My weekend was much like many, filled with chores and errands, demands and obligations. On Saturday my husband and I cleaned up our yard (again!) and did some major organizing as well as other chores. At the end of the day my mind was swirling and my body was aching. After a dinner of take out my sister called me, clearly upset. She had just heard the news that one of her second grade students had died in a tragic accident. It is amazing how our brains can so quickly shift from the worries of the day to day to the sense that life is so precious. I worked to calm my sister by asking her to feel her feet on the floor, to feel her hand holding the phone. She was completely grief stricken and overwhelmed. I also gave my sister permission to grieve, to set aside her worries about how she will manage in school on Monday, seeing that empty desk and supporting her students.
A mindfulness technique that came to mind when speaking with my sister was the overwhelm formula. It involves getting grounded in your environment and giving yourself a break from the thoughts. The practice is identifying three things you can see, three things you can hear, and three things you can touch and feel. Go slow, and rather than just stating objects notice the experience rather than the idea, use describing words. For example, if you see a flower, note that you see something yellow and green, if you hear a truck, note that you hear a rumbling sound. Repeat the exercise until you feel more settled, you can do this silently or out loud.
Wishing you a settled heart and strength in difficulty.