Sometimes life can seem complex and overwhelming.
Perhaps you find yourself with too many things to do within a short space of time.
Maybe you’re trying to catch up with tasks or issues you may have neglected in your life. Someone else could really have made a mess of things and left you to clean up.
Or, it could just be an off-day for you and you resent having to take part in the world at all.
It happens to all of us at some time. We just feel that we’re having to deal with more than we can cope with at this particular time and we get this awful feeling of being overwhelmed. We want to run away and hide, quit our jobs or even leave our relationships.
This is an emotionally-led reaction and you lose the ability to think rationally. The frontal neo-cortex part of your brain, which process logic, has begun to close down as you enter the fight or flight response (a reaction to a threatening situation). Your adrenal gland begins to pump out adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and you go into a defensive reaction to whatever you think is overwhelming you.
If you’re the fighting type, you may lose it, start shouting at people and making yourself really quite unpopular. You won’t think through what you’re saying. You’ll be reactive and say things you might later regret, but it will be too late to take them back.
If you’re the running away type of person, you may become very quiet, go inside, and stop declaring what you need.
If you’re not stating your needs, things might not get any better, and you may move into the suffering in silence mode.
So what can you do?
- Withdraw from the situation…if you can leave the physical place you are in for a while, this will give you space to get your head together. If that’s not possible, then you need to distance yourself mentally for a short while so you can come out of the fight or flight response.
- Take time out…it is incredible what a difference time makes. You were overwhelmed and panicking in that moment. When you leave that moment and give yourself time, that natural course of your mind changing occurs.
- Ask for help…it is really OK to reach out to others and say what you are experiencing and asking them for help to get you past the present situation.
- Break everything down into small chunks…you climb a mountain one step at a time. Stop trying to solve the world’s problems all at one time. Take a methodological approach to solving one thing at a time.
- Use problem solving thinking…when you are overwhelmed, you are in a state of negative thinking. You need to flip your mindset and start to think of each individual solution to the various situations that you thought overwhelmed you.
You need to flip your mindset and start to think of each individual solution to the various situations that you thought overwhelmed you.
Finally, if getting overwhelmed happens to you regularly, you need to make some changes about the way you are operating in life. Get professional help and advice about how to change the way you think and act in your everyday life.
Book an appointment with my clinic in Sydney. Alternatively, you can become a more creative problem solver to help you overcome overwhelm, with my downloadable digital home-use program, Thinking Outside the Box Hypnosis.
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist. Counsellor, PACFA registered Mental Health Professional and Naturopath In Sydney. You can get help by booking an appointment with her at Australian Health & Education Centre.