If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious in your life right now, what you might be happening is that you are out of balance with yourself. What you might be doing is making choices that are not in line with what is most important to you right now. Making these series of choices to do those things that are not in line with what is most important to you, is very likely what is causing you to feel overwhelmed, anxious and out of balance in your life.
In order to regain balance in your life and get back on track, I suggest you re-align with what is most important to you right now, at this juncture in your life, and say YES to those things, while saying NO to anything that is not your focus right now.
A quick tool that will help you bring to light and define what is most important to you (i.e. what you are choosing to say YES to right now in your life) is what I call “The Traffic Light Tool.”
I learned this tool in my experience as a child abuse prevention specialist. The tool was used to help young children define what their personal body boundaries were. Anything in the Red Light category were those parts of the body that child chose to keep solely to him or herself. Anything in the Yellow Light category were those things the child felt comfortable sharing with the people they trust the most; while anything in the Green Light category were those things they felt comfortable sharing with anyone (like a high five, for example.)
You can use this same Traffic Light Tool to become aware of what is most important to you right now. Once you know what is most important to you, you will then be more clear on what is best for you to say NO to in your life and what to say YES to. This will help you regain balance in your life as you will be making choices that are in line with what you value most right now.
Here is how you use the Traffic Light Tool:
Step 1: Take out a piece of paper and split the paper into these three categories: Red Light, Yellow Light, and Green Light.
- Start listing things into these three categories based on what is most important to you; what you are willing to compromise on given the situation; and what you are absolutely saying NO to in your life right now.
- In the Red Light category, list those things you are choosing to say YES to in your life right now. In no way do you compromise on these things.
- Put those things that you would be willing to compromise on (and say YES to), depending on the situation, in your Yellow Light category. An example of this is if you have chosen to say YES to focusing on your closest relationships and your work/career (which would be in your Red Light category), and then another value of yours (e.g. to help someone outside of your most initimate relationships who is in dire need) comes up, you may choose to say YES to this, depending on where you are at and what your situation is.
- In the Green Light category list all of those things you are choosing to say NO to at this time. These are the things that will take a back seat (or never have a seat at all) in your life right now, as you are choosing to focus on what is most important to you right now. At another time, these things might become your focus and you can then enter them in the Red Light category and choose to switch something else to this Green Light category.
(You might be wondering why I chose to categorize everything you – or I – want to say NO to in the Green Light category, as the “Green Light” in our traffic light system gives us the directive to ‘go, to move ahead and move forward.’ In this case I like to view the Green Light category as giving you the Green Light – or the permission – to say YES to you and what is most important to you, and to say NO to those things that are not your priority right now.)
Put this traffic light tool to use and let me know how it goes for you. I would love to hear your experience with it! Please be in touch in the comments, or email me directly at Jenny@unleashingu.com
Please also get in touch with any questions you might have about the tool (or anything else!)
In support and admiration,
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