Over the past few days, weeks, months, or years, how many times have you felt incredibly overwhelmed? Many of us have been overwhelmed with COVID stresses since the pandemic began. Would you be surprised to know, according to a survey administered to over 3,000 United States residents in 2020 by the American Psychological Association, 60% of those participating reported feeling overwhelmed by issues they have been plagued by? I am honestly not surprised, but lately, nothing surprises me anymore.
We may feel alone when we are suffering from feelings of being overwhelmed, but the truth is many are feeling this way daily. It is easy to deal silently with these feelings because we see so many awful things going on in the world. These feelings along with stress do not discriminate and can impact everyone. Age, gender, race, national origin, religious and political beliefs, or sexual preference does not matter with these feelings.
There are countless causes for stress and overwhelm that include work, relationships, traumatic experiences, finances, political issues, health concerns, job searches, and the global pandemic. I have been experiencing being bombarded with being overwhelmed and found a few ways to handle these feelings that I am going to share with you, in hopes it will help you as well.
The first step is to identify what is causing you to feel overwhelmed. Think about areas in life that are adding to your stress. Is it your job, lack of job, home, or your relationships? Determine what is specifically causing you to feel overwhelmed and write down the contributing factors, so you know and understand your triggers.
Keep yourself grounded by living in the present. There is a technique I recently read about called the “5-4-3-2-1” technique. This technique only requires you to use your five senses:
1- Look around and name five things you can see from where you are sitting or standing.
2- Just listen and name four things you can hear.
3- What are three things you can touch?
4. Take a deep breath, what are two things you can smell.
5. Lastly, name something you can taste.
There is an important phrase we should try to remember, especially when we are stressed and overwhelmed, “Outer order, inner calm”. When we are feeling overwhelmed, cleaning up the area around us can restore a little order in our life. It can be a small room in our house but tidying up that one room can bring us a calming and peaceful feeling.
When our life feels chaotic, taking tiny steps can resolve some of our stress. We all have many things we think we “MUST” do, so much that our list will become overwhelming. Do one thing at a time and do not rush anything. Everything will get done in time!
In a world full of uncertainty, it is critical to accept what we cannot control. This does not mean we should give up and throw in the towel. What this does mean is we need to allow for uncertainty and the uncomfortable, without complaints and resistance, and dwell on things we cannot change. Trying to only focus on what we can control, might reduce some stressful and overwhelming thoughts.
Sometimes through all things life throws our way, we must simply take a deep breath and walk away. There are times things causing us to feel overwhelmed are right in front of us and we need a little separation to have a short break to assess what we are feeling. This can promote relaxation and lower the stress we may be experiencing.
Create a gratitude list. When we feel stressed and overwhelmed, reminding ourselves what we are grateful for can be a powerful way to transform thoughts of stress. Simply write down 5-10 things you are grateful for at the beginning or end of each day. Reflecting on these things can be very helpful for our mental health.
Discover a creative outlet, such as writing, dance, music, art, or anything else that gets your creative juices flowing. Studies suggest connecting with our creative side at least once a week can reduce stress.
If you are not comfortable talking about things causing you to feel overwhelmed and stressed, consider writing out your feelings. This can be a quiet and private way to alleviate our anxious feelings. It does not need to be perfect, just write freely. Everything you write is kept between you and the paper. There will be no judgment or explaining why you are feeling the way you are.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post today. I hope you found it useful, and you will find ways to eliminate feelings of being overwhelmed. I know it is an unpleasant feeling and want to help others find peace from this. I would love to read what you thought about this post and if you have any other ideas that could help others. I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!