Five factors are necessary for long-lasting change.
• accept that we have a problem;
• want to solve the problem;
• identify a solution that works;
• implement this solution–do the work; and
• perform the necessary maintenance.
All of these factors must be in place before any long-lasting change will occur in anyone. For our self, we must honestly assess the problem and acknowledge the full repercussions it is causing in our life; then we must develop a sincere desire to change. This acceptance and “want to” are great starting points but accomplish little or nothing unless followed with proper action. We must find a solution that has been proven to solve this specific problem and do the work necessary to make that solution active in our life. And there is always maintenance; the old habits and things that caused the original problem are deeply rooted and do not simply disappear; we only acquire the new and more desirable traits with conscious, persistent practice.
These five factors also clarify why we cannot make another person change. When facing a true problem, the person with the problem must accept the reality of the problem and develop a genuine desire for change. If we recognize a problem affecting the life of a person we love, we examine our motives to see if it is really any of our business; if so, we try to objectively explain the situation and the facts as we see them but always realize that each person must find his or her own acceptance of the problem and the desire to find a solution. We cannot do it for them.
Prayer: Dear God, help me to clearly see what I must change so that I can live the life you want for me. Grant me the strength and guidance to make these changes.
1. Let it go.
Whether it’s a critical remark from someone that is gnawing at your insides or an added task that you took upon yourself and now it’s causing you to feel overwhelmed, just let it go. There are few matters that are worth losing sleep over. And there are few things that can’t wait until tomorrow. Or next week. Or even longer. Your health is more important than holding onto what is stressing you out.
If you supervise others, practice the art of delegation and allow others to share the load. Know what you do best and hand off the rest to others who can do those jobs better than you. You are only one person. Cut the drama by cutting your schedule.
2. Sleep on it.
Your mom might have told you years ago to “sleep on it” when you were faced with making a difficult decision. That’s great advice when it comes to not only important decision-making, but to anything that might overwhelm you, such as responding to an accusatory email or angry voice message, or committing to one more task that will leave you overextended.
Studies show that the brain actually processes situations more thoroughly while you sleep. That means you wake up with a fresh – and often less emotional – perspective. Sleeping on it is the breather that will help you gain perspective and cool the heat of your emotions so you don’t overcommit to something spontaneously or out of guilt.
3. Commit to the three E’s.
I call them the Essential E’s: Eat right, exercise regularly, and embrace sleep. Fueling your body with protein and nutritious food, exercising to release those feel-good endorphins (as well as keep your heart healthier), and embracing opportunities to take a power nap or get a good seven-eight hours of sleep each night will keep you feeling fresh, rather than fatigued and overwhelmed.
When you eat right, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep, you can be at the top of your game and cope so much better when the drama of life hits. When we are emotionally spent, it’s usually because we are physically and nutritionally spent as well.
4. Stay out of it.
We often start feeling overwhelmed when we’ve extended ourselves a little too far when it comes to helping others. It’s called enabling – or “rescuing” – and women are great at it. But just because something happens in your sphere of influence doesn’t mean you are the one to run to the rescue and fix it. Just because you are made aware of something doesn’t mean God is assigning it to you. Much drama – and feelings of anxiety – can be avoided when you get in the habit of running your schedule past God first. It looks like this:
2) Seek God’s guidance
3) Stay out of it unless God gives you a clear indication to step into it. We often reverse that. We think I will do this unless God stops me. If you’re already overscheduled, think this way instead: The answer is no unless God says “go.”
5. Trust God to control what you can’t.
My friend, Donna, learned recently that the more she rests and trusts, the more God goes to bat for her. She had just learned of her mother’s sudden death in a car accident and felt the pull to leave her business to travel and be with her family and help make final arrangements. But although her heart was saying You need to go, her head was saying It’s a busy month, you can’t leave… you have to be here to keep things running smoothly. In the midst of the mental battle, she listened closely for God’s voice: Trust Me. Go do what you need to do.
Donna left her business in the hands of capable people and trusted God with the rest. When she returned a month later, she discovered her business experienced its highest grossing month on record! Then when she stepped away from her business a second time – this time for two months after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis – her business experienced its best two months ever, financially. God was affirming to her, again, the principle that He can take care of more while we rest than we can while we stress!
6. Stop trying to please everyone.
I’m sure at one point you knew clearly who the priority people were in your life. But that can get fuzzy when we are trying to please too many people, which is often the case when we begin to feel overwhelmed.
So stop being a people-pleaser and realize who matter the most in your life. Who are the people who will cry the most at your funeral? Put them first. Make everyone else take a number and wait in line. In short, that’s the simplest way to live without regrets. Priority people get the first and best of your time. Everyone else will simply have to learn to wait.
