“Do what you gotta do to get where you need to be” – Leslie Hudgins
Stress can become so overwhelming that it fogs our perspective when navigating decisions, whether trivial or significant. It seems to erase our memory of our values, our truth, and even sometimes our identity- who we truly are. Not to mention, this stress is typically accompanied by other “fogging” factors such as pain from the past, current emotions, other circumstances, etc.
So how do you navigate through the fog without losing yourself? How do you make a decision without disregarding your values? How do you steer clear of regret from a bad decision?
The speed of our society tends to make us feel as though we must be constantly busy. With a mind going a million miles an hour, many struggle to be in a silent place or struggle to sleep at night. This is a result of not practicing slowing down and being fully present. My yoga instructor (Maggie at Shakti Power Yoga) recently told me that a Tibetan teacher once told her, “everyone comes to this earth with a certain number of breaths”. She responded and said, “I don’t know about you but that makes me want to breath a whole lot slower and a whole lot deeper and make this life last as long as I possibly can”. Being still in the silence is where you can achieve mental health.
This is where I am going to insert my plug for meditation and yoga. It does not require you to spend hundreds of dollars per month going to an expensive yoga studio with all of the lu lu lemon gear (although there are affordable options!! like Shakti). This can simply be a routine every night in bed before falling asleep. Meditation is where you learn to let your thoughts flow as the wind. As fast as they come in, let them flow out. Don’t hold onto one thought. Don’t judge yourself for your mind going to a certain place. No expectations. Try this for 5 minutes in silence. Then for 10 minutes. And so on. Let me know what you think!
Learn to accept the present.
You are exactly where you need to be and exactly who you were made to be in this present moment. No more or no less. Bruised and broken pieces alike. When stress comes, we tend to begin to point out all of our past mistakes and all of our inadequacies of controlling our circumstances. If we learn to accept ourselves as we are and where we are in the present moment, the fog will seem to dissipate just enough to where we may be able to take another step towards the future we crave.
A friend (Heidi) once told me, “I don’t have to remember anything if I am living in the present”. All that is true is constant, therefore all of the knowledge you need to make a decision is within you right now.
This is a critical part of self discovery. Instead of focusing on a lack of control on the outside, you begin to shift your focus to who you are. This is where you will find your passions, your desires, your talents, and your truth. Attaining this knowledge will enlighten where your next step should be.
Fill up before pouring out.
The root of stress may be due to overcommitment. Learning to say “no” may need to be on the top of the to-do list for this week. Pouring yourself into one-way friendships, pursuing someone who isn’t putting in any effort, committing to meet with 4 different people for coffee in one day.
The real question is “who are you trying to please” and at what/whose expense.
Find what fills you. This could be friendships, family, art, music, alone time, journaling, meditation, exercising. That should be your number one priority, because you can’t pour out unless you are full. And don’t fill yourself with emptiness (I know that is a oxymoron). I am referring to surrounding yourself with people who suck the life out of you- your coworkers who constantly put you down or your “friend” who bails on you for another friend.
Love comes from fullness.
Choose what is best for YOU!
As mentioned previously, we tend to get caught up in the notion of pleasing others to the point of losing ourselves. Then when it comes time to take the next step or make a decision, we have no idea where to go.
My friend (Heidi, again! She is so wise!) explained to me that decision-making is simple. Whether you have 2 or 10 or 98 choices in front of you, choose what excites you the most in that moment. I have a hard time overcomplicating decisions in life, considering who it will affect, what people will think, who is watching, and if it will hurt anyone. Then, I look to others to make the decisions for me because I become overwhelmed. As previously mentioned, you are equipped with all of the knowledge you need to make a decision in the present moment.
What excites you the most? Do that! Chase after what sets your soul on fire!