Feeling overwhelmed is no one’s favorite feeling to experience. Yet it’s a regular occurrence for many of us. Feeling overwhelmed makes us feel like no matter what, we can’t accomplish what we really want to. It can seem as though being overwhelmed is accomplishment’s enemy. However, the problem isn’t being overwhelmed it’s how you react to it. It’s your reaction that creates the distance between yourself and your accomplishments.
When feeling overwhelmed, instinctively you attempt to do everything you can to make it go away. Instead of reacting to it, try listening to it. This can be difficult to do because often times when you are feeling overwhelmed, you are actually experiencing several emotions all clustered together under the disguise of being overwhelmed. Ask yourself, “What is it I am actually feeling?” “Where is this coming from?” By asking yourself these questions you can identify the underlying emotions playing into feeling overwhelmed. Think of how you untangle a knot in a rope. You start by finding the ends. When you acknowledge your primary emotions influencing the feeling of being overwhelmed, it’s like identifying the ends of the rope, making the knot of being overwhelmed less complicated. Now with your identified feelings, you can manage being overwhelmed by offering yourself reassurance counteracting the insecure feeling that being overwhelmed creates.
Being overwhelmed has a way of immobilizing our progress, especially if you recognize it as a sign of failure. Instead of being paralyzed by feeling overwhelmed, use your feelings to help you mold your accomplishment for the better. By thinking about how you can make your feelings of being overwhelmed work for you, ask yourself, “Is this something to work towards? Is this something to work though? Is this something to work out?”
Is this something to work towards?
When trying to accomplish something important to you, it’s common to feel fearful. Being rejected, especially when you are working towards something you really want, creates vulnerability. Becoming overwhelmed when things become difficult is likely to happen. Acknowledging you are afraid of rejection, fearful you will fail, and providing yourself with support will help manage the negativity of these emotions. Allowing yourself to feel overwhelmed with the understanding you are working towards what you really want, prevents being overwhelmed from becoming rehabilitating. An example of this is the familiar motivational story of Rudy Ruettiger in the movie “Rudy”. Regardless of how insecure he felt or how many people told him he couldn’t become a Notre Dame Football player; he knew what he wanted. It was worth it to him regardless of how overwhelmed he felt. By acknowledging your underlying emotions and framing your stress, being overwhelmed now has a purpose in your struggle. When feelings of being overwhelmed rise up, you know it’s a sign your comfort zone is growing. At that point, you can reassure yourself it’s worth it to be work towards what is important to you.
Is This Something to Work Through?
Being overwhelmed plays tricks on our mind. It’s easy to find ourselves caught up in the intense struggle and feel like our stress is here to stay. Once we have identified our primary emotions that often appear as doubts, it becomes easier to recognize our current stress is something we can work through. Having young children can be a very demanding time in parenthood. There are so many different needs to attend to. If you were standing in line at a grocery store behind a young mother who is wrestling small children, it would be easy to assume that she is overwhelmed. Feeling inadequate meeting so many emotional and physical needs is understandable, but acknowledging that you are working through a “tough age” and challenging “concern” helps you realize that being overwhelmed isn’t the end point. It will get easier. Circumstances can improve. If you are feeling inadequate but continue to work yourself through the task at hand, you can rework small successes to see you are accomplishing your end goal in small doses all along the way.
Is This Something to Work Out
Feeling overwhelmed creates discomfort for a reason. It’s a way we emotionally can signal our mind and body that something isn’t right. By recognizing feeling overwhelmed as an alarm, we can evaluate if it’s not something that will help us work towards what we want to accomplish or an important influence in working through the process to our end goal. Chances are, there is something we might need to adjust or rearrange. Ask yourselves, is there something I need to work out? Sometimes you might realize it’s not worth it to feel this overwhelmed, anxious, or confused. Leaving a job might be what you need to do to accomplish what your true focus is. Switching positions within a current job, might be the answer to feeling overwhelmed. Rearranging roles, taking a break from a leadership or voluntary position are all examples of how we can work out situations that cause stress and prevent us from the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment we’re all striving for.
When you identify underlying emotions that play into feeling overwhelmed, you regain emotional power lost in the mayhem that being overwhelmed creates. By asking yourself is this something that I am working towards? Something I am working through? Or something I need to work out? You create ways to turn feelings of being overwhelmed into accomplishment.