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Tara Stiles

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5 Tips on Avoiding a Nervous Breakdown

Posted: 04/17/10 08:00 AM ET

Over-extended? Can't seem to catch up? Always tired? Deadlines past and deadlines approaching? Endless list of things to catch up on? Left your macbook at security at JFK?

Ok that last one applies to me. I'm blogging from my hotel lobby in LA right now on the complimentary macbook next to the complimentary coffee. It's true, the universe does provide! You just have to keep your eyes open and let it.

I do all this yoga to save myself from going completely bonkers. My instincts led me to meditate in the woods when I was a kid. I would emerge at sunset and announce to my family that we are all connected beings. I would watch the grass grow and dance with trees and realize that I was a necessary part of the inter-workings of the world. I daydreamed about my potential, reveled in my unique weirdness and was in general extremely excited about being alive. I knew I had lots to do and lots of love to give. We all do, but we forget along the way.

Practicing yoga has helped me realize a deeper, grounded way of being in the world. I have learned how to communicate in a meaningful way that makes me smile, and have learned the super handy skill of efficiency. Use what you need. Rest what you don't. And when you have a full schedule and allow projects and tasks to pile on top of that, being efficient is absolutely necessary. I often feel like a fighter pilot in control of my life and one slight mistake can throw everything into a whirl. Don't worry, I'm not having a nervous break down . . . yet. But if I let things continue in a speedy way without observation, falling into a million pieces would be inevitable.

So I offer to you (and to myself!) 5 Tips on Avoiding a Nervous Breakdown.

1. Don't leave your macbook behind. Mindfulness can get muddled in exhaustion. Pay attention to each step of your day. Pay attention to how you treat strangers, friends and family with whom you interact during the day. Pay attention to what you are carrying. Pay attention to everything.

2. Don't do everything. Even if you're a seasoned professional multi-tasker, your body, mind, emotional life and growth potential can get a blow from over-committing. Take a look at what's on your plate. If you're swamped and you can surely find some space for yourself even when you feel trapped. For me it's cutting out mindless computer time. Get on, do your thing and move on.

3. Take it easy. Even when you're in the thick of everything try to find ways to relax your body and mind. Meditation has taught me to be in the present moment and observe the present moment at the same time. Just breathe, follow your breath, and your intuition can take you from there.

4. Have compassion with yourself. We didn't get a rule book for this stuff. No wonder why so many self-help 10 step pyramid programs have so many followers. We need the help! But we forget that everything we need is contained in ourselves. Try to take it easy on yourself. It's just life. It's just a day. You are a capable, loving, individual worthy of good things!

5. Stay focused. Life throws us plenty of tests. Are you going to take out your frustration on a stranger, a cab driver, a family member, a friend, or are you going to give someone a hug and recharge? We can change our circumstances no matter how stuck we feel. Open up to the universe and it will provide for you.

 
 
 

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