One Magic Question When You're Overwhelmed

Here's something to try the next time you're stuck in a place of overwhelm or unhappiness.

Ask yourself this simple question:

What can I do right now to make life easier for myself?

I’ve seen this question work when nothing else does.

That’s because:

  1. Usually we can quickly identify at least one thing that will make us feel better.
  2. Often it’s not complicated or difficult to do.
  3. Many times when we’re unhappy, it’s our own thoughts bringing us down. This question invites self-compassion by asking you to do something nice for yourself.
  4. It’s empowering. This question rightly places the control into your own hands over how you feel and what action you can take.

We all have moments where we get stuck in a negative head space. In times like these, this question can be an escape hatch. The answer is often calm, immediate and simple:  

Get outside for exercise today.

Call my friend – she always makes me laugh.

Let go of that thing I thought I should do tonight, but really don't want to.

Try it out.

The logic here is the same as that of pre-flight safety procedures that tell you to get your own oxygen mask in place before helping others around you.

With self-care, you're first taking care of your own needs so you can better attend to the needs of those around you.

So if you’re feeling stuck in overwhelm or unhappiness, sit quietly for a moment right now. Ask yourself:

What’s one thing I can do to make life easier for myself right now?

What will you do? Leave a comment below!

P.S. Don’t forget to say a gentle “thank you” to yourself when you’ve done this one thing!  You'll benefit even more if you take a minute to soak in how good it felt.