Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or been in a state of overwhelm. Hello, I’ve been there!
Recently, I went through some pretty overwhelming stuff — which really tuned me into the energetics of overwhelm.
We’ve all been there. Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. So the question isn’t, Are we going to get overwhelmed? But, How can we handle overwhelm so it doesn’t ruin our entire day (or even our lives)?
Let’s talk about some of the deep underlying concepts surrounding overwhelm and some tools we all have within our reach to help us move through those times.
Discovering the Origin of Overwhelm
We’re living in a time that basically breeds overwhelm. So much so that the absence of overwhelm would probably be considered odd at times.
We have so much going on (coming at us and around us) all the time. Whether it’s constant smartphone alerts, emails and texts — or really the siren call of any of our technology for that matter.
From our TVs to our tablets to our smart homes, we’re constantly bombarded by alerts. I need you. Pay attention to me.
Even when you sit down to watch TV, there are so many different shows and movies and limited series and documentaries and… you get the point.
We tend to think of a lot of options as a good thing. But the downside is that all these options can be overwhelming.
When we have too many options, the brain likes to shut down. This is so common that there’s a scientific name for it: decision fatigue.
Our brains weren’t meant to deal with all of the influx that goes on in our current reality.
Divide and Decline
Like I said, recently I had a couple of days where I went into overwhelm.
My schedule was so packed that completing every task was clearly not humanly possible.
On those days, the best way to avoid overwhelm is to divide and decline.
Separate tasks into ‘must-do’ and ‘can-do’ and ‘won’t-do’ lists. Go ahead and give yourself permission to say no to tasks, people and events.
Allowing yourself to move these events to another time will benefit not only you — but also the task at hand. Completing the task when you’re not rushed or stressed will allow you to give it your full concentration.
Sometimes we get so married to the idea that something has to be done on a certain day. But it’s important to objectively ask yourself, “Do I actually have to do that today?”
Just because something is on your schedule, doesn’t mean it has to get done. Ask yourself:
- What is the most important thing that needs to happen today?
- What can be rescheduled?
- What can I do on a different day?
We can’t hold on so tight to a schedule that offers no flexibility, as this affects our mental and physical wellbeing in the long run.
Dispelling Overwhelmed Energy
When we are in an overwhelming moment, the energy is ramped up, and you can feel it start to pick up speed, going faster and faster.
It becomes an upward funnel because it’s spinning so quickly to the point where you’re not even really recognizing the spin.
The faster it goes, the harder it is to come down off of that energy.
So when we get so ramped up, we usually have some sort of emotional outbursts. Maybe we will release that kinetic fast energy by yelling at someone or crying or just freaking out in general.
That’s our way of dispelling intense energy.
Because that energy can start to feel so intense within our bodies, we need to move the energy out. And a more positive way to dispel that energy (rather than unloading on other people)?
Move your physical body.
Get Physical & Get Outside
Go for a run or go for a walk. Bet out in nature because nature naturally grounds energy.
If we go out in nature, we’re going to naturally move from that overwhelm toward a place of calm.
Put your feet in the earth and soak in those beautiful negative ions. Lay in the grass (or the snow!).
Disconnect From Technology
Another way to relieve overwhelm (and even prevent it) is by disconnecting from technology. Turn your phone off for half an hour, and get offline. Take a moment to disconnect.
Read a book (an actual book, not an e-reader), drink some tea, meditate or simply connect with your body.
Better yet, do all of these things outside. Go into nature and put your feet in the earth for grounding.
Bypass the Mind
At an energetic level, we try to overcome overwhelm from the place of our mind — but our minds aren’t always the best place to go. When your mind is super wound up, it’s really hard to get it to come back down.
One of the best ways to bypass the mind is to go out into nature and let the earth ground you. Let the earth bring your energy back to a healthy state of being.
Learn to look at tasks and ask yourself, “Does this absolutely have to happen today? Or is there a way that I can shift my schedule around? What is important in my life right now?”
Overwhelm is often triggered when we don’t have time for self-care. When we forget to eat right, get enough sleep or do whatever we need to do to fill our own cups.
It also happens when we fill our schedules with things that don’t need to get done — but are simply habitual tasks we’ve become accustomed to. Or, when we spend our time trying to take care of other people’s needs before our own.
But when we take time for ourselves first, we’re actually much better at taking care of the needs of others.
Overwhelm can be a powerful teacher. It can show you that life is much more flexible and that you are the one in control. It can show you what the energy you’re feeling when you’re overwhelmed is all about. It can show you what you’re lacking or what you need.
When we take time to understand what’s going on below the surface, you may find the overwhelm starts to dissipate.