We all know the experience of being overwhelmed by what life throws at us. It happens to everyone from time to time, and when it does, it can seem like there’s no way out, no end in sight. That can lead to feeling frustrated and desperate, causing us to do things that don’t make any sense because we just want to do something, anything.
It’s nearly impossible to see how to get out of this situation, this feeling, from the inside. That’s why the solution is to stop for a moment, take a step back, and let go of your desperate grip. There’s a path you can follow to get you started down the path to ditching the frustration.
So, if you are overwhelmed right now, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then read these 6 steps on how to get back to normal and deal with being overwhelmed:
Find A Quiet Spot
The first thing to do is to find a quiet spot where you can be alone for a moment. It can be difficult enough to get your feet back under you when you have a moment to think about it… it can be nearly impossible when people keep interrupting you while you’re doing it.
Close Your Eyes
Now that you have your quiet spot, close your eyes. You’ve gotten away from the people, now it’s time to block out the other distractions. Open eyes provide a constant stream of input that your mind has to deal with at a subconscious level, sometimes even at the conscious level. One thing you don’t need when feeling overwhelmed is MORE input.
The easiest, and most effective, action you can take to improve your mental state any time it starts to slide negative is to breathe deeply, especially with your eyes closed. You should concentrate on the feeling of the breath coming in and going out, and let the negative mental state, and physical tension, flow out with each exhale.
Now that you’re in a state that’s a bit calmer, look at the things that you need to do that are causing you to feel overwhelmed. If it’s one task that’s huge, break it down into smaller tasks. If it’s the sheer number of things you need to do, you already have it broken down into smaller tasks… just too many of them! Now that you have a list of things you “need” to get done, prioritize it. Decide which one needs done first, which one is most important or most time-sensitive, and make a list, whether written down or just mental, of the top three tasks.
Now you have a list of the most important tasks that were part of the mass of things overwhelming you… so take action on the first one. It doesn’t really matter how small the task or the action is… this is simply about starting down the path to getting things done and out of the way. You’re taking action to build your momentum. Once you have momentum, it becomes easier and easier to start on the next task on your list.
Look At Your Progress
This is the final step, the one that really gets you back to normal. After you have gotten started good on your task list from number four, especially if you have completed at least one of your top three tasks, pause for just a moment to look back and see that you have, in fact, made progress. You are on your way to taking care of those things that were overwhelming you, even if many of them still lie ahead… the end is at least in sight. Once you can see a way out and know that you’re getting there, most of the feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed lose their power.
Being overwhelmed is mostly a matter of being lost as to which direction to go, not knowing where to start. After having taken a moment to calm yourself, prioritized, and taking action on that top priority, you now have a direction, and have already started, so you no longer have that feeling of being lost. Now it’s not a matter of “What do I do?”, it’s simply a matter of continuing your momentum in the direction that you are already headed.
Maintaining that momentum is so much easier than getting started… just keep moving and the end comes closer and closer. Actually getting things done is almost never the hard part. That is almost always reserved for getting started. The steps above should take care of that hardest part and have you back to normal, momentum in place, in no time.