By Jenny Peterson
(For an audio version of this blog, listen to episode #34 of my podcast)
Have you ever tried to eat an elephant? I mean, I love elephants, and I would never really want to eat one but lets say if you had to, would you eat it all in one bite?
Well, no that’s not possible right? You could never eat an entire elephant at one time.
So why am I asking this anyway? Well if you are overwhelmed with trying to heal, then you're most likely trying to eat an entire elephant and you have what I call DTM syndrome.
I’m really just throwing all kinds of weird things at you today. But it all has a purpose, to help you with your healing. So if you want to know how eating an elephant and what the DTM syndrome is and how they affect your healing, keep reading!
Before I got sick, I had a lot on my plate. A new business, moving, packing, getting the house ready, trying to do the basics of laundry, meals, etc. I was overwhelmed.
Just 3 years before that, my life was very similar. I had my health and wellness center, I was working way too many hours, working with clients, doing the behind the scenes work of business, staying late to place orders. I was overwhelmed.
Then fast forward to getting sick. I was going to treatment centers, eating a special diet, detoxing, taking supplements, meditating, zapping, searching google, drinking celery juice, thinking positively, acupuncture, you name it, I was doing it. But again I was overwhelmed.
You see the pattern here, right. (I can even go back into generations before me and see the pattern)
Being overwhelmed was my way of functioning. That’s why I love the quote, how you do anything is how you do everything.
If you are overwhelmed with healing, it is because it's how you do everything. You most likely get overwhelmed with other things in your life. Like making dinner, planning a vacation, shopping, etc. Or like me, before you got sick, you may also see how you functioned in an overwhelmed way. For me it was my baseline.
I don’t like labels but I can guarantee that if you are feeling overwhelmed, it's because you have D.T.M Syndrome. Doing too much syndrome. Its not a medical term, just a term that I made up.
You are doing too many things. Trying to focus on too much at one time, when really you're not focusing on anything at all.
This syndrome comes with the feelings of overwhelm and is often at the root of palpitations, thyroid conditions, and anxiety.
On a side note, overwhelm can also be best friends with overthinking. TTM, the thinking too much syndrome. Another common trait that those we work with have.
Now the underlying reasons for why people have overthinking patterns is due to a programmed response to experiences from childhood. Most likely they used overthinking as a way to stay safe, analyzed every situation so they didn’t get yelled at or tried to make their parents happy.
That's another topic, but it is something to keep in mind.
When you have DTM syndrome, it causes you to not have a clear focus. It's a behavior based on thoughts like I must do this all right now, or I have so many things to do I don’t know where to start so I’ll just start with them all.
I tell my students, it's because you want to eat the entire elephant at once, which if you try, would make you sick and be impossible. Eating the entire elephant can be your goal, but to do that you must take small bites and have a clear plan of how you're going to achieve it.
The plan can’t be, I'm just going to try everything and hope that something works. Or the more I do, the better chances I will have at healing.
When you're doing too much, you don’t know what is working. There is a lack of focus, it is exhausting and overwhelming.
While you may be doing too much in many areas of your life, I want to focus on it specifically in your healing.
When students first come to the MBR program, they have tried everything, given up on majority of things, but are still doing too much. They have a long list of supplements they are taking, they are detoxing, eating a special diet, and maybe doing specific treatments.
To qualify for my program, you have to be willing to eliminate these things. Now obviously if there is something you are taking that is a prescription or is required for you to live, you need to stay on those. But everything else must go. Because, honestly, if they worked, you would be better.
Why can’t a person stay on those and do the work that I teach? Because I have a proven system that works. We focus on one thing, the subconscious mind. If you are doing all these things and my program, you are sabotaging your success and interrupting the natural healing process your body already knows how to do. You're dividing your energy into too many places, really never being able to focus 100% on one thing.
What’s even bigger underneath this, is doing all these things indicates that you don’t trust your body. That you have to give it something and tell it how to do its job. It's already programmed how to do it. You just need to let it be and keep your head in the right lane so it can do its job.
Here is what is happening in the body when you are doing too much (all the pills, protocols, etc).
Your body is naturally moving into the healing phase. This means that you get symptoms and are going to feel like poo. Its when you feel like poo that you say, I have to get stricter with what I’m eating, maybe do a detox, and take this pill to support my liver, drink this juice, etc..
Your body goes, hold up, I was in the middle of a healing phase here and now you're telling me I need to do what? And this message of fear that I am getting from you, the command center, is telling me that something is chasing me. I’m going to put healing on hold and activate the sympathetic nervous system now.
The healing phase stops and the vicious cycle continues. Doing too much interrupts your healing and causes overwhelm on a mental level.
Thoughts create feelings and those feelings create some type of behavior. If you feel overwhelmed, what are you telling yourself?
I have to get better in the next month. I have all these things to do and not enough time. These thoughts cause you to do all the things. Often you're doing so much that you can’t fully be present with all that you are doing or put 100% effort into each of them.
So how do you change it? Shift the meaning and get focused on one goal.
If your goal is to heal your chronic symptoms. What does that look like? If the diets, detoxing and supplements haven’t worked, then you need to shift your focus. Hopefully to the subconscious mind.
If you say, I don’t even know what it looks like, then it's about asking yourself what it doesn’t look like first. What things have you tried that haven’t worked? What’s left after that? Maybe you didn’t give some things enough time.
Mind body work, the real deep work that I teach, not the surface level work, requires a good length of time to show changes in your body, especially if you have multiple chronic symptoms, like at least 6 months. If you haven’t given it enough time, or you didn’t work with someone to guide you, then that could be why it hasn’t worked.
