Overwhelm Doesn’t Have To Be Overwhelming
Overwhelm is not a fun emotion. It will make you want to either run, hide, or opt for spontaneous human combustion. Either way it ain’t pretty.
The experience of being overwhelmed is something we all want to avoid. Something we wish we could just sweep under the rug. Unfortunately, it is unavoidable, and will at some point or another, sneak up on all of us whether we like it or not.
So, rather than hide from it, bitch about it, or blow up at a poor unfortunate soul because they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, pull up your socks and turn that overwhelm on it’s head.
Try These Four Steps:
1. Just Breathe
As with most intense situations in life, the first step in combatting that bubbling emotion is taking a step back and—you guessed it—breathing. I personally hate when people tell me to “breathe”, but as much as I hate to admit it, it does work. Taking even one deliberate breath will automatically begin to slow your heart rate. Taking ten will create a lasting effect. So next time someone tells you to breathe, refrain from bitch slapping them and just do it.
2. Get Outta There
Now that your breathing is under control, stop whatever it is that you are doing and physically remove yourself from the situation. When you are zeroed in on a circumstance, it is easy to forget that a whole world outside of that moment exists. Not only that, but physically moving can and will remind you that there is more to life than whatever it is that has got you in the throes of overwhelm. Take a walk, listen to a podcast, go to the gym. Do something that will allow the intensity to fizzle.
3. Break It Down
Once you have cooled down a little, take a seat and consider the thing (or things) that have got you so worked up. Using a good old pen and paper, write down your sources of overwhelm. We tend to look at overwhelm as though it were one giant, invincible monster destined to reign supreme over our lives. This technique will show you that there are actually many small monster’s, which when looked at one by one, are completely conquerable. This list is your roadmap to beating overwhelm.
4. Make It A Priority
Now that you know your sources of overwhelm, prioritize them. You will likely realize that one or two items on that list are exacerbating all the others. These are now your focus – figure out a way to cross those off the list first, before you do anything else. If you are lucky, this just may cure the overwhelm. If not, then move onto the next source. This methodical approach of solving one problem at a time provides a tangible road map in a time when everything seems confusing. As each source is crossed off the list, a weight will feel like it’s shed. Revel in this new sense of lightness, you deserve it!
Now, in saying that, if you are being overwhelmed by things you know you cannot deal with, it is imperative you ask for help. Asking for help is often the hardest step to take, but it is a game changer and can figuratively and literally save your life.
So, next time you find yourself acquainted with that devilish little emotion: breathe, take a break, break it down, prioritize, and ask for help if you need it.