Stop Feeling Overwhelmed…Once And For All!Adeshola Ezeokoli
Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Okay, don’t answer that. Everyone at some point in their life has felt overwhelmed with their circumstances. Something we don’t realize, however, is that we do not have to feel that way. What about if you have too many tasks? What about if you’re too busy? What if you have multiple emergencies? The truth is, life is not without challenges, tasks, or emergencies. I have come to realize, that the older we get, the busier we get. Often, we are tempted to think that just around the corner from our present challenge, is a life of less “busyness”, and ease. Instead of looking at the presence or absence of challenges to dictate how you feel, look inward.
Here are 7 steps to banishing “overwhelm” from your life:
1. Change the way you think: Feeling overwhelmed is a feeling that can be changed, just like any other feeling. Feeling overwhelmed does not always depend on the number of tasks or deadlines that you have. Once you start to feel overwhelmed, deal with the feeling first. Do not try to power through tasks until you can change the feelings of “overwhelm”. How do you do this? By taking a step back, breaking state, and telling yourself that this is just a feeling and it will pass. Take a moment, calm down, do a calming action or activity and go back to face your tasks. The first time that you do this, it might feel weird. However as you practice this, eventually you will program it into your subconscious. When that happens, your mind will not automatically read for those “overwhelm” feelings. The less you focus on those feelings, the less they will have an effect on you. What you focus on becomes bigger. If you focus on calm you will get calmer. If you focus on overwhelm, you will get more of the same. Remember, the feelings have little to do with the number of tasks or deadlines that you have. After all, how is it that in some circumstances, one task can utterly overwhelm you; while in other circumstances, you can power through a dozen tasks like a champ? Overwhelm does not serve you. Therefore, begin to school your mind and your emotions away from being overwhelmed and towards clarity, calmness, and focus.
2. Learn what your triggers are: what internal, external or environmental factors trigger feelings of overwhelm in you? Is it when your space is untidy? Is it deadlines? Is it certain people? Disempower your triggers by modifying your situation; or modifying your attitude towards it. For example, if deadlines trigger feelings of overwhelm in you, change the way that you see deadlines. Instead of seeing a deadline as a death sentence, see it as an opportunity to be done with this task by such-and-such time. Identify and address your triggers head on.
3. Develop a culture of prayer and meditation: I like to say that prayer is from you to God, and meditation is from God to you; as you listen to the “still small voice”. Meditate on calmness, quotes about peace, Bible verses about calm, songs about everything that is the opposite of chaos and overwhelm. Prayer and meditation will help change the way you think, and change your focus.
4. Get organized: Now for the practical side. Use lists. Schedule things. Declutter your space, your room, your office, your mind. The clutter in your life, when it reaches a certain critical mass, can make you feel overwhelmed. Plan your life. Of course, plans can fall through, but this should not be an every day occurrence. If you are faced with emergencies on a daily basis, then you may need to work on whether you are dealing with true emergencies or whether you have fallen into the habit of living life as a “crisis manager”.
5. Multitask less: When you overly multitask, you spread yourself too thin and do too little anyway. Excessive multitasking leads to broken focus. When you cannot focus on one thing at a time, you get overwhelmed by the many tasks that are still not getting accomplished. Multitasking is a popular buzzword, however it is a big lie! You really cannot do too many things at once. Start one task, finish it, and then go to the next one.
6. Be effective with your use of time: If you procrastinate and waste time, leaving everything to the last minute, feelings of overwhelm are bound to ensue. See below for more on effective time use.
7. Get help: If you need help, talk to your coach, mentor, counselor, or someone who is invested in your progress. You may need help to deal with feelings, or triggers. You may need a practical steps to take in dealing with overwhelm.
Do you want to stop feeling overwhelmed, and live a truly balanced life? You can schedule a session below: