How to overcome overwhelm that works for all!
What is overwhelm?
Overcome overwhelm with these simple strategies that work for everyone. People from all walks of life experience overwhelm from time to time.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary: The definition of overwhelm: is (1) UPSET, OVERTHROW. (2) to cover over completely: SUBMERGE. (3) to overcome by a superior force of numbers. (4) to overpower in thought or feeling.
Emotional overload happens when the strength of your feelings exceeds your ability to handle them. It may be tough to pinpoint exactly why you are feeling overwhelmed.
Did you know?
Interestingly, the introduction of overwhelm to the English language was a bit redundant. The word, which originally meant “to overturn or upset,” was formed in Middle English by combining the prefix over- with the verb whelmen, which also meant “to overturn. In my opinion, overwhelm is a more fitting word for describing the experience of feeling overwhelmed or engulfed by powerful feelings or forces.
Overcome overwhelm – What causes overwhelm?
Do you find yourself overwhelmed by all the things you need to do? Being overwhelmed and stressed by too many demands can be caused by a busy lifestyle.
Sometimes, working, caring for your family, and meeting other obligations can become overwhelming. While feeling overburdened, working even harder to correct the situation seems unreasonable.
Keep in mind that you have faced overwhelming situations in the past and made it through. Eventually, things will improve.
Every day, we rush from one task to another at work and home, then collapse into bed at midnight, exhausted.
Society has changed drastically
Compared to the days of our parents, society has significantly changed. Speed is the addiction of the world today. Having a busy life is seen as a status symbol. We work long hours to keep up with the Joneses (neighbours) while caring for our children and ageing parents. We ignore ourselves and our needs because we are so busy focusing on other things. Every day seems filled with nothing but grabbing food on the go and snatching a few hours of sleep before starting it all over again.
What are the signs of being overwhelmed?
According to Dr Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University.
Here are some of the signs that indicate overwhelm.
- Irrational thoughts: You might find it challenging to think clearly, which can exaggerate the issue and your confidence in your ability to solve it.
- Paralysis: A freeze response may occur, causing you to feel incapacitated and unable to operate effectively. Even the simplest of tasks seem impossible. As a result, you might find yourself procrastinating or avoiding stressful jobs.
- Disproportionate reactions: Minor stressors may cause you to overreact. For example, if you can’t find your keys, you could experience distress or panic.
- Withdrawal: You may even begin to isolate yourself from friends and family. In addition, you may believe they cannot support you or empathise with your situation.
- Pessimism: You may feel powerless and hopeless concerning the situation and feelings you are experiencing.
- Mood changes: It is possible for you to be experiencing anger, irritability, anxiety, and crying easily.
- Cognitive fatigue: You may be perplexed and find it difficult to focus, make decisions, or solve problems.
- Physical symptoms: Physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, trouble breathing, light-headedness, exhaustion, migraines, cramps, an upset stomach, or other aches and pains are possible.
What happens to the brain when overwhelmed?
According to Dr Romanoff, a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might predispose a person to feel overwhelmed.
The cognitive impact of continually being overwhelmed can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating or thinking logically to a racing mind or impaired problem-solving ability.
We commonly act based on irrational thoughts and fears when we’re overwhelmed rather than logically. For example, sometimes, people worry about their reputation if they’ve just broken up with someone or about being alone if they’re single.
Identifying and articulating illogical assumptions can assist you in seeing that they do not necessarily hold once examined logically. It may be beneficial for you to record them in a journal or speak them out loud with a trusted friend.
We can also become cognitively fatigued by overexertion, leading to distractions and slower thinking. As a result of these effects, we can become less effective and feel more overwhelmed.
How do I stop getting overwhelmed?
Overcome overwhelm and stress with these key strategies:
1. Take a deep breath. Feeling overwhelmed tends to lead to a rapid decline in your performance. Let your brain slow down by relaxing and taking a deep breath. Imagine what your surroundings are like and describe them to yourself. As a result, your mind will be able to disengage from your stressors and return to reality.
2. Focus on what you can do. To overcome overwhelm, understand that there are things you can and can’t control. Also, keep your focus on those things within your control.
3. Let go of those things that are out of your control. If you cannot do anything about the situation, there’s no reason to think about it and become more agitated. Moreover, to overcome overwhelm, learn to let go of circumstances you can’t influence.
4. Focus on solutions. It is common for us to focus on the problem and imagine negative outcomes. The result is a decrease in your capabilities and an increase in stress. Instead, put your brain to work to find a suitable solution.
* Think of ways to reduce or eliminate your stress. Write down your ideas.
Question your judgement
5. Avoid making assumptions. Are things as stressful as you think they are? Is it possible that you’ve misinterpreted the facts or made poor assumptions? First, you gather all the facts before concluding if the situation is overwhelming. In addition, before panicking, make sure your facts are verified.
6. Give yourself a change of scenery. Another way to overcome overwhelm is to get out of the house or the office for a few hours. Your environment affects your perspective. In addition, try and spend some time in nature if possible.
7. Spend time with a friend. Go out for pizza and a movie with a good friend. Rely on those in your social circle for advice, comfort, and a quick distraction. Furthermore, which of your friends is the best at making you feel better?
8. Take part in a relaxing activity. What relaxes you? Maybe you enjoy lying on the couch with your headphones? Perhaps you like running or getting a massage? Spend an hour or two decompressing, and you’ll feel better.
9. Cut down on your obligations. Maybe you’re trying to do too much at one time. Therefore, consider limiting the number of activities you participate in. For example, are you taking on too many responsibilities at work?
* Consider your most substantial obligations and get rid of the rest.
10. Remember a time when you’ve been overwhelmed in the past? You survived! You might even laugh today about how stressed you were back then. Hindsight is 20-20. Consider that you’re likely to feel the same way in the future regarding your current situation.
To overcome overwhelm, slow your mind and take a deep breath. Try to maintain an objective perspective. It’s easy for you to allow your thoughts to carry you away! Take a timeout and make a list of the items you can control. Then, search for solutions that address those items.
Let go of those unimportant situations, especially items you can’t control. Rely on friends and family to help you cope since you’d do the same for them.