Can you define the term overwhelming? When you’re going through emotions that are too strong to handle at the moment, you’re overwhelmed. That can happen when a mother sees her child for the first time. Although she thought she was ready for that moment, the emotions catch her by surprise. She starts crying, and that’s the good kind of overwhelmed.
Happy emotions are not the only cause of this state of being. Too much information or pressure to handle a challenging task can also overwhelm us. That mother may go through postpartum depression if the change of lifestyle and huge responsibility overwhelm her. That’s the kind of overwhelmed we need to fight.
The good kind? We just enjoy the moment and start being responsible once it goes away. The bad kind of overwhelmed, though, can last forever if we don’t fight it. It leads us to procrastination and lack of action. It just puts us in a vicious circle: we know we need to change something, but we’re not doing anything about it.
We need mental and emotional strength to go through these moments of our lives. Let’s learn how we can build that kind of immune system.
Understand Where It’s Coming From
The first step towards progress is recognizing the source of anxiety and stress. Each individual can get overwhelmed by different things. In general, there are several causes of emotional overwhelm:
- Anxiety or other underlying mental health conditions
- Toxic relationships or temporary problems in a healthy relationship
- Professional responsibilities
- Family issues
- Too many tasks to complete and too little time on your hands
- Important life changes, such as having a baby or moving to another city
- Financial hardships
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’re not completely aware of the cause, the feeling is difficult to fight. Take a deep breath. Ask yourself: what’s causing this? Just recognize the reason. Why are you so worried about that? More importantly – what can you do about it? Everything starts with recognition.
Change Your Thoughts
Do you know what overwhelms you? Your thoughts! Mario Roberts, shares an interesting observation:
“When a PhD candidate gets to the point of completing a dissertation, they are absolutely overwhelmed,” – he says. “They knew this was coming and they knew it was going to be a challenging project. Still, the pressure gets unbearable if they start thinking ‘This is too much. I’m never going to make it.’ After that initial point of being overwhelmed, some of these candidates get to a positive mindset. ‘I’ll just tackle small bits of it day by day. If I get stuck, I’ll get help. I’ve come too far to quit now. It’s gonna be just fine.’ Do you notice the difference? The positive mindset changes your approach.”
It will take a lot of effort for you to change your thinking patterns. However, remind yourself that you’re the one in control of your thoughts. Don’t let them control you. Just imagine that everything will be okay. You’ll find the strength to fight this state. Meditate on it. Believe it!
Don’t Be a Perfectionist
You set high limits for yourself? You expect to do everything perfectly? That’s the approach that inevitably leads to being overwhelmed. Talk with that mental voice in your head that tells you things have to be perfect. Discuss that point of view with yourself. You’ll come down to the conclusion that no, not everything can be perfect. It doesn’t have to be.
Sometimes “good enough” is good enough. Whether we’re talking about being a parent, writing an important project or achieving professional success, give credits to all small wins you achieve. Don’t spoil the fun with heavy expectations.
It’s time for the universal tip that works for every problem we face: practice mindfulness. Focus your attention on the present moment and accept it without judging it. Don’t try to change your state of mind; just observe it and be aware of it. This approach will lead to better quality of life and higher self-esteem.
It sounds too simple to be true, but the practice works because it puts you in control of your thoughts and emotions. When you’re not judging your thoughts and feelings, you’re allowing them to go through you without leaving deep traces in your subconsciousness. That’s how you build immunity against overwhelming sensations. You learn how to observe them without suffocating emotions. You’re letting those overwhelming thoughts and feelings to go through you without overwhelming you. No matter how crazy it sounds, it makes sense, doesn’t it?
It’s time to stand up to our inner critic. It’s time to take the control over our mental and emotional state of being. That’s the only way to go towards our goals without letting overwhelming moments to stop us from achieving what we’re after.