Ever have days where you feel like the motivation to be productive is as hard to find as Waldo?  Your couch, your dog, your cup of coffee, and your favorite book seem to have a magnetic draw that lures you in?  What is that spell? And what breaks it?

If you are someone who has ever felt the pull of your refrigerator; where what you put in your mouth almost feels like you are in a trance, then you know what it is to be an over-eater.  If you are someone who feels themselves go into ‘stand by’ mode; seemingly unable to be decisive, or to prioritize any tasks, you are likely someone who knows overwhelm.  Combined together – well, I believe this is how Netflix makes their millions!  Seriously, though, we all recognize these places within ourselves, and they can often feel like a dense fog that leaves us longing to feel like ourselves again.

It’s hard to say that the causes that bring us into this fugue state are the same for each person, but I would wager to say that it has a great deal to do with stress.  Now, each of us have a different stress barometer, and we each process said stress differently.  I’m confident that stress can come from over-doing, as well as under-doing.  Working insane hours, crushing deadlines, nailing the details – over-doing.  Avoiding returning client calls, pushing deadlines to the last minutes, lackadaisical around the edges – under-doing.  And, when we come up for air, or are snapped into reality, we can feel like we are missing our life, from both over or under-doing.  This can add to the stress of the stress we were already holding within us that had us making the over and under choices to begin with.

Are you asking yourself how under-doing is stressful?  I want you to think about someone who has been down on their luck, or has suffered a major set-back.  Perhaps the set-back was in their career, their health, their relationship – but their moving forward also involved disconnecting from their surroundings slightly so that the stress of the first set-back wasn’t stirred too strongly by a second.  Inevitably, life offers us moments of reflection, and in those moments of reflection, those choosing the low-road may catch a glimpse of what they are choosing to give-up in order to simply maintain – and I promise you, that it is indeed stressful.

If we’re being honest, we can’t say: “I’m never going to be stressed again.  I’m never going to zone out.  I’m never going to not make the best use of my time.”  It’s simply unrealistic.  But, what we can say is that when these times come, we are not going to let them simply soul-suck us like a dementor; we are at the very least going to start an investigation into what we are feeling.  We are going to name those feelings, and look to discover what has stirred them.  I’m not suggesting in that moment we are going to heal all that ails our soul, but simply that we are going to keep one pinky-toe in the bright, shiny reality we work so hard to build, so that we don’t lose ourselves in the abyss.

I remember during my health coaching program, a student was discussing how they were a binge eater, and they went on to share the details of the level of consumption they asked of their body.  The instructor asked:  What lets you know to stop binging?  Mmm, it’s kind of brilliant right, because it’s the belief in us that kicks in and brings us back down to planet us – the one where we are consciously aware of our body, our situation, and our fullness.  Bingers know – it’s not the fullness that stops you, it’s something in your mind that tells you that you can stop.  What is that?  What is that thing in you that tells you that you can let up from your current stressor and take a breath? Or allows you to fall asleep at the end of a ‘failed to respect my goals’ kind of day?

I’m not suggesting I actually know the answer; in fact, I think the answer is likely different for all of us.  What I do believe though, that is universal, is that that answer only comes when we allow ourselves to be present.  It’s when we step out of our victimization, our overwhelm, our submersion into our exaggerated story, and we breathe in the now.  We glimpse what’s real – and we consciously follow our personal solution to get us back on our path.

Knowing what helps keep you present, or bring you present, I believe is the solution to help us snap out of these obstructive detours that we take.

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