What's On My Plate? A Tool For The Overwhelmed

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

Here's an interesting tool to put into your tool-kit-of-coping-skills when feeling overwhelmed with life's challenges.

I have recommended this tool to many individuals who have come to my office feeling overwhelmed and anxious. It's called What's On Your Plate?  Here's how it goes:

  1. Take a sheet of paper 8 1/2 by 11.
  2. List all the major "things" that make you feel overwhelmed, e.g. not enough time for myself.
  3. Leave a few spaces after each line.
  4. Cut each line into strips. So, if you had 10 items that caused you to feel most overwhelmed, you would have 10 strips.
  5. First, take the 3 most important items that have a time constraint on them, i.e. that need to be taken care of soon.  Mark the back of each  one with a big red checkmark or some symbol that will alert you that this one has a time factor.
  6. Then fold each strip into a small piece making sure that the red shows.
  7. Get a paper plate or plate and put the red marked pieces on it because you want to deal with those first.
  8. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and concentrate as you put your hands over the plate. You want to draw to you the one strip that you need most to work on.
  9. Pick a strip, open it up, and read it.
  10. You will concentrate your efforts on this one strip and do what needs to be done to bring it to complete resolution or to enough resolution so that you no longer see it as a major concern and your mind will be at ease. (Remember to look for your motivation!)
  11. When resolved, put that strip into a container marked "completed." And, go back to your plate and pick another.
  12. Continue to do this exercise until all of the strips have been completed.

There are  some of life's circumstances that may not be easily handled in this manner. However, for the most part, most situations where we feel overwhelmed can be. What's On Your Plate? is a powerful and effective tool for managing being overwhelmed. Its purpose is to teach us that when we break up our problems into bite sized pieces they are easier to chew and digest.  And, you will find that once your feeling of being overwhelmed has decreased, then your anxiety levels will decrease, freeing up your energy to be even more effective in coping with your challenges. Remember, there is usually something on a deeper level that you love that can be manifested and used as motivation to overcome feelings of being overwhelmed with life's challenges. Don't forget to look for it.

So put this in your tool-kit-of-coping-skills and don't forget to use it. It really works!

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