Overwhelm

overwhelm

Overwhelm is a word I hear a lot. In fact, I hear it often enough that I decided to explore it more in depth. If you look up overwhelm in the dictionary you will find 1) to affect (someone) very strongly, 2) to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with, and 3) to defeat (someone or something) completely. Usually it involves all three of these meanings for most people I talk to.

When I ask what symptoms people associate with overwhelm, I hear decreased sleep, increased worry, fatigue, tearfulness, irritability, and intrusive thoughts. Those symptoms can be associated with many different feelings so they don’t set overwhelm apart from other emotions very well.

Factors that often contribute to this feeling can include having too many tasks. Excessively high standards, poor time mangement, inadequate mindfulness skills, or focus on another person’s evaluation of you can also contribute. This certainly suggests definitions 1 and 2.

Expectations of one’s self also may play into the feeling of overwhelm. The high standards or expectations mentioned above fit in this category too. I find that the words “should” and “shouldn’t” are the biggest contibutors. When these evaluations are present they really can drain a person’s resources and limit problem-solving skills. Many people have pretty rigid beliefs about how things should or shouldn’t be without being really clear about why. In fact, it is often just a preference.

Having weak boundaries can also contribute to feelings of overwhelm. People who self-identify as people-pleasers often have too many things to do and not enough time to do them because they haven’t learned to say no. They are also afraid to engage in the self-care that would increase their energy for tasks and overall resilience. Difficulty with prioritizing can also be a factor. If you look at your task list and see everything on it as the highest possible priority it would feel overwhelming.

Possibility List

When all of these things are considered it seems clear that the feeling comes from the inside but there may be outside factors. If the boss wants something NOW it likely impacts overwhelm. But if there is a confidence in one’s own ability to prioritize, set boundaries, and complete tasks it probably won’t be nearly as uncomfortable.

Other words people use to describe overwhelm include swamped, buried, flooded, saturated, overloaded, and engulfed. I was drawn to the words saturated and overloaded. Interestingly, saturated seemed to be from outside forces (although I acknowledge I have some control on what I let in). Overloaded seemed to be more internal for me. It is sometimes quite difficult for me to choose from the many things I like to do. I often take on more activities (because I really like them) than fit easily into my day.

When considering difficult to manage feelings it can be helpful to consider where you feel them in your body. This can be a great way to monitor how your coping skills are working since it makes the feeling more tangible. Does overwhelm feel like a knot in your shoulders? Maybe a pressure in your chest? Does it feel hot or cold? For those of you who know about tapping, it also is useful to use the bodily sensation as a focus for your tapping.

I Can and I Will affirmation

When you get down to it, the thoughts in your head that are associated with overwhelm generally are some variation of “I’m not enough” or that “I can’t handle it.” Those belief patterns come from so many different places. For me there is a childhood statement from a parent of “why can’t you be more like Lori.” Then there was a question about whether I deserved to be valedictorian since I was in chorus instead of advanced math. The media also perpetuates those feelings of not being enough for many people.

I would argue that for most of us the truth is really more like “I don’t want to handle this” or “I shouldn’t have to handle it.” This is an important thought pattern to explore and it can lead to solutions.

Speaking of solutions, here is a brief list of solutions you may want to try:

  1. Planning – Break tasks into the smallest possible pieces and assign a time to do them.
  2. Values clarification – Decide whether the competing tasks share a similar value for you. Do the things that are congruent with your highest values. (This isn’t always easy to figure out and it is ok to get professional help with any of these.)
  3. Mindfulness – Practice your mindfulness skills. Then you can stay in the here and now rather than ruminating on the past or catastrophizing about the future.
  4. Affirmations – Make statements of affirmation about your own ability to problem-solve, self worth, and intellect.
  5. Tapping – Tapping is a great way to manage the feeling of overwhelm.
  6. Self care – Set aside time (even a few minutes) to rest, relax, and renew. It will help you be more productive when there is an onslaught of activities.
  7. Language-monitoring – Watch your language for should, shouldn’t, ought to, have to, etc. These are energy drainers and not helpful.
  8. Choose your battles – There really will be times when it is not possible to do everything. You also might not be able to do everthing at your highest level.

