What to do When You're Overwhelmed
Updated: Jan 29, 2020
We rush around in this world with things to do and people to please. It’s an endless game of staying active and avoiding boredom. Being busy is highly-regarded by society in order to keep us producing. Due to technology, our minds and bodies are inundated with information at a rapid pace. Immediate gratification is our norm. We avoid boredom like the plague. In fact, we use the words “rest” and “nap” and “bored” with aversion.
Is it even a question that most of us feel overwhelmed?
All of this action, all of this running about and staying busy is keeping us away from ourselves. Being constantly engaged with external activities has shaped us to be people who look externally for engagement, answers to questions, validation, etc. We live too much in "doing" mode rather than "being" mode.
While so much of this may feel out of our control - it's not. We have the power to change our personal reaction to the demand of being busy and productive all of the time. And you don't have to move to a remote, tropical island to do it.
Simply, still your body and focus on your breath. If it helps you, inhale for a count of five, pause, and exhale for a count of five. Breathe down into your belly. Keep your attention with your breathe for as long as you need.
2. Tune in to your body
Focus on your senses. Take notice of what you can see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. Spend some time sitting with your sensations.
3. Separate from your thoughts
We are not our thoughts. Thoughts and feelings are things that we experience. Overwhelm is not an exception. Overwhelm is not our state - it is merely an experience. Disconnect from your feeling of overwhelm by noticing it as a third party. I like the analogy that Michael Singer uses in The Untethered Soul - watch your emotions like they are on stage and you are an audience member.
4. Move your body
Move your body to get out of your head and into your body. Let your amazing hormones work for you! Even if you only have five minutes, stretch, do some jumping jacks, or take a walk around your office.
5. Get outside
Nature is in no hurry. You don't have to be, either. Plus, fresh air and vitamin D does the body good.
Take a few moments to assess what really matters to you. Prioritize and create a manageable plan. Get rid of what you don't need. Write it out so that it is visibly in front of you.
7. Let it out
Sometimes it feels good to purge your feeling of overwhelm onto paper, into a voice recorder, or to a friend. When overwhelm is circulating around in your mind, all it does is create more overwhelm! Free it by letting it go.
Want help managing overwhelm?
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