When Life Spins Out of Control

May 13, 2013 0 Comments

When life spins out of control, Richard Paul Evans quote, The faster our lives spin, the more things tend to fly apart.

When I was in graduate school I started having recurrent dreams about tornadoes. In the first couple I was standing outside and would look up and see the distinctive form of a funnel cloud off in the distance, far enough away that it wasn’t threatening. Eventually the dreams escalated to the point that in one I was huddled under a bush, desperately clinging to a little girl, and watched as she was ripped from my arms by the force of the wind.

The tornado dreams terrified me. They also acted as a sure sign that my life was out of control — too busy or unorganized or out of balance in one way or another. A tornado dream served as my signal to slow down, take a deep breath and reevaluate my current affairs.

Thankfully the weather in my dreams has been calm for the past few years. Not that my life hasn’t felt like it is swirling and spinning out of control on way more than one occasion. Despite the fact that my life is now busier than ever before, the tornados have stayed away from my dreams.

Why have the tornado dreams stayed away?

What I figure is this — I have gotten to the point that I know myself so well that I don’t let things get to the point where the clouds start spinning in my sleep. I have tools at my disposal that I can use when I feel things ramping up — when my stress level is increasing, when my schedule is filling up to the brim, when I feel like there is no possible way that I can get everything done that I need to in the mere 24 hours I have every day.

I recognize the signs of overwhelm earlier. And I take action.

Some of the signs that I recognize when life is starting to spin are a tight feeling in my chest, a calendar that has no space, a task sheet that is growing faster than I can check things off, and an underlying suspicion that I’m forgetting something. These are my overwhelm signals.

Because I know the signals I can utilize my tools sooner, thus keeping the tornados away. My tools include things like:


  • taking a little extra time to simply breathe. Five full, deep breathes are incredibly powerful for refocusing and reenergizing, as well as bringing a sense of peace and calm to my current situation.
  • remembering the little things that keep me on track, and force myself to do them even though it feels like there isn’t time. These are things like making my bed, creating a meal plan (even if the plan includes a little more take-out than a typical week), drinking lots of water, organizing my tasks and responsibilities for the week, and including some mindfulness practice like yoga and/or meditation.
  • calling on people around me for help.
  • eliminating a few of the non-essentials.


It’s all too easy to feel like life is spinning out of control, especially this time of year. But, you don’t have to let things fly apart.


How do you recognize the signs that your life is threatening to spin too fast? What are some of the things you do so that things don’t fly apart? Leave your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear.



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