Do I Still Do Reiki?

People have asked, “Do you still do Reiki?” The anwer is Yes. I do continue to use Reiki. However, much like tapping, I don’t use it as intentionally or as frequently as in the past. That realization makes me feel sad.

I find that the absence of a local Reiki Community is a factor. My Reiki Community in Ohio was robust. I loved being around other people, doing, sharing, and talking about Reiki. I really miss that. I also miss those people that were in my life then.

I deliberately use Reiki in two ways now. When I am enjoying time in nautre I often send Reiki energy out to the tress and animals. Combining Reiki with tapping is also something I do fairly frequently. I focus the Reiki energy in my fingertips while I am tapping on the meridians and it seems to enhance my experience.

Someday I would like to re-engage in a more intentional program of Reiki study, practice, and instruction. Teaching Reiki has always been greatly satisfying. Now does not feel like the right season for me, but I remain open for it when it appears

Do I Really Tap?

Do I tap? The quick answer is yes. I do tap, but not as much as I would like to. I think about tapping often, but for some reason I don’t always follow through. There are probably lots of reasons. Sometimes I’m in a situation where tapping just wouldn’t be comfortable. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time. In reality that would almost never be true. The more accurate answer is that I would like to have more time to tap on an issue at length and don’t want interruptions. Other times I’m just too upset to remember that I even know tapping. Yes, that’s a real thing. I’m not the only one this happens to.

Honestly, I used to do it a lot more. Several years ago I had many more problems and challenges than I have now. The past several years have been really good for me. I’ve made many lifestyle changes that have brought me great contentment and satisfaction. This has resulted in having less urgency to do tapping in my day.

It is important to state that I definitely believe that tapping works. I believe my life would be even better if I was using it on a daily basis. I’m working toward that. It would be ideal to do before I even get out of bed, but that probably isn’t realistic for me. Because I’m a creature of habit, it is very hard to change the pattern of activity when I’m not yet fully functional and haven’t looked at my to-do list. I’m usually on autopilot until I get into the shower. Perhaps a few minutes of tapping in the shower might be helpful for getting my day started. Tapping right before bed to declutter my mind and body from all the of “junk” of the day is great.

I now do tapping mostly around issues of physical pain, uncertainty about a plan or choice, and occasional feelings of insecurity. There is benefit from tapping when I am teaching it to clients and get to “borrow benefits” from tapping along with their issues. I don’t consider that my tapping, but it still helps. Other challenges that are waiting for me in my “tapping journal” include issues of aging, difficulty managing clutter, and negative comparisons of myself with others. Difficulty balancing my many activities, or difficulty letting go of some of my many activities, is also a topic for future tapping.

If you are a tapper, I’d love to hear how you use tapping in your daily life.

Never done tapping and want to learn more? Click Here.


Gorilla Thumps & Bear Hugs

Gorilla Thumps & Bear Hugs by Alex Ortner is a book about tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) written specifically for kids. The child in the story was taught tapping by her friend in order to deal with teasing at school. It would also be a great book to use with children during this COVID pandemic.

Children of all ages are experiencing tremendous changes in their routines, are isolated from many of their social activities and friends, and are watching their parents and caregivers trying to adjust to not only health fears but also financial anxiety. It is a time of stress for almost everybody.

Tapping is a technique children (and adults) can use to minimize any emotional distress that is occurring, even if lingering below the conscious level. Gorilla Thumps & Bear Hugs is a simple, fun, and engaging way to learn the process.

Check it out and get tapping (using appropriate handwashing of course.) Want to learn more about tapping? Click here.

Primal Power Has Gone Live

Unleash your Primal Power: Totem Tapping for Health and Happiness has gone live. It is now available at bookstores online and locally. I would really appreciate your feedback and reviews are definitely welcome.

