Feeling overwhelmed is a sure-shot symptom of stress, which affects nearly one-third of the population on earth. Overwhelming is caused by the sense that your stress someway overshadows your coping abilities. When experiencing being overwhelmed, you may feel like you have too many tasks at hand, not enough time to complete them, or are completely drained of energy. That is high time to apply some Strategies to Manage Overwhelming Feelings.
If you are overwhelmed, you may experience other negative emotions simultaneously, like anxiety, petulance, anger, or depression. Luckily, you can take steps to manage feeling overwhelmed, like changing your thoughts & habits, engaging in various stress-relieving activities, & speaking to a friend.
Strategies to Manage Overwhelming Feelings
1. Identify What is Causing You to Feel Overwhelmed
First, try to identify the source of what is causing the overwhelm. Think about what areas of your life are contributing to your stress. Are you feeling overwhelmed at work, home, college, or in your relationships? Now, consider what is particularly causing you to feel overwhelmed in those areas of your life. Note down the causes so you can have a clear idea of your triggers.
2. Accept Your Feelings
One of the best Strategies to Manage Overwhelming Feelings is to accept your feelings. Neglecting or denying your overwhelm likely isn’t helpful. It will just bubble under the surface until you are left with no choice but to face & deal with it.
Instead, admit the fact that you are feeling overwhelmed, & accept any negative thoughts dealing in your mind. Try not to judge yourself for what you are feeling. This nonjudgmental recognition also helps diminish feelings of shame or guilt connected with stress.
3. Clean Up Your Surroundings
The expression “outer order, inner calm” is accepted for a reason. When you feel overwhelmed, cleaning the area around you reinstates order to a little corner of your universe & helps you to move forward.
It is not implied to clean up your entire office. Restrict yourself to things that are nearby. File loose papers, put caps on your pens, and wipe away dust or dirt. The consequential order will help you feel like you have accomplished something & help you to focus on the task at hand, not the mess around you. Moreover, this activity will help you divert your mind from the triggers of feeling overwhelmed.
4. Reconnect to The Inner Wisdom of Your Body
You must have heard when emotions are high, intelligence is low. So, when you feel overwhelmed, don’t try to think your way out.
Use your nervous system & the mind-body connection as your armor. Start to track your body. Describe quietly the sensations you feel: I am feeling heaviness, tightness, and throbbing in my stomach. Do these sensations move, or are they static? Follow where the sensations are telling you while breathing into these places. Find out the areas of your body that you can resort to that feel more neutral or gratifying.
As you reconnect with your body, you may find that any negative feelings like overwhelming may have decreased. What seemed like a disastrous or life-threatening moment is now just a calmer space in time. You have now adjusted your nervous system to a more synchronized state & can now enthusiastically use your rational thinking to help you to manage the overwhelm. You have more transparency to prioritize what matters most & take steps toward accomplishing tasks at hand.
5. Defeat Your Impulses
Working on something you don’t enjoy makes it easy to get diverted by every little thing. You have a song stuck in your head and are urged to find it on the internet. You remember you planned for a good dinner tonight & find yourself scrolling through recipes hours before a vital work deadline.
But instead of following each little impulse, which can throw you into a whirlpool of procrastination, keep a notebook next to you & write down your impulses as you have them.
Accepting the thought, even if you don’t run behind it on the impulse to find the answer, can be enough to conquer it. If you feel extra confident, think about it instead of writing it down. Sometimes just admitting the impulse is enough to make it go away.
6. Practice Meditation
Meditation engages focusing your attention on something particular, such as your breath, sounds, or sensations of your body. It can help you to become more aware & less imprudent. Several studies have also found that regular meditation helps reduce stress, anxiety, & depression.
If you are a novice, find a tutorial for guided meditation online, use a meditation app, or talk to an instructor. As you practice, thoughts will unavoidably come up; let them pass without being judgmental.
7. Accept What You Cannot Do Or Control
You can plan, organize, & do all you want, but at some point, you will face something you can’t do or control. When you do, the only thing to do is to completely accept. Complete acceptance doesn’t mean surrendering. It means accepting ambiguity & uncontrollability without struggle or complaint & maintaining what you can do instead of dwelling on what you can’t.
When you start to drive, you completely accept that an irresponsible driver may hit you no matter how well you drive. Yet you still do it because you want to get to your destination quickly. When you can’t meet a deadline without risking your mental health, you can completely accept that you will be late & that you may disappoint some people because your well-being is more valuable.
8. Take A Break & Do Something Fun
Take your mind off of whatever is causing stress by doing something you enjoy. Watch a movie or TV show, read a book, listen to music, go for a walk, or spend time with friends or family. Doing this & remembering there is more to life than whatever is causing you stress could also give you some new perspective.
9. Consult a Therapist
If nothing works & you find yourself struggling to manage feelings of overwhelm, you may benefit from a session with a professional therapist specializing in stress management. They can help you to recognize the triggers for your stress, modify negative thinking patterns, & show healthier ways to manage your feelings.
What Causes Overwhelming?
There are so many causes of stress & overwhelm, such as:
- Professional Responsibilities
- Relationship Difficulties
- Harrowing Experiences
- Financial Uncertainties
- Political Problems
- Environmental Issues
- Health Worries
- Global Pandemic
The emotional parameter can be extra challenging for highly sensitive people living with mental health conditions, like:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety Issues
- Mood Disorders
Each person has different stress level limits, & no one handles stress alike. What overwhelms one person may not bother another. But there are specific Strategies to Manage Overwhelming Feelings that everyone can try to decrease the amount of overwhelm experienced daily & in every stressful moment.