4 Unusual Ways To Manage Overwhelm

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[success]Plant seeds of expectation in your mind; cultivate thoughts that anticipate achievement. Believe in yourself as being capable of overcoming all obstacles and weaknesses. ~ Norman Vincent Peale[/success]

Would you say that you’re so strong that nothing can get between you and your peace of mind?

Do you have tactics that help you manage that feeling of being battered by the storms of life, by overwhelm?

Do you tend to speak of health, happiness and success and how everything is easy?  Or do you tend to speak mostly about how busy you are and how you don’t have enough hours in the day.

We’re all living busy lives and heaven knows we’ve probably got more demands placed on us than ever in our modern world, all of which are, of course, uber important.

Whatever is going on in your life right now, this minute, whatever facts you’re faced with, however overwhelming life seems to be right now, the first thing to do is to check your attitude. Because the way we think about those facts might just defeat us from day one.

We become overwhelmed by facts because we think we are.

1. Attitude check

We notice when we’re tired, we notice when we’re hungry and have a huge desire to scoff every doughnut in the store…oh wait…that’s me. We might even notice when our feet hurt. Especially when wearing those beautiful looking, but deadly painful, stilletto heels.

But do we notice the attitude we start our day with. Tell the truth now, do you pay much attention to your attitude…never…sometimes…always?

Our attitude is vital to our well being, it controls how we see the world and how the world sees us.

My mum used to tell me that it wasn’t so much what was happening in my world that mattered it was my response that either made things easier or more difficult.

2. Inner programming

I read an article recently where the author was saying that he had taken on far too much work and would wake up each morning in a state of dread because he knew he wasn’t going to get everything done.

This isn’t helpful.  I’ve done it myself and created a much bigger drama than necessary.

When packing for a trip I used to say to myself, I must remember to pack…whatever it was…thinking that this was more positive than…I mustn’t forget.  But I’d still end up being in a state of overwhelm and anxiety because of all the things I had to remember.

I changed it to I’m glad I remembered.  This was programming an entirely different feeling into my mind…goodbye anxiety. I kid you not, it works.

How we think about a problem is truly more important than the problem itself. Our mind really is just like a computer that we can programme. We can choose helpful or unhelpful inner conversations.  As long as we remember that what we put in is precisely what we get out.

The secret to living a happy, successful, joyful life boils down to a matter of thinking happy, successful, joyful thoughts.

3. Black and white thinking

It’s all too easy to see life as black and white, right or wrong. Another less than helpful way to think. There are few absolutes in life and much of it shows up as various shades of grey…that space between ecstasy and devastation.

Don’t over emphasize the negatives in life, turning situations that might have been less than perfect into worst case scenarios.  You know the kind of thing.

I failed a test, okay that proves I’m pretty dumb and I’d better move on to something easier.

My relationship is over…no surprises there…nothing works out for me.

And don’t minimize the positive.

I accomplished a lot today.  But there’s still a heck of a lot left to do and I’ve no idea how I’m going to get it done.

I’m doing really well financially right now, wonder when the other shoe will drop.

You don’t have to either be spontaneous, free spirited, and chaotic, OR steady, conformist and unimaginative. In truth you’re a mixture of all sorts of qualities. Choose which ones to bring to the fore, the ones that support you the most.

4. Rituals

I’ve always found rituals to be helpful in all things. Especially evening rituals. If you fall asleep focused on all the stuff you have to do that can’t possible be done, you’re going to wake up in the morning in the same frantic state.

Sleep is a doorway to the subconscious, the inner computer that guides our waking actions and draws the experiences we have. So we need to fall asleep with a feeling of appreciation, of gratitude, of gladness for our day, for our life.

Think of the best part of your day, and if you honestly can’t find one, find a happy memory and take that with you into sleep.

You deserve to be happy, to feel a sense of inner peace, to live your best life.  Make sure you don’t let black and white thinking be your excuse for not tweaking your current thinking. Don’t give up on yourself.

You have the potential to amaze the world. Within you is an incredible, powerful self and you deserve to fall asleep each evening in a state of contentment and fulfillment and wake up each morning filled with the awe of who you are and then fearlessly bring this amazing self to the world.

Don’t expect you can change the habit of your thoughts overnight, but do expect that you’ll keep on practicing.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, which strategy resonated with you and why? And I’d love to hear your tips for managing overwhelm.

You are amazing and I thank you for reading and sharing on facebook, twitter, pinterest and google+. And if someone you know is overwhelmed do share this post with them, who knows it might help them out.

Encourage one another.

Love Elle.

xox

ElleSommer
Elle Sommer is the author and founder of Live Purposefully Now, a website focused on sharing the insights and ancient wisdom that have collectively changed her life, in the desire to make a meaningful impact on yours. Trained at Coach U and having completed a year long training with Bob Proctor, her mission is to encourage and inspire others to build the business, relationships and life they want. You can also find her on Healthy Natural Oils her new website for helping you get started with essential oils for more natural health, well-being happiness and success in your life!

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32 Comments

  • Great post and you share such useful truths. Don’t overemphasize the negatives and minimize the positives….how often we do that. Also an attitude check is something I should actively engage in. Thanks!

    • Hi Tamkara, nice to see you here and thanks for taking the time to leave your comments…they’re always welcomed and appreciated. I don’t think you’re alone in needing an attitude check every now and then…believe me when I say there are still the odd times when I need one myself! 😀

  • Dear Elle,
    At the risk of sounding like a slough, I am NOT ALWAYS BUSY. As a matter of fact, it has taken me decades to learn how to be still, not run, and to make the time to do things that give me joy – or do nothing –

    Don’t get me wrong. I still get tempted when great ‘offers’ come my way. My ego kicks in, I tell myself that I can make a difference, and often there is a nice sum of money involved.

    I am allowing my instincts much more space to play within my soul. It is divine.

    xxoo-Fran

    • Hi Fran…that’s so great that you’re so at peace with yourself that it’s pretty easy to say no. And that is one super phrase, allowing your instincts more space to play with your soul. Wow. Thanks so much for this. 🙂

    • Hi Cathy, like your idea of evening AND morning rituals to keep overwhelm from creeping in. It’s that age old adage give something an inch and it’ll take a mile. Do you have any morning rituals that you could share? Might be supportive to someone in our community (me for one!) 🙂

  • Elle,
    I confess that overwhelm is one of my habitual patterns, but it’s definitely weakening. I love your explanation of attitude and inner programming because the more we focus on an uncomfortable state, the more we’ll exacerbate it.

    I’m not good at rituals though as I don’t remember and easily fall out of the habit. I wish I knew 4 unusual ways to establish rituals!

    • Hi Sandra, always lovely to see you and read your thoughts, you have so much wisdom to offer us all. If I think of 4 unusual ways to establish rituals you’ll be the first to know. Meanwhile the only thing for me is to treat it as something I’m in love with. Meditating for instance could be an easy night time ritual. Although just spending 5 minutes in gratitude for the day is pretty easy too. 🙂

    • Hi Poppy, I’d say taking care of you is most definitely a priority. I meet someone on my morning walks who used to be a long distance runner, but sadly, for health reasons she isn’t able to run any more…but she walks faster than anyone I know and tells me getting out has become a ‘feel good’ habit for her, which she never intends to give up. It makes sense that that’s a self care ritual. 🙂

    • Hi Elaine, nice to have you stop by and I’m glad this post was a timely one for you to begin to take a step back and breathe for a minute…we all need to do that at some point, especially when it feels as though we don’t have the time! Let me know if any of the techniques work for you, or maybe you’ll adjust them to suit you. Would love to hear about that too. 😀

  • When I feel overwhelmed because I’m dealing with something new, feeling pressure or think it’s too much. Either way I remind myself that it’s within reach, then break it down so it seems less daunting.

    • Hi Lea, that’s a great tip…breaking things down into smaller pieces. And once again it comes down to finding a way to ‘feel’ better about it, which allows a shift in attitude. Like this a lot. 🙂

  • I find myself getting quite overwhelmed lately and if I just take a deep enough breath, I know that all will be ok! I think I am quite lucky to be so busy!

  • Hi Elle,
    As always, i find all your posts so delibrately thought out and related to daily life.
    it is a fact,as you mention, that when we fall asleep thinking of our problems they are accentuated.Evening rituals cushion this impact a lot.
    Another helpful aspecti find for overcoming overwhelm is to work towards yur tasks in baby steps,and doing parallel processing of all tasks .that is working simultaneously on all tasks bit by bit at the same time.Instead of linear processing;that is finishing one task,and then moving onto other things.
    Lasly fear is a big contributor to overwhelm…and this needs to be nullified.
    You only have to turn towards your fears and face them squarely,not keep running away from their imaginary influences throughout life.Often the imagined fear is a ghost of our own manufacturing.We ourselves are the culprit and the victim,simultaneously.We never realize that fear itself feeds heartily on the diet of our own attention. Just starve the monster of it’s diet and watch it die a sure and swift death.
    Thanks
    Mona

    • Hi Mona, and as always I find your comments highly insightful. And I like your thoughts on parallel processing. I do this all the time and I thought it was just because I got bored easily, but given that I’m not especially linear your observations hit the nail on the head for me.

      Have just read your comment over a couple of times and it’s packed full of great information, I hope everyone who visits reads them, there’s gold in them thar words. 🙂

  • Hello; This was a wonderful post very inspiring and instructional. for me i generally fall asleep listening to an audio book by a favorite author or some old time radio shows that i have on my laptop. sometimes its a movie with descriptions which means no video. I find i fall off to sleep quickly and wake up positive the next morning. The first thing i do each day is to check my email and see what news is there. Most days its posts from my friends blogs and junk mail. but there is usually at least one email in there that has interesting or exciting news. even a reply to a comment can be a good way to start th morning. but i think the best thing is good or bad i am passionate about my work. I expect to eventually make more money at it, but it is satisfying. And on those occasions where i hcan help someone sell their amusement equipment and find it a good home somewhere else there is a feeling of accomplishment along with the commission. thanks again for the post. Your mom was a wise woman. take care, max

    • Hi Max, you are so inspirational. Your attitude alone must be drawing to you wonderful things in your life. It seems as though you look for reasons to be happy – as an eternal optimist I can relate.

      And yes, my mum was one wise woman…too bad I didn’t listen to her sooner in life! 😀

      • Hi D; Thanks for your kind words. I don’t know where i come by my optimism. I know that for the longest time I have been the voice in my family that says we can overcome we can move forward and we will be better off because of it. I think i may have gotten a lot of it from my father. He had the ability to laugh at life. Me I don’t laugh as much as i should but I can find the beauty and humor in it because i look for it. and trust me some days it aint easy to find so on those days you have to look a lot harder. It helps if you read good books listen to music and try to keep positive people around you. that last one is hard especially if you share a house with your extended family like i do. Thanks for the great posts. Keep it up, max

  • You have it spot on there. It is indeed our attitudes and thoughts in life that dictate what happens to us on a day to day basis. It makes all the difference also when having a positive attitude and tackling an issue as the solution just comes so much more easily.

    Thank you for the post.

    • Hi Simon, appreciate you stopping by and joining in the conversation. And you have a great point that with the right attitude solutions to problems are more easily accessed. Appreciate your insight. 🙂

  • I love these suggestions and all of them do work.
    What I have recently realised, and you cover it in inner programming is that our state of being is totally and utterly a state of our mind. Whatever we choose to believe, or not, will always be true to us.
    While it may seem extremely difficult to change our seemingly embedded beliefs, if we are able to just start questioning them, the multitude of possibilities that open up are amazingly endless.

    • Hi Li-ling, nice to see you again. And you speak in truths indeed, I remember the first time I asked myself why I believe something, and I was shocked to discover that I didn’t really know. That was a turning point in my life that’s for sure. 🙂

  • Hi Elle, It really does help to think you’re glad of something (glad I remembered that!)…it tends to lead to more remembering and less fretting 🙂 We do need to pull shame out of the picture, and be happy when we accomplish something, rather than worrying about the to-do list…which, let’s face it, is never totally gone, at least not for long, as long as we are living. I guess that’s a good thing 🙂

    • Hi Julie, isn’t that the truth, the to do list is always there, maybe with some new things to be done…but what the heck…most of them will keep anyway. We tend to set ourselves up to make life difficult, why is that do you suppose? 😀

  • Hi Elle,

    It is so easy to feel overwhelmed in today’s society. We push ourselves and expect to be able to achieve so much in 24 hours, never stopping to enjoy our life or become aware of the beauty and wonder that surrounds us on a daily basis.

    It is so important to take time out, to just simply “be” even if you can only manage to do that for 10 minutes a day, it helps you to get out of your head and relax.

    I too find that when going to bed before I fall asleep, thinking of all that I am grateful for in my life and imagining the wonderful day I will have when I awake, allows me to fall asleep with a deep knowing of my own inner power and that all is well, life is great.
    Clare

  • That’s a great post, Elle and really very helpful. In the past, I struggled a lot with overwhelm. I had huge task lists and already at the beginning of the day I realized that it would be impossible to get everything done. This created a lot of stress and it took away all the pleasure of work.

    One day, I decided to focus only on the most important tasks, to give my best and to do whatever is possible. And if there is unfinished work at the end of the day, so be it – after all, a day has only a certain number of hours and there is only a limited amount of work that can be done in that time.

    This change in attitude helped me tremendously. I regained my joy for work and on top of that, my results improved quite a lot.

    • Hi Robert, how lovely to see you here and I agree with you 100% our attitude is everything. I had to laugh at your description of the huge list at the beginning of each day because I remember being in that very same state! Now I’m happy to know that at the start of every day I experienced two or three very happy outcomes and they can be of anything and it makes my life so much more relaxed and fun. 🙂

  • I love changing “I must remember to pack,” to “I’m glad I remembered…” I switch stuff to positive sentence structure, but this is taking it one step further.

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