That feeling of overwhelm?
Do you get that feeling of overwhelm?
Recently, I have noticed so many people are feeling overwhelmed. When I speak to people it does seem to be a common theme of how people are feeling.
Now, I know the pandemic has a lot to do with these feelings. But, talking to people it isn’t just that. The pandemic is just giving us too much time to think! That seems to be what the problem is there.
Our minds are like an untamed ocean. So many thoughts and feelings pulsating as if waves are crashing against the inside of your skull. That feeling of when you are trying to stay afloat. But, you can’t help feeling. You know, as if it’s only a matter of time before your head disappears below the surface of the water.
This is you when you are feeling overwhelmed by life or lots of situations. This is how your mind reacts when everything gets on top of you. And you start to feel unable to cope with it all.
The cause of this may sound very obvious. It is your minds response to stress. I guess you could say this is a very superficial understanding of the situation. But, at its most basic, the sense of overwhelm you get is the reaction of your body and mind to stress.
More specifically, it is the response to stress caused by a build up of many responsibilities. Some big and some small. It is that belief that you aren’t able to keep all the plates spinning much longer.
The unconscious fear of letting a plate fall and smash causes a stress response. This is what results in the very conscious feeling of overwhelm.
This type of response is quite specific in that it relates to the compounding of multiple concerns. It is not the type of response you’d generally experience when the stressor is a single thing. For example being unfulfilled in your job or a recent bereavement.
Not just responsibilities though…
I know at lot of the people I speak to, their overwhelm is not just kids, houses, pandemic. It is having this time to think about their businesses. They have been gathering information over the past few months, even the past year. So many are becoming desperate to put these ideas into action. But, for some they are just not sure where to turn. Not sure which idea to put into action first.
Many are struggling with:
Is this idea right for my clients?
Do they want this?
What do they want?
I want my business to go in this direction but I am not sure how to do that?
Who can help?
Can anyone actually help?
I don’t know what to do first?
This results in doing nothing, or just becoming stressed because we can’t think straight. Do you relate to this?
I always want people to look at their current business and make this be working at its most efficient, before moving on to the next idea or thing to do. But, I get it. We are entrepreneurs and we want to keep moving forward and progressing in our business.
There is nothing wrong with that, except this feeling of overwhelm.
Don’t lose hope
When overwhelm occurs, your brain struggles to process all of the different issues. This is because you can only give over conscious thought to one at a time. But, when you try to do so, the anxiety kicks in. This anxiety is caused by all of your other problems/thoughts and it prevents you from thinking clearly. This is why we can’t focus on one single task.
Think of your mind as being a door. Problems are matched with solutions when they pass through the door. When you feel overwhelmed, there are so many problems trying to push their way through the door that. This results in none of them being able to squeeze past the others.
What can I do?
The solution is quite straightforward. Clear the roadblock so that the issues you face can pass through the door where solutions are found.
There are two ways you can do this:
- Drop some of the issues altogether so that the road is clear for others.
- Create a traffic management system so that each problem can be tackled one at a time with clear and concise thinking.
In practice, you will probably end up combining both approaches to form one coherent strategy.
Sounds simple, but how do you actually take this and implement it in the real world?
I don’t get it?
Firstly you need to identify all of the things that have contributed to you feeling overwhelmed. Without a clear idea of the many issues that need to be addressed, you will not be able to consciously tackle the whole problem.
Take a pen and paper and write down every single concern that is playing on your mind at this second. Don’t worry about how insignificant some may seem. It is best to get them all in the open.
I try and do this subconsciously. I know this sounds crazy… But it works. The more you think, the more overwhelming it is. This then stops you, once again, being able to think. If you just start writing it will just come.
I once wrote 4 A4 pages back to back. This was the first time I did this subconscious writing. I cannot tell you how good I felt after. I had no clue what I was doing, though. Please don’t think I did.
It started something like:
This is so stupid, how can I write subconsciously, I don’t even know what I am thinking… (I find they always start along these lines, it is like I have to get my brain into a subconscious state or something).
Once I started, my pen was on fire. I had a lot of pent up feelings about things.
Ok, what next?
I find this to be like a brain dump and then tis allows my mind to feel clearer to actually start to make a plan. Why not use some essential oils to help clear your mind too. Rosemary is fantastic for helping concentration and clearing your mind. Along with sage and peppermint.
If you are struggling, why not create a vision board and start looking at how you want your life to look. This can be a big help and also completely stops your brain focusing on problems.
After your brain dump
subconscious writing makes sense look back over it. If you just feel better for getting it out, but you feel exhausted, just put it to one side. Close the book and leave your brain to absorb and clear itself.
When you feel up to it
If you can use your brain dump, then do, I often don’t as it makes no sense. If you’re like me, I need to write a plan now that makes sense. So I may make a list of some of the things that are bothering me. If any are worries, I look at think can I just bin those? Look at your list and really ask yourself whether each item is something that deserves your attention. Or, by seeing it written down have you realised you are fretting about something that has no concrete foundation in reality?
Hopefully you will now have a smaller list of concerns to work with. After identifying those that you can blissfully ignore without any repercussions. Your next job is to find a way to put those issues that remain in some sort of order. But just take 3 things from your list and prioritise those. Do not try and do the whole list.
Then, with a clear vision of what should be done first, you can begin to tackle your issues. Hopefully, without the sense of impending doom that you had before going through this exercise.
Your mind might not be entirely quiet, I get that. But you will be able to dedicate enough of your mental capacity towards resolving each concern. Just one at a time.
Try this approach next time you are feeling overwhelmed by life’s problems. Let me know how you go…
See you next time
Lots of love