Advice Overload: 3 Ways to Cope

Santa Rosa therapist Patty Bechtold shares 3 ways to cope with advice overload at wiselifetherapy.com

Hello and Happy New Year! I came back to work today and couldn’t help but notice that the advice machine is in full swing as it usually is in January. Yes, advice overload has arrived, yet again.

You probably know how advice overload goes: a constant stream of advice aimed at women.

Basically, the advice is geared to telling you how you can do better: at communicating, being successful, getting organized, having your best year ever, getting in shape, eating well, making decisions, and on and on and on it goes.

Whew, it’s a lot. And this advice overload can absolutely take a toll. Think: overwhelm, anxiety, self-doubt, even depression. And even if they’re offered with the best intentions, words meant to help can actually harm and be very triggering.

Here’s what I mean: have you ever had one of those “gotcha” moments?

They tend to show up after taking in advice, either directly or indirectly. You may never have had a name for it, but you’re probably familiar with that sense of spiraling down, the knot in your stomach, that sinking sensation.

Suddenly you’ve discovered something about yourself or your life that you now perceive to be a problem.

And those experiences of advice overload build up over time.

Without being aware of it, advice overload begins to erode the quiet wisdom that has always existed within you. Your trust in that wisdom starts to fade in the midst of a world that wants to advise you. Like an eroding river bank, your contours begin to change, and it gets harder to connect with that quiet wisdom.

These days we’re just a click away from all manner of advice.

Actually, you don’t even have to seek it out to be bombarded with it. I’m certainly not immune to it; I know how hard it is to tune out the advice.

But that’s what I want for you, for all of us: to move beyond advice overload, climb to higher ground, and open up to the deeper voice within.

So here are 3 ways to cope with advice overload:

  1. Think about these five words: I don’t have to know. Repeat them often, and revisit the blog I wrote about this last summer. Carve out time for moments of blissful not knowing during your day.
  2. Similarly, remember that you are enough and you know enough. Repeat as often as needed. Put aside the urgency of a world that tells you to be or do or know more right now. Step into your innate enoughness and claim that you get to choose your own timeline.
  3. Consider the clean slate metaphor of a new year, that this is a feeling you might want to hang on to. Often, during the holidays, our lives and homes get filled to the brim. And as fun as that may be, most of us love the sense of spaciousness we experience when all the extra stuff gets cleared out. Imagine how wonderful it could be to simply be with that for awhile, internally and externally.

Remember: you already know so much about how to live your life.

So let’s all look away from the advice and listen deeply this year. Let’s remember to trust that wise and soulful voice within.

*****