Overcoming Irritability and Overwhelm: Finding Balance

I saw this meme several days ago and it really resonated with me.

Sometimes I wake in the morning feeling out of sorts. Sometimes it builds throughout the day. On these days, the smallest irritants can stack until I’m over the day. I don’t want to engage with anyone or anything.

I’ve come to realize that this means that I’m out of balance. My energy is off. Generally, I’m worrying about things that I have no control over, global politics, national politics, local politics, bad decisions by,… well… you get it… politicians. Racism, sexism, classism, ableism, all the “isms” that undermine and other usually marginalized people. Global warming, war, Covid or the next pandemic, the economy. Mean-spiritedness, dishonesty, disrespect, polarization… the worst human characteristics.

Can you relate?

I worry about things I can’t influence, and I don’t spend my time and energy on things that I can. I recognize, as Stephen Covey did when he wrote about this phenomenon, that on my irritable days I am spending more time concerned about things I can’t impact,(Circle of Concern) than working on things I can (Circle of Influence).

So, what to do… If I can’t change the world at large, I can focus on the world I engage with day-to-day. But I can’t do that, until I change my personal standpoint, until I balance myself. I’ve found two types of strategies to be effective. I can change what I think (or what I think about) or I can change how I feel.

Whether through meditation, affirmations, journaling (including writing blog posts), and yoga stretches, especially sun salutations I can change what I think and what I think about. To change how I feel, I might have a private dance party (Safri Duo’s Bongo dance is a great place to start.). I might sing at the top of my lungs (Lizzo’s About Damn Time is my current go-to.), go for a lovely walk, or take a hot bubble bath.

Taking time to balance myself makes me better able to approach the day, week, month. If I’m balanced, it’s easier for me to focus on those things I can influence and release those I am concerned about but can’t impact. Then I can get back to the things that need to be done and engage with the world in a more positive way.

Mindfulness and self care for the win!

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