7. Pray it through.
When you start to feel overwhelmed, talk to God about it. Just giving Him your concerns will help usher peace into your life and give you a little more clarity. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand…” (NLT).
You can experience that peace, not a feeling of being overwhelmed, when you pray about what is pressuring you. Praying is equivalent to taking an intermission. It quiets your soul, clears your mind, and teaches you to leave your concerns with God, who is better at taking care of them anyway.
8. Get outdoors.
There is something therapeutic about getting outdoors, breathing the fresh air, and noticing the beauty of creation (even if it’s just some trees that line the sidewalk outside your office building).
Getting out into nature reminds us that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1) and it makes us realize that the petty things of this earth that overwhelm us don’t really matter in the scope of eternity.
9. Reduce the clutter.
Do you realize that just by cleaning off your desk, getting rid of too many clothes in your closet, or clearing the kitchen counter can help you feel less overwhelmed? Everyone needs a clean, clear space to think, work and exist. Where is yours?
When there is less clutter, there are less choices to make and less time spent trying to find things that get lost in the mess. How many times have you lost your keys right as you are trying to leave the house? Keeping all belongings in a designated space will prevent this issue, and save you the frustration of misplacing important items. Simplify your work or living space. It brings peace.
10. Go off the grid.
Imagine spending a whole day (or maybe even a week!) being inaccessible – no internet, no interruptions, no demands. Just you and the quiet. Most high-level business people need this at least one or two weeks a year in order to maintain their creativity, energy, and overall sanity. But you and I can try it in smaller chunks – like for an hour or two a day – if that’s what it takes to ease your anxiety.
The world won’t stop if you do. You’ll just get the rest you need so you can perform better when you return to your desk, computer, or cellphone. Go off the grid by carving out time periods when you cannot be reached. Shut down your computer. Turn off your cellphone. Rediscover quiet and recollect your thoughts.
We often believe that we must respond to every request, every email, and every text or voice message immediately. That not only leaves us feeling overwhelmed, but it trains others to expect us to be at their beck and call. Practice the art of being inaccessible (so you can quietly reflect) and trust God that when you take the time to rest He won’t punish you for it by making you miss important opportunities.
By Cindi McMenamin
is a national speaker who helps women strengthen their walk with God and their relationships. She is the author of 15 books, including the best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on Empty, and her newest book, Drama Free, upon which this article is based. For more on her speaking ministry, books, or free articles to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Don’t let the weight of this world get you down. When you are in a hole, look up and ask for the help you need to climb out. Don’t stay stuck and wallow in self pity. Unfortunately this life is hard and we all have our struggles. Keep fighting and be thankful for the good things no matter how small. True joy comes from an attitude of gratitude. #tistheseason #speaklife #gracefortoday
Jesus loves me unconditionally. Therefore, I have not earned His love nor could I earn His love. I cannot be separated from His love.
When I obey Him, God will bless me. When I disobey Him, there will be consequences. Jesus may not like my behavior, but He always loves me.
Because I have experienced God’s love, I know that I am lovable. I know there are people who could love me too. Therefore, I am able to trust people who love me. I am confident in my worth based on the love of Jesus.
from Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer
HOPE IN THE DARK—1
WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?
WHY DOESN’T GOD SEEM FAIR?
How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? … Habakkuk 1:2-3
Habakkuk: to embrace or to wrestle.
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails … Habakkuk 1:3-4
HABAKKUK’S PROBLEMS WITH GOD
1) You don’t seem to really care.
2) You aren’t doing much when you could.
3) What you are doing, doesn’t seem fair.
“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5
“I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people … 9 they all come intent on violence …” Habakkuk 1:6-7, 9
A committed believer can both WRESTLE with honest questions and EMBRACE a genuine faith in God.
Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. 13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? Habakkuk1:12-13
“What if honestly acknowledging your doubts is your first step toward building a deeper faith? What if embracing your secret questions opens the door for a maturing knowledge of God’s character? What if drawing closer to God, developing genuine intimacy with him, requires you to bear something that feels unbearable? To hear him through an ominous utterance, to trust him in the moment of doom, to embrace his strength when you’re weak with a burden? What if it takes real pain to experience deep and abiding hope?”From Hope in the Dark
Talk It Over
Read Habakkuk 1:2-4. Describe a time when you found yourself wrestling with God.
During a time that was (or is) difficult, how did you (or do you) continue to embrace God in the middle of the trial?
Who do you have around you to pray with you and support you? How can they be praying for you right now?
I will not give up. I know I can get better; not in my strength, but through God’s strength. He is my rock and my foundation. How awesome is it that the creator of the universe loves me and cares about me more than any human can imagine. He gave me life through His son Jesus.
