Compassion and care are loving emotions that bring about positive feelings for you and the person you care for.
Something as seemingly small as a kind word, a door being held open, or a smile provides regenerative energy for the giver and receiver. Loving care is a kind and healing emotion for both parties.
Sometimes though this can slip into overcare.
“I need to stop caring so much” might be something you have chided yourself over or perhaps you might have told someone else that they are caring too much.
This type of care turns into worry, anxiety and stress and leaves you drained, fretful and depleted.
When you become over attached to something or someone you become out of balance. Care goes overboard and with it health and relationships are adversely affected.
Interestingly most dictionaries define care as ‘a concerned or troubled state of mind, as that arising from serious responsibility’. Perhaps anxiety is reasonable care turned awry.
Caring too much causes chronic stress and can be a perpetual cycle that is hard to stop. It could be worry over a child, a spouse, a work issue, selling a home, an aging parent.
When you find yourself moving beyond love and care into overcare it is time to stop and take a step back.
A helpful practice from the Institute of HeartMath teaches a very simple technique when these emotions are overwhelming.
Take yourself to a place where there is peace and quiet and close your eyes and begin to breath in and out slowly, focusing on your heart. Notice how you are feeling and if your breath is shallow or deep and maintain your focus on the heart area for a few moments until a feeling of peace begins to arise.
While in this relaxed and calm state with feelings flowing from the heart, rather than the head, perhaps ask yourself what would be a useful and helpful step to take, for your own health and well-being and for that of the person you care about. Let these thoughts arise naturally and perhaps write them down.
Bringing heart and mind together is a helpful tool and gives you a chance to break away from the chattering monkey in your head.
True care need not be exhausting or draining but healing and positive if practiced the right way.
Philippians 4:6-8 King James Version
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.