Whatever your goal is, the elephant, what is the first and only step you need to do right now? The first bite you need to take. I might be a little bias, but I would say reading this blog would be a good first step. Regardless of what your goal is though, you need to just pick one place to start.
Once you have a clear focus, then you can shift the meaning you are giving to your situation.
Instead of telling yourself, I need/want to get better in the next 3 months, tell yourself, my body will take as long as it needs to heal.
I need/want to get better in the next 3 months, doesn’t feel good, right? There is an urgency and force behind it which causes overwhelm. When you say, my body will take as long as it needs to heal, there isn’t urgency, there is trust.
When MBR students get overwhelmed while in the program, which sometimes happens, it is not because of the program, it is because of what they are telling themselves and honestly, an old subconscious pattern.
They are familiar with trying to eat the entire elephant at one time. So when they feel this way, we will ask, what is underneath that overwhelm? They might say, well I took a look at my project sheet and there were so many things on there that I need to do, I just feel overwhelmed with trying to get it done on time or where to start.
Another big one is when they are half way through the program and say, I should be 50% better by now. Should I be doing more, am I doing something wrong? That creates overwhelm.
Behind overwhelm will always be this feeling of force. We cause our own overwhelm with our thoughts, expectations, and the meaning we give to situations. All of these fall under the Doing too much syndrome.
When students feel this way for example about homework, we remind them that completing the sheet is the goal. But we don’t need to do that all right now. We just need to pick one thing (one bite) from the sheet to start with and set aside time daily to complete one area of the sheet. By the end of the project, the due date, you will then have it all done.
Small bites will help you reach your goal in a healthy way.
We need to shift the meaning to how you're viewing this worksheet from I need to get this all done right now or I don’t know where to start to I just need to take one action right now.
When the mind believes thoughts like these the natural consequence is to feel overwhelmed. Another way to say it is the mind gave meaning to events in the moment and these meanings caused the feelings.
One of the main reasons people are so drawn to my program is because it's all laid out for you, which takes out the overwhelm. In fact, everything that is assigned is designed to help shift old subconscious patterns. Even down to the design of the worksheets. If a person comes in that has a tendency to get overwhelmed easily, then by doing those sheets in the manner that we instruct, it will help them approach other situations in their life the same way rather than in their old reaction.
Shifting old patterns connected to the doing too much syndrome takes time and is going to be uncomfortable. But that discomfort isn’t going to last forever, only a few minutes most likely until you finish that one step and then afterwards it will feel so good.
I know for me when I stopped doing all the things and just focused on my mind, I felt uncomfortable. For years I ate certain food, went to the cabinet each morning, noon and dinner to take my supplements, and was doing some type of cleanse on a regular basis. I owned a wellness center with thousands of supplements, and specialty foods, this was my life for years.
While it was uncomfortable at first, it also was so freeing. A weight was taken off. I only had to focus on one thing. That was so much easier.
I had a goal of cleaning up all my old subconscious patterns so my body could finally relax and heal. Nothing outside of me or that I took was going to do that for me. So to me, it made complete sense and felt amazing to let go of doing all those things.
Now, after I discovered a lot of my patterns, it would have been easy to get caught up in the “doing too much” syndrome again. I could have made a list of all the subconscious patterns I found and then went to town, working on them. Saying the faster I work on these, the faster I get better. But by this time, I had learned that doing too much isn’t helpful. So I just took it day by day, one bite at a time, until I eventually ate that entire elephant.
I no longer have the DTM syndrome, panic attacks, thyroid issues or palpitations which were all back to feeling overwhelmed. Having a business, really tests those old ways of thinking and reacting. There is always something to do or that you think you could be doing more of. But I have learned to stay focused on my goal ( the elephant) and take one bite at a time. I’m human, I can only do so much.
If I remain focused on my one goal, I can easily say no to other distractions.
More is not better. We have been programmed to think that multitasking is productive and it is really not. We think that more remedies and doing all the stuff is necessary to heal and if we do it all at once it will “fix” us faster. It really doesn’t. Pick one thing. Stay focused on that one thing, shift out of the Doing too much syndrome.
You're overwhelmed because you're doing too much, lacking focus and don’t have a plan that will guide you to reach your goal with simple everyday action.
The doing too much syndrome is affecting your healing. Your body can’t even focus because there are too many things coming at it, telling it what to do, taking away any opportunities for healing to complete. Our poor bodies, they really are doing the best they can based on all that we are throwing at it.
Healing is very simple but yet we have made it so complicated.
If you are overwhelmed, stop doing all the things. Just focus on one thing, even if that's just learning about something new right now. Thats a step.
Every time your brain wants to distract you with doing another thing, remind it, you are in charge.
It is going to be tempting because it's a familiar pattern to do more things, it feels safe to do that. But take the time to pause, recognize its an old pattern and choose a new response. Thats how you shift old subconscious patterns.
We get it, you're desperate to have your illness be a thing of the past, not something that defines your days. But trying to heal WITHOUT a custom plan is costing you precious time, money and energy!
You are unique, your symptoms are connected to very specific patterns within your subconscious.
Without a plan unique to you, you will continue struggling and miss out on the life you deserve to be living! To help you get started on your long-lasting healing journey, we would love to provide you with a healing plan that is unique to you. Get your custom healing plan today!
You can also Download my free healing guide, “Why Can’t I Heal” where you will learn the 5 reasons that you haven't healed despite everything you've tried. These are the missing pieces to your healing and the key to resolving your symptoms for good.
Jenny Peterson is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Rewire (MBR). She teaches those that are overwhelmed with trying to heal chronic symptoms how to simplify their healing by focusing on just one place, the subconscious mind. Learn more about MBR here.