaxed. As you keep visualizing, focus on the different sensory aspects, making it more vivid in your mind.
  • Stay in this place for a few minutes or until you feel relaxed.

“Develop your imagination — you can use it to create in your mind what you hope to create in your life.” – Stephen Covey