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Life 101: Is there too much chaos in your life?

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By Linda Arnold EBS CONTRIBUTOR

Do you feel like your life is on autopilot, spinning out of control?

Juggling all those demands on your platter along with information overload in our warp-speed society can make you feel like you’re a pinball machine on tilt. On the other end of the spectrum, it could be that constant chatter of the inner critic in your head that’s sapping your energy.

When you have too much going on, your circuits can get overloaded. Just like your smartphone and computer, you need to unplug, reboot and recharge. If not, you’ll start to forget things, lose sleep and feel like you’re treading water just to keep up the frenzied pace.

Here’s a tip: Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. Until you deal with the inner chaos, you won’t be able to change your external environment.

I’ve noticed some of these signs lately and I’m stopping to pay attention. I always know I’m headed for a crash and burn when I get overscheduled by booking too many speaking engagements, overcommitting to projects or experiencing back-to-back travel assignments.

How many of you have started your day with the intention of accomplishing everything on your to-do list, either at work or at home, and then something comes out of left field to derail you? Of course, we all need to stay open to spontaneity in our lives, although I often like to plan mine.

When I feel like I’m going on tilt, that’s when I reach for my own version of vitamin B: bandwidth. I stop to examine what, if anything, could be rescheduled. Often, I find I’m the one putting the most pressure on myself. Sound familiar?

I have my emergency self-care toolkit to provide some quick balance while I work on longer-term issues. My go-to cure is a hot bath. Twenty minutes of soaking works wonders. Comfort food helps, too, as well as connections with soul friends.

Lots of times it doesn’t take that much. Our souls can become so starved that tossing a few crumbs at self-care is all it takes to push our reset buttons. My bandwidth checklist includes a quick scan for major culprits leading me astray.

Recently when I hit that wall, I made a mental note to redouble my efforts in the following arenas: Limit the scheduling of back-to-back commitments, allow for extra travel time to meetings, assess other ways to get tasks done, evaluate whether every task really needs to get done, and build in time to restore my soul by reading inspirational articles, watching movies and taking time for reflection, meditation and walks in nature (my dog, Chloe, sees to it that I have plenty of time for that last item).

The stronger your foundation, the better you’re able to handle the curve balls that get thrown at you. It’s not just your physical forces that contribute to a strong immune system. Your emotional health needs bolstering as well, especially when you work yourself into a frenzy.

When you’re too close to a situation and can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, you’ve likely become more of a “human doing,” rather than a human being. Bandwidth and balance can help restore your soul, as well as your mind, body and spirit.

Reboot, recharge and remember, “this, too, shall pass.”

Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing corporation. Reader comments are welcome at linda@lindaarnold.org. For information on her books, visit lindaarnold.org or amazon.com.

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