It has been a long time coming. Although I’ve written other books, this one was probably the most fun to write. It is actually based on a chapter from my first book Tap It Away: 10 Minutes to Freedom. Unleash Your Primal Power expands on the concept that we can find a starting spot for tapping by considering the animals that we either love, fear, or have some sort of a strong feeling about. Of course there isn’t room in a single volume to describe all of the possible tapping options with each animal, but there are many examples that can help you get started on your own journey.

You will also find plenty of information about how to tap, why I tap, and other interesting facts. You can also find additional examples of primal power tapping throughout this website. If you have a particular animal that you would like me to provide some tapping about, just ask. You could also suggest a personality trait or challenge and then we could work backwards by thinking about what animal that might remind you of. The possibilities are almost endless.

Happy Tapping.

Need to learn more about tapping? Click here.

Unleash Your Primal Power

Primal Power has been set free.

I’ve been anticipating the completion of my new book Unleash Your Primal Power: Totem Tapping for Health and Happiness for quite a while now. Well, it is finally completed and available for sale. I am excited to share this book with everyone. It seems like I have been working toward this goal forever and I am pretty pleased with the outcome. Catchy title. Attractive Cover. But most of all, a topic that I am passionate about.

Unleash Your Primal Power

So far, Unleash Your Primal Power is available in softcover and e-book on both Amazon and Balboa Press. If it isn’t already, it should also be available at Barnes and Noble very soon. If you find it other places, please let me know. Once you have read it, honest reviews are appreciated.

One of the questions I was recently asked was what the title meant. The video that follows explains the concept and title. If you have other questions, please ask.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 22 that also helps to explain the title.

I see primal power as the source or essence of our personality. It is that essential spark that is inherent in all of us and fundamental to the way we interact in our world. It is that part of us that is untainted by life’s hard knocks and is simmering at our core, waiting for expression.

Power is defined as the ability to do something or take action. Common synonyms include ability, capacity, potential, capability, and competence. When you pair the definition of primal with the definition of power you get an ability or potential for doing great things because of a fundamental essence or characteristic.

Then there is the word unleash. That means to release from a leash or similar type of restraint. Common synonyms are release, free, untie, untether, or unshackle. Combining this with the definitions or primal and power, this book has been about helping you to break free of the external and internal forces that have kept you imprisoned or that have made it hard for you to grow into the person you want to become so you can exercise that essential or fundamental ability to act in ways that you choose and desire.

Happy Tapping

Need to learn more about tapping? Click here.

Worried About the Economy

No matter which news channel you watch you will find dire predictions from time to time about the economy. Unless you have advanced knowledge in that field it is so hard to know who to believe. This can create significant anxiety about money, finance, and the future. We can use tapping to decrease that anxiety.

Money and the economy can be sources of stress, even for individuals with good jobs, steady incomes, and money in the bank. It seems that money issues are quite common and sometimes very debilitating. In addition to spending a great deal of our time each week in the active pursuite of money, we have many beliefs about money that can disrupt our energy system at times.

Take a minute and write down a few of the thoughts and feelings you have about money, the current economy, or predictions about the future. Set aside some time later to tap on the things that you wrote down. For now, tap along with the following script to get started.

Say this statement aloud, “I’m worried about the economy.” Rate the intensity or truth of that statement on a 0-10 scale, with 10 being very worried and 0 being not worried at all. Write down the rating.

illustration for karate chop point

Tap on the karate chop point and repeat these phrases,”Even though I am worried about the economy, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even though I am worried about the economy, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and all of my worries. Even though I am worried about the economy and it makes me feel uncertain about my future, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.”

diagram of the tapping points

Eyebrow…I am worried about the economy.

