Written by heartmath.org
The world needs our care now more than ever, and these days there is so much to care for – a pet, work, or our family, health and the planet. But, how do we deeply care without depleting our energy? What does it really mean to have balanced care? What happens when that care turns to overcare – when we excessively worry, over-identify or have anxiety about the object of our care? Overcare is easy to fall into because of its stealthy way of making us feel that we are caring more when worry is added. This is not the case.
Increasing our genuine care provides a connection with our heart which promotes flow in our interactions along with clearer view regarding our discernment, choices and actions. However, often our most caring intentions can easily dip into amplified stress and energy drain when things we care about don’t go the way we wanted – such as health, finances, political or personal issues that trigger stress accumulation. We can learn to balance and manage our care to prevent and reduce much stress and associated health concerns.
As Doc Childre says in the book Heart Intelligence, “Overcare (imbalanced care), is a deeply imprinted human tendency that’s handed down through each generation. It’s like an energetic virus that can only be cured through conscious self-adjustment of our emotional-energy expenditures.”
Exercise – Catch and Transform Your Overcare†
Observe yourself for a few days and see how often you can catch overcare occupying your mind and feelings regarding yourself, others or issues. When you find yourself in anxiety or distress from overcare, try this exercise:
- While breathing in a relaxed pace, pretend you are breathing through your heart or chest area and imagine calming your mind and emotions with your breath. (Calm emotions help to create a space that enables intuitive access for clearer discernment and choices when evaluating situations.)
- Once you’ve calmed your mental and emotional vibrations, Identify an issue you are overcaring about then ask your heart feelings, “What would an attitude of balanced care look like in this situation?” After you decide, imagine breathing in that new replacement attitude for a few minutes to anchor it into your system.
Repeat this exercise a few times if the feeling of overcare seems amplified and determined. Approach it with ease, not force. With practice, you become more conscious of when you are overcaring and become increasingly able to take charge of your energy and make adjustments. Don’t be concerned if it doesn’t work every time. Nothing does when you are attempting to make changes in habits that are generations deep. Treat it the way golfers get better – keep swinging.
†Adapted from the Heart Intelligence Book.
A Stealthy Form of Overcare Transformed
One of the stealthiest forms of overcare is feelings of fear and anxiety. Our care about life on this planet, the political or civil unrest, our basic life itself can be tested by the times in which we live. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember to practice emotional self-regulation when triggered by fear, especially if the issue is personal and emotionally relevant to our lives. Learning to approach the fear with a combination of patience, ease and self-compassion, rather than with despair and resignation, is a must for transforming this highly-charged emotion. As Doc Childre says, “When our intuitive reasoning capacity around life’s issues becomes restricted from fear, this activates our self-security alarm to go off and creates a powerful inner distortion which we call panic, overwhelm, etc. You can reduce this by placing importance on slowing down the vibrations of your mind and emotions with your breath; this helps to reduce the charge or intensity of fear, anxiety or anger, and more.”
Another idea that many have found helpful: “Practice breathing in the feeling of calm and emotional balance while watching the news. As you breathe, see yourself maintaining care and compassion for humanity’s challenges without taking on their pain and fear. This doesn’t mean you care less.” When first responders get to the scene of accidents, they practice maintaining their care and effectiveness without over-identifying with the pain that people are experiencing. A little practice and progress will follow.
Some people with extreme over-sensitivity benefit from not watching the news, or at least going on news fast to reduce fear and worry. If we listen to our heart, it will prompt us what and when practices are appropriate for us, or not. We know how to feel compassionate care without watching news or being part of the drama and separation that is amplified across the globe at this time. Managing and balancing our personal energy while increasing our care is one of the highest contributions we can make to humanity and the planet.
Care is one of the most powerful heart qualities and life-fulfilling attitudes and emotions we can cultivate. Care is the action word that takes love to the street. Love Is. Care Does. As we all collectively increase our care, this will eventually magnetize the much needed solutions to restore balance, cooperation and compassionate interaction. Peace will then show up accordingly.
Remember that our care becomes much more effective once the overcare is managed.
keywords; care, overcare, worry