Tools to Feel In Control Again
I’ve been working with a lot of people this week who feel like they are just stuck. You know that feeling when you’ve got too much to do and your mind is just full? Your stress levels rise and you end up not making any progress.
The conscious mind has a limited short term memory, and it has to continuously refresh the information in order to hold onto it. This gets further complicated by the subconscious, which is reacting emotionally to what the conscious mind is doing. This can be distracting to say the least. And when we feel overwhelmed or stressed out by the big picture, we can stagnate and stall out, which can cause feelings of frustration, feeling like we aren’t in control, and increased stress and anxiety. We can end up not doing anything rather than taking action to move forward.
If you had a technique that could clear your mind and lower your stress while making real progress toward your goal, that would be helpful, wouldn’t it?
NLP (neurolinguistic programming) has a term called "chunking" that basically means you can take a thing and break it into its parts. You can chunk things up (making them bigger) when you have tunnel vision and are focused on the minutia while missing the big picture, and you can chunk things down into smaller parts when you are feeling overwhelmed by the size of a task or project.
Today we’re going to talk about chunking down to get rid of the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Write it Down
The first step is to get the information out of the mind and onto something concrete, like a list or chart. While initially this might sound like "just one more thing to do" I promise that the small amount of time you invest in this will not only save you time in the long run, it will also let you be more productive by using your time better, and decrease your overall stress.
Trying to manage all that information in your mind uses energy and resources that might be better spent somewhere else. The first step is to make a list of all the things that need to get done in order to reach your end goal. If your goal is to sell your house, your list might look something like this:
sort belongings - keep, sell, donate
reserve moving truck
meet with agent
You get the idea.
You'll start to notice that once you start putting all those thoughts down on paper your mind is a bit clearer. You may also find that you are still experiencing the emotional states that are associated with these things. Remember that having those emotions is okay, and by getting these thoughts down on paper, you are giving yourself more room and energy in your mind to better process those emotions.
That brings us to the next step.
Sort the items on your list by priority of importance, or by the order that things need to get done. This simple step can help to keep you focused on what's most important right now.
Remember, writing it all down will take the strain off your mind and save your energy for more important things. And because you are writing all of it down, you don't have to complete your entire list all at once! You can keep coming back to your list and adding more to it, or even taking things off your list as you realize they aren’t necessary to reach your goal. This allows you to take on your goal one thing at a time - and to start taking action.
Chunk it Down
Each of those items on your list is made up of smaller tasks or components. The next step is to start identifying what those smaller parts are. Start with the first priority on your list and think about what needs to happen in order for that thing to get done.
Let's use the list above as our example. The first item on that list is to sort your belongings. There are several rooms in your home, so first, decide which rooms you’ll start with. You might choose to work in the easiest ones first, or to begin with the least used areas. This is what we mean by starting to "chunk down" by breaking the big thing down into smaller, more manageable parts.
Now you are creating a plan! And for many people, this is where the emotions shift away from feeling stressed and overwhelmed to feeling even more in control and more focused.
You can continue to break down the items even more, until they feel easy. It might look something like this:
The idea is to keep breaking the task down until you can imagine yourself easily accomplishing it.
Now that you have a clear idea of what you need to do to reach your overall goal, and how you will go about doing it, you can begin to take action! You’ll find it much easier to set aside time each day to work towards your goal now that you have a clear direction, and the momentum you’ll build up from the small victories of completing each task will help to propel you to your overall goal.
This framework can be used for any project, of any size. From term papers to cleaning your house, if the job feels too big to do, chunk it down. With this method, you'll stay more focused and have an easier time keeping track of what needs to be done and what you’ve already accomplished. Above all else, you'll have less stress, more energy, and more confidence.∎
Karen Gray is a Certified Professional Hypnotist, Certified Hypnosis Instructor, Registered Nurse, and Director of Green Mountain Hypnosis. For more information on how you can use hypnosis to change your life, click the link below to schedule your free Strategy Call today.