Side of Eye…The news is always bad

Under the Eye…No one seems to have enough money

Under the Nose…I am afraid for the future since the economy is so bad

Chin…I am worried about the economy

Collarbone…Feeling very insecure about money

Under the Arm…With the economy being as bad as it is

Top of Head…It makes sense to worry about money

Eyebrow…Even though I am worried about the economy

Side of Eye…I choose to look for options

Under the Eye…It seems like no one has enough money

Under the Nose…But there are people who seem to be doing fine

Chin…Instead of looking at the problems

Collarbone…I choose to look for the solutions

Under the Arm…When I feel insecure about money

Top of Head…I choose to feel calm and confident anyway

Take a deep breath and let it out. Check the intensity of your original statement by saying it aloud, “I’m worried about the economy.” Record your rating. Continue to tap using these, or more personal statements until the intensity is much lower.

Need to learn more about tapping? Click here.

Happy Tapping.

Ready, Set, Wait a Bit Longer for Unleash Your Primal Power

Unleash Your Primal Power

It has been an exciting week. On Friday I saw the cover design and interior layout for Unleash Your Primal Power: Totem Tapping for Health and Happiness. While a few tweaks will be necessary, the finish line for getting this book “on the shelves” is starting to come into view.

Just the title is enough to make you feel that something is happening. After all, the word UNLEASH gives you the sense that something powerful is about to be set free. Indeed I hope that is true for you. I believe that most, if not all people, have an inner wisdom or spirit, that if we just allowed it to flow freely or be “unleashed,” would guide and improve our lives.

Unleash Your Primal Power combines the technique – tapping, with animal characteristics to form an easily learned technology for lasting personal change. The book will guide you through multiple examples, using different animal characteristics, to help you get started.

Try this exercise:

  1. What is the first animal you would like to visit at the zoo if you could just walk straight to it?
  2. Name at least 3 characteristics of that animal that you admire or enjoy.
  3. How similar are you to that animal?
  4. In your daily life do you exhibit those 3 characteristics above? Do you behave somewhat different, or opposite of those 3 characteristics?
  5. How would it help you to be more like the animal?
  6. What situations do you see yourself in that, if you behaved or thought more like that animal, you would benefit?
  7. Have there been specific times when you behaved the opposite?
  8. Was there a specific time when you “learned” that having those characterstics was unsafe?
  9. Is it still unsafe?
  10. Imagine yourself exhibiting the characteristics of the animal. How does it feel?

I hope you wrote down your answers. Now, start tapping using the questions and answers above. Change tapping spots as you are guided by your intuition. When you are done, be sure to write down any thoughts or feelings that you had.

Need to learn more about tapping? Click here.

How Long Does Tapping Take?

How long does tapping take? That question has two different components. First, the question could be how long does tapping take to learn? The second question seems to be how long does it take to bring relief from a problem or challenge? The first question is the easiest so lets start there.

Learning the basics of how to tap takes less than 10 minutes. All you need to do is learn the tapping points (or if you are really in a hurry all you need is to look at a tapping point chart or tap along to a video).

Tapping is one of those skills that gets easier and more effective with practice though. What can sometimes take the longest about tapping is to learn how to get to the heart of the matter that is bothering you. Sometimes we are really resistant (on a subconsious level). That is why I usually recommend that you start, without any of the words that you see people using when they tap, and just experience the relief from the physical tapping first. Then, as you become more comfortable with that part, you can add words to help you “tune in” to whatever is going on.

Distress

The question about how long it takes to get relief is more difficult. How long seems to be a very specific to each individual and problem. That is not to say that problems causing severe distress take longer and minor distress resolves quickly. Some problems have been there longer, and in my practice seem to take longer to resolve. They often involve habitual ways of thinking and responding that have been reinforced by multiple life experiences.

For me that takes more tapping. That said, there can be significant relief within the first round or two of tapping, but there is more work to be done. I’ve managed the overwhelm and pain of physical therapy within a few minutes. Managing the frustration of needing physical therapy because of an injury has taken much longer. That is because of the negative self talk involved.

I have also found that the sooner you start tapping about something that is currently going on, the more quickly it will resolve. Stuck in traffic and frustrated? Tap while you are waiting and the emotional distress melts away. Wait 15 years to tap about something someone said to you in high school and it might take longer.

Happy Tapping.

Need to learn more about tapping? Click here.