thought overload

When I’m feeling down and stressed out about the chaotic life I live, I like to take a quiet moment (which, I tell you, is a rare find in this home) and focus on what I have. It’s a simple enough exercise, but in the midst of overwhelming feelings, hard to see.

It’s a bit like talking yourself into feeling happy, reigniting you inner drive and finding the joy. Focusing on the ‘haves’ rather than the ‘have-nots’. Putting things in perspective. A pep talk to yourself.

Sounding familiar? Then read on.

When I was in high school, managing the stress of study, peer pressure, puberty and all the other fun stuff thrown at you, we were taught to write a list. Two columns with two headings: positives on one side, negatives on the other. The negatives were then broken down into two lists: two headings; things I can change and things I cannot change. The challenge was to come up with ideas for dealing with the things that could be changed and how to manage the things that could not.

A cathartic exercise and a very valuable lesson. In the end, what you have is a plan. Your own words staring back at you, showing you all the good things in your life. Outlining the bad things, the things that weigh you down and rob you of your lightness and how to get it back. What you are left with, effectively, is a self-help guide.  A mind map works equally well. A diary is also a fantastic tool to help get those feelings out and reflect upon. I still have diaries written by my fourteen year old self and now and then I get them out and have a bit of a giggle at how the issues I was facing then are now  a distant memory. I was able to share them with two friends when we met up for a reunion after 25 years. That, let me say, was an incredible experience with a backdrop of  laughter, reflection, good coffee and bakery treats.

25 years is a lot to catch up on!

Today, I try to visualise these things. When my mind is spinning and I can’t get to sleep. When I’m having a roller coaster week and I can’t get off the ride. When I feel overwhelmed,I steal my moment and tune out. I could be washing dishes and doing it, much to the frustrated cries of  ‘Mum’s not listening to me again Dad’. I’m not there. My body is automatically performing manual tasks, but my mind is elsewhere. I am thinking of how blessed I am to have healthy children. Sometimes, I just think I how lucky I am  to have children, when so many cannot. I am thinking of how lucky I am that we have food to eat, when some do not. We have laughter in this home, when so many do not. Actually, even that we have a home,  no matter its chaotic state at times, we have a home and I am thankful. Then I am dealing with all the negatives, the stress factors. I have made this choice. I have chosen to be where I am and I can find a way to manage it. Some things cannot be changed and how I deal with them, well, that is also a choice too. Strength can be mustered.


I return. Snapped out of the trance like a cold splash of water when you’re sleepy. I smile. It’s a knowing smile that is often met with looks of puzzlement from my family. Somehow, I can tackle another day.

Yep, I'm lucky alright!

What do you do?

Comments on: "The haves and the have-nots" (15)

  1. You certainly have the right idea! I love your thought processes. Hubby and I are leading a small group for our church this semester and I’m being blown away by it. The study is based on the book, The 4:8 Principle, by Tommy Newberry. The entire book is based on the bible verse Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I think you are already doing exactly that! 🙂

    • Thank you!
      I think the verse you have mentioned is absolutely spot on. I think I’m going to source that book too 🙂

  2. This is similar to what I do to relax and steer my thoughts into the right direction…Nice article!

  3. Your words are full of wisdom and an important reminder. I also try to do this when I can. What else to I do – well I read blogs like yours. Smart ladies with a glint in their eye and an ability to weave humour and wisdom together – it lifts me no end. 😉 Oh great photographs by the way.

    • Ahhhh, yes, reading blogs! How could I forget that? And icecream!!! Your blog lifts me 🙂 I am so glad you like the photographs too.

  4. Thank you so much for stopping by and liking my blog! I am absolutely thrilled to “meet” one of my blog readers!! 🙂 I’m so glad you visited, because I am loving your blog! This is so true and such a brilliant reminder of what is actually important in life and the miriad of blessings we have every day!!

    • Welcome! Yes, we do have many blessings daily, it’s just they get buried in all the clutter of life and we have to dive in and place them on top of the pile!

  5. Hey thanks for stopping by and following my blog. I do some of the same things in trying to focus on what I am grateful for. It’s hard to be negative when you’re counting off the good things in your life. I like the way you write. My wife and I run a church youth group for 13-18 year old kids. We don’t do a whole lot of talking about religion but we’re big on social justice issues and how we can all make a difference. Sorry to hear about the nasty weather down your way. Australia is someplace I’ve always wanted to visit.

    • My pleasure! Thanks for visiting too. Your youth group’s focus sounds fantastic. That age range is critical for getting positive messages across. Come on over, I just can’t tell you what you’re going to get weather wise. Here we are into Autumn and we are getting 30 degrees celcius! However, I am not complaining 🙂

  6. Great post! When I’m in a real funk, my dog, Scrappy seems to know it and does something totally goofy to make me laugh. What a dog! He’s 10. I already miss him.

    I will also listen to Buddhist podcasts to turn my day around. They focus me on awareness and perspective–two things missing when I feel overwhelmed with life.

    • Awwwww, I completely forgot about that special bond that our animals can have with us. Scrappy sounds like an awesome dog. My big boofheaded Gecko,( there’s a picture on my about page I think, and The Princess saddled him with that name)will sidle up to me and just lay his head in my lap and stare into my eyes. It’s just peaceful, cosy and…well, kinda soothing. No words. Just being.
      I like that you mentioned the podcasts -what a fabulous recharge!
      As always, so glad you visited 🙂

  7. thats why you are a good mum danni xxx

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