Feeling Overwhelmed? These 7 Tips May Help

Do you ever feel unsettled, scared and overwhelmed? We all have tough days. For what it’s worth, here are seven things that often help me when I am feeling overwhelmed or stuck. I hope you find something here that is useful and that you feel a sense of optimism and positive flow again soon.

#1: Ask For Help

Reach out to someone who is not going to judge you or make you feel worse for feeling stuck. Who is really good at helping shift your energy to a positive direction, even if it’s simply swapping funny texts or images, or distracting you from how you are feeling?

If the emotion feels too overwhelming, who will understand if you have a good cry or need to vent? You might want to go to a therapist or coach, or online to find advice or connect with others who have had similar experiences.

The key thing when seeking advice is to find a place or a person who can meet you where you are at. Nonjudgmental acceptance and true listening can be incredibly healing. You want someone who can really hear you, and who can help you hear yourself.

#2: Know You Are Not Alone

Another thing that helps me is to remembering that everyone experiences negative emotions.

I like to remember that every single person on the planet knows what it feels like to be down and out. Stuck. Sad. Discouraged. Insecure. Scared. Nervous. Overwhelmed.

The mind is tricky and can look for evidence that other people are happy or doing it “right.”

One of my favorite teachers Pema Chodron suggests that as we are living our lives, whether driving or walking through a crowd, it can be helpful to look others in the eyes and silently think:

“Just like me this person knows loss.”

“Just like me this person knows fear.”

“Just like me this person wants to be happy.”

And on and on.

Each person on earth, at some point or another, has felt emotion similar to yours right now. Normalizing our experiences can help us to be more resourceful in navigating our situation, just as we are.

#3: What can you do in this moment to feel better?

Sometimes our mind gets ahead of us. We start thinking about might happen one day if we take a certain action. Or if we don’t.

And then we feel paralyzed. Overwhelmed. We may relive the past over and over again, wishing we had done things differently.

Asking ourselves this question brings us back to the present moment.

How can we make our lives better, right now?

We might need a glass of water, a walk or to check an important task off our to-do list. Whatever it is for us, asking this question reconnects us with our own needs and wants, and reminds us there is something we can do to meet them.

Getting unstuck usually happens through baby steps rather than big leaps. This question helps us to get back to where and when change really happens. Now.

#4 Rest

When I am trying to muscle my way through something and it’s not working, it’s often a sign I’m not listening to my inner voice. Trying to go faster when my true self needs to go slower never ends well.

We might try to pump ourselves up when we really need to shift things down. Is there something sweet and small you can do for yourself?

If you are feeling deeply depressed, you might want to try #1-3 (above) first. But sometimes feeling overwhelmed is just a sign that we need to do something more gentle as well. Like setting boundaries, doing less, or expecting less.

It’s easy to forget how important it is, especially during times of transition, to rest and reset.

So take a sick day. Take a nap. Rest. Let go of how you think things are supposed to look.

Sit down for a moment and just be. On the other side of your rest may be your next epiphany.

#5: Reframe

In any miracle or story of success, there is that moment when the main character didn’t know where to turn next, when they were ready to give up, or realized that what they were experiencing was bigger than they realized.

When we accept our tough times without sugarcoating, denying or trying to avoid them, we often discover something new about what our soul really wants for us, and start our journey to create it.

This moment of overwhelm may actually be your turning point, the moment you look back on and realize everything changed. The first step to changing our lives for the better is realizing we are ready for our new beginning. What a perfect place to start.

#6 Do Something Fun

Sometimes we have to let go of our goals and just focus on what brings us joy. When we feel overwhelmed, focusing on something positive can help us get unstuck.

What is something you love to do? What is something you loved doing as a kid? Are you able to take a break and do that, even just for a minute or two? For more ideas, check out this article.

Sometimes we are feeling so down it’s tough to shift gears from focusing on what’s wrong to what we love. It can feel decadent or even dishonest, when we are feeling so discouraged.

The expression “fake it until you make it” might be what you most need. Just try doing what you love for a few minutes. Maybe ask a friend to join you. Let yourself feel silly. Let yourself do it badly.

You might consider joining me on The 28-Day Flow Challenge.

And if the passion part doesn’t feel quite right this moment in time, how about challenging yourself to do something else (think simple!) that will make your life better for 28 days. Like drinking 60 ounces of water a day. Or walking for 10 minutes. Meditating. Or making your bed.

When we set little goals and stick to them, our confidence increases and so does our momentum. Baby step by baby step, we make our lives better.

#7 Do Something Different

When we’ve tried the same old things to fix our problem and they haven’t worked, that’s a sign that maybe we need to do something different.

Consider taking a course in something that’s always interested you but you’ve never tried. If you’re a runner, try lifting weights. If you love the color blue, try buying some red clothes. Try a new food. Change up your diet. Take a different route to work. Call a new friend and go for coffee.

Shake up your life and your routines and see what happens next.

Most of all, remember, this too shall pass. When we have the courage to move through our feelings of overwhelm, we can find our own path to getting unstuck.

You have what it takes to make your life better. Trust yourself and you will find your way.

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Copyright © 2020, Laurie Smith, All rights reserved. Photo credit: Baimieng/Shutterstock

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