Jesus is my best friend. We walk together and talk together. He knows me deeper than anyone else. He knows all about my past and the worst parts of me. Yet, He still loves me and wants a relationship with me. He is there for me through every trial and I am eternally grateful. Thank you God for your unending love and grace.
Studies show that Inositol helps many Trichotillomania suffers. I find that it reduces the urge to pull, which helps with my focused pulling. The Inositol also increases my awareness, which decreases my unfocused pulling.
Leading Trichotillomania specialist Dr. Penzel’s wrote, Inositol and OCD. He recommends the following regimen to begin Inositol:
(1 teaspoon=2 grams, and be sure to use a measuring spoon) for an adult:
Week 1 – 1 teaspoon/2x per day
Week 2 – 1 teaspoon/3x per day
Week 3 – 1.5 teaspoons/3x per day
Week 4 – 2 teaspoons/3x per day
Week 5 – 2.5 teaspoons/3x per day
Week 6 – 3 teaspoons/3x per day
Following this regimen, I worked my way up and now take 18g each day. I do this by mixing 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of inositol in water 3 times a day. I have found the Jarrow brand powder (shown above) to dissolve well. It is available on amazon for reasonable price. I mix it with warm water as it dissolves better that way. You can add it to fruit juice or other sweetened drink. I simply mix the powder with ~3oz of warm water and drink plain as it has a mild sweet taste that I actually like. In addition to Inositol, l I take 1800mg of NAC, which I started several months before the Inositol. I did not see much progress with that alone, therefore I added the Inositol. If you are considering both supplements, choose one to start with, otherwise you will not know which is helping and or causing side effects.
I have taken Inositol on and off for 2 years. When I first started the recommended regimen over 6 weeks, I noticed many GI side effects. When I unexpectedly became pregnant a couple months later, I had to lower my dose because it increased my nausea. That did not help so I discontinued the Inositol until my morning sickness passed. Reassured by my OB that Inositol is safe while pregnant and breastfeeding, I slowly reintroduced the Inositol. I only took 1-2 because it aggravated epigastric pain I had while pregnant. The lower dose helped a bit, but not nearly as well as the recommended 3 TBSP. Now that I am back to 3 TBSP per day (which I take in one large dose at night to help my insomnia), I am definitely feeling the benefits. It decreases my urges and makes me more aware of pulling.
Here’s more details information I copied from the article about Inositol use for trich sufferers, written by trich specialist Fred Penzel:
“Obviously, before you run out and try anything new, you should always consult your physician. If your physician recommends trying this, you might also want to mention the following information to him or her:
- It cannot be taken together with Lithium, as it seems to block its action.
- The chief side effects of inositol are gas and diarrhea. Some people get this for the first few days and then it clears up. Many of those taking it never have this side effect, and some only get it when they take more than a particular amount.
- I have heard reports that caffeine lowers inositol levels in the body, so if you are a heavy coffee drinker, you might consider cutting down or eliminating this from your diet. Actually, stimulants such as caffeine can sometimes contribute to anxiety, jitteriness, etc.
- It should be purchased in powdered form, and taken dissolved in water or fruit juice. It has a sweet taste, and is chemically related to sugar. If it is allowed to stand for about 10 minutes after mixing it, it seems to dissolve better. Vigorous mixing for a few minutes also helps. If it still doesn’t dissolve well (not all brands do), stir it up and drink it quickly before it settles. The use of powder is recommended, as the larger doses required could require taking as many as 36, 500 mg. capsules per day.
- Inositol is a water-soluble vitamin, so although the doses appear to be large, it will not build up to toxic levels in the body. Whatever the body doesn’t use is excreted. The average person normally takes in about 1 gram of inositol each day via the food they eat. There are no reports of any harm associated with the long-term use of inositol. Some of our patients have been taking it as long as eight years now, with no problems.6. It can be built up according to the following schedule (1 teaspoon=2 grams, and be
sure to use a measuring spoon) for an adult:
- Week 1 – 1 teaspoon/2x per day
- Week 2 – 1 teaspoon/3x per day
- Week 3 – 1.5 teaspoons/3x per day
- Week 4 – 2 teaspoons/3x per day
- Week 5 – 2.5 teaspoons/3x per day
- Week 6 – 3 teaspoons/3x per day
A child can be built up to 3 teaspoons per day over the same six-week period. Dosages for adolescents can be adjusted according to weight. In either case, it is best to allow side effects to be the guide. If they begin to occur, it is not considered wise to increase the dosage unless they subside.
Once a person has reached either the maximum dosage, or the greatest amount they are able to tolerate, it is best to try staying six weeks at that level to see if there is any noticeable improvement. If there is none by the end of that time, it should probably be discontinued. As with any treatment, those who are absolutely positive that it will help are only setting themselves up, and may wind up more than disappointed. Everything works for someone, but nothing works for everyone.”