Feelings of overwhelm and mental blocks can come up at any time.
Sometimes they are triggered by a situation or event. In my case it was a cold with flu symptoms just after Christmas that has thrown me off course.
I took time off work keeping warm in the house with nice food, books, herbal teas and TV entertainment.
I started feeling better by the new year, but there was a persistent fog in my brain that was pretty hard to shift.
So I decided that fresh air would be in order, and the pics above are from my New Year’s walk with my love in the local park.
Even though I still had the sniffles, it was such a fantastic day dreaming and looking forward to the year ahead.
But still, my head was filled with all sorts of stuff, from creative ideas and mundane life things that needed to be done right through to worries about Brexit (I’m an EU citizen living in the UK, and a no deal would be disastrous), which I’d been trying very hard to ignore…
So, I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed with everything I need to get on with and life in general, and when that happens, my midlife brain can no longer cope and begins to scatter 🙂
BUT….I do have some techniques to help me cope and overcome this unfortunate phase, which is thankfully slowly beginning to wane.
1. Breathe…take a deep breath and start at the beginning. Rather than looking at my long to-do list and long-term goals, I do something small each day that I can cope with and complete.
It’s like putting those jigsaw puzzle pieces together one-by-one to create the whole picture.
2. Distract….Worrying can make the situation even worse, so it’s best to accept the current state and switch off with a great book, inspiring magazine, movie or TV program helps to focus my mind on something completely different.
It gives my brain not only a well earned break but is also kickstarting new ideas.
3. Enjoy….doing an activity that makes you happy. Over the last two days I tidied and decluttered my home filling four bags of stuff going to charity. And I’m not done yet!
4. Overhaul my diet…Over recent months I’ve been reducing my meat intake down to just once a week. I love vegetarian/vegan food and discovered new recipes and ingredients. I love sweet potato burgers!
If we all cut down on our meat intake to just once a week, that would reduce greenhouse gases by a lot.
5. Reduce my plastic consumption…since we were made aware of the huge plastic island in the Pacific and microplastics in marine life and food chain, I’m getting more conscious about the amount of plastic coming into my life.
For example, liquid soap in plastic bottles (I’m now using more soap bars), food in plastic containers. Wherever possible, I choose glass bottles or no packaging at all. I’ve been using my own reusable shopping bags for years.
6. Saying NO… Less is more in terms of work commitments and projects. I only say YES to what makes me happy and fulfils me. I have chosen not to feel obliged to fulfil other people’s expectations or demands.
7. Fresh air…yes, more of it! It’s something I haven’t had enough of recently. That new year’s walk in the park was like therapy. I want more of that, so I’m out again tomorrow.
8. Journaling….I so love writing, even if it’s just a sentence, a pic, doodle or making a note of a fab quote I’ve come across on social media.
For that purpose, I’m using the creative printables I’ve designed, which you can grab here.
Yes, it can be unsettling when overwhelm and mental blocks dominate your life, but eventually by not giving yourself a hard time over it, life will also take you back into the flow.
You see, even though you think you are doing nothing, you are actually doing something.
In those moments when you surrender to the bliss of nothingness, you are resetting your brain. Unconsciously, you are looking for inspiration.
Rather than letting the outside world with all its activities influence your thinking, you are taking back control.
Your brain has to adjust to standing on its own two feet, using imagination and jumpstarting your creativity. You begin to generate ideas, like you want to tidy up your messy desk, or you want to bake a cake.
These ideas spark your passion and enthusiasm.
Once you have decluttered your desk, it looks inviting. So you sit down and start writing or crafting or whatever you normally do at your desk.
Doing nothing can ccontribute towards wellbeing and growth. It relieves tension.
Give yourself permission to do nothing.
You will feel so much better afterwards. Don’t feel guilty. You will have done more good by doing nothing than you think.
It may sound eccentrically New Age to you, but believe me, after initially feeling weird, I felt its benefit almost straight away.
When you repeatedly chant the same words in the ancient and magical language of Sanskrit, it becomes a mantra, which can gradually shift negative patterns in your life, depending on the meanings of the words.
So depending on what you want to manifest in your life, you choose the mantra that can help you make it happen.
What I love about chanting is that you don’t need to sit still or in a certain position; at the retreat, we walked in a circle on a meadow and around a fireplace (nobody else saw us :))
For example, you can chant whilst having a relaxing bath, go for a walk, or you can of course choose the traditional meditation position.
How many times should you chant the mantra?
The magical number is 108. The best way to count correctly during chanting is by using Mala prayer beads. One bead for a complete mantra, until the circle is completed.
If 108 times sounds too much for you at first, you can also shorten your chant down to 27 or 54 times.
These numbers are important and in Buddhist and Sanskrit teachings they have magical powers.
The Number 108 divided by 4 equals 27. A Mala bead necklace is divided into four sections of 27 beads.
Do you need to have a good singing voice to chant?
No. You can simply recite the words repeatedly at a steady and regular pace.
Now that you know the basics, here are four chants I use:
1. Ham Sa
Pronounced: Hahhm Sahh
Meaning: I am That
This very basic mantra helps you ground yourself and focus on your breathing: Ham (inhale) Sa (exhale).
It is said to be a mantra for the heart; it helps you relax and centre. After chanting a round of Ham Sa, you may feel calm yet more energised.
2. Om Namah Shivaya
I discovered this chant in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love. I love the sound when I chant it; its vibration resonates with me deeply.
Pronounced: Aum nah-mah shi-vay
Meaning: I bow to Shiva.
The Hindu God Shiva symbolises the inner self, so by chanting this mantra, you honour the divinity within yourself, and it is said to promote self-worth and confidence.
A spiritual healing mantra, it is made up of five syllables, which represent the five elements earth, air, fire, water and ether.
3. Om Kleem Shreem Brzee
This is an ancient Sanskrit mantra for bringing love and abundance into your life.
It is often recommended for attracting money or new romantic love, but abundance doesn’t always relate to financial wealth, and love can also relate to friendships, connectedness and a loving support network.
Pronounced: check out this YouTube clip, and if you like, sing along to get into the groove 😉
Om – universal sound of creation Kleem – sound for spiritual development, love and devotion Shreem – sound for the divine feminine associated with abundance and prosperity Brzee – sound for removing scarcity from consciousness
Put these four sounds together, and you create an open mind and receptiveness to let love and abundance into your life by removing inner blocks and obstacles surrounding you.
You can shorten this mantra two-ways to make it more specific:
1. Om Shreem Brzee – to attract abundance and prosperity 2. Om Kleem Brzee – to attract friendships and relationships
4. Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung
A universal healing mantra, which consists of the sounds of the four universal energies
Ra – sun Ma – moon Da – earth Sa ( repeated) – infinity
together with Say So Hung, meaning I am Thou.
This mantra is said to build bodily resistance to disease and can have a healing effect on the body. Its sound stimulates flow and circulation of prana (life force) through the body.
Chant it steadily, inhaling Ra Ma Da Sa and exhaling Sa Say So Hung. Linger a little on the sound ‘ng‘ in Hung as it is said to stimulate divine glands.
Notice this chant has eight syllables – the number of rebirth.
If you are a novice to chanting, then you may find the above mantras easy to pronounce and remember.
With regular practice you will notice their calming effect and power to help you focus your mind on manifesting your desires.
For more information, you can search online for chanting meditation for beginners, or google the above mantras.
There is a wealth of information freely available including viewpoints on how to chant “correctly”.
Remember to keep it simple at first before you delve deeper. One step at a time.
Let me know how you get on, and if chanting is already part of your spiritual practice, please share your tips and favourite mantras in the comment box below.