Strategies to Overcome Overwhelm
The way we live our lives in these modern times means that we can often find ourselves feeling overwhelmed. We have many hats to wear and plates to juggle but this all seems to become intensified at this time of year. When you are overwhelmed you are extremely stressed, you have exceeded your own ability to cope and you start to actually become less efficient and productive. Another problem with being in such a heightened level of stress is that it puts physical pressure on your body not just affecting your ability to think creatively and find solutions. Our bodies were not designed to live under this prolonged exposure to stress hormones. The stress reaction should be short term in response to a perceived threat to our physical well being, they help you run from danger. But the continuous presence of these hormones causes damage to our bodies. For this reason, it’s really important to recognise when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed and to have strategies that when you apply them, help you to find your inner calm.
Below are some suggestions, give them a try and find one, two or even five that work for you because what works for someone else may not work for you.
The thing about breathing is that most of us do it wrong. When you see a baby when they breathe their stomach moves up and down very obviously. As we grow and life becomes ever more stressful and sedentary we start to breathe much more shallowly and stop using our lungs to their capacity. This means we don’t take in enough oxygen with each breath and that will adversely affect our bodies.
The good news is that you can train your body to breathe properly again, with some practice. However for now we are breathing to create more calm in your body and mind. So take 5 and;
- Either sit in a comfortable seat, shoulders back, back straight and open up your chest or lie down.
- Take a slow deep breath in through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand fully
- Breath out slowly, completely
- Repeat for 2 to 3 minutes making sure you focus on your breath and keep yourself present in the moment
There are many different breathing techniques such as box breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, Diaphragmatic breathing which you can also try.
Take a walk
Walking is very therapeutic and useful for destressing. Channel your emotions into the steps you take and help yourself find inner calm. Be present and mindful of the steps you are taking and help your mind to slow down. When you focus on something simple as your steps it helps your body to come out of its perpetual fight-or-flight state.
Walking has great health benefits both physically and mentally. Taking a walk will help boost your energy and your mood because it influences neurotransmitters in your brain. So even a short brisk walk will do wonders. Research has shown that a brisk walk can improve creativity, decision making and sharpen reaction time. So take some time, even as little as 10 minutes, to go for a walk and help your brain become more creative and help you find a way out of overwhelm.
Get in the Shower
Water has such a positive effect on our bodies. Having a shower will help you relax as the water relaxes your muscles and improves blood flow. A steamy warm shower will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, so slowing down heart rate, breathing rate to help you relax. The sound of running water also serves as white noise which is relaxing too.
Write it down
Getting things down on paper will get them out of your head, write it all out not just your to-do list but the anxiety, the worries and anything else that comes up. It will help to work through your feelings and frustrations while helping you to create space so you can focus and pick out your priorities. Writing it all down will also mean that you don’t have to worry about forgetting things that can be taken care of later.
So whether you want to make journaling part of your routine or just once a while technique, give it a go and see how it works for you.
Get out of the Room
Change the environment you are in and take on a simple task that you can do without thought e.g. wiping surfaces, sweeping, something with repetitive movement and focus on that. The distraction in this way can help you calm down and create space for you to think more creatively and come up with solutions. Distracting your brain from the cause of stress is an effective technique because when you are overwhelmed your brain doesn’t function effectively, it actually shuts down, in away, due to the stress hormones your body is releasing. So by distracting yourself and calming down you reduce your stress.
The benefits of meditation have been studied and documented, both mentally and physically. Studies have shown that meditation can alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It enhances self-awareness and self-perception. Studies have even shown that meditating can help bring blood pressure down. The more regular your meditation routine is the better the benefits but any meditation will help.
So take 15-20 min (or whatever time you have) to either do a guided meditation, there are plenty of apps that have free ones available, or just sit in a space where you won’t be disturbed to quieten your mind. Focus on your breath and let the world around you melt away.
Do Some Exercise
I mentioned walking already but other forms of exercise will work just as well. The great thing is that whatever form of exercise you choose will help, whether it’s a HIIT workout or gentle yoga routine, your body will release endorphins and help you to feel better. So try different exercises; running, workouts, pilates, yoga, dance or maybe trampolining, just give it a go and see how it feels.
The list above is not exhaustive there are other activities to try as well as many different healing modalities that can help you. I am going to list a few below that you can take a look at.
- Grounding exercise
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping
- Visualisation Excercise
- Aromatherapy oils
Just remember what works for one person may not work for another so sometimes we have to try a few things a few times in slightly different ways to find what actually works for us. So don’t be quick to dismiss it the first time, sometimes all you need is a little practice.
Shereen is a scientist turned mindset expert, specialising in helping women find their inner happy! After completing a masters in Medical Microbiology and working as a researcher for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, she found her true purpose helping overwhelmed women find inner peace, purpose and another way of life.
She teaches women that life doesn’t have to be
❌ a struggle
❌ a sacrifice
❌ about putting others first
Happiness isn’t about
❌ looking to other people
❌ being perfect
❌ feeling ecstatic all the time
It’s about finding INNER peace, a way to be with your own thoughts without fear, without worry, without your mind moving a million miles an hour.
Before you can change your life, you need to change your thoughts. It’s not about the big changes but taking small steps in the right direction.
It’s a noisy world out there, there are so many coaches shouting their message at you, Shereen is not loud, she’s not bold, she’s all about bringing the calm into the chaos. AND she’s all about breaking through the noise, the bull to give you the SCIENCE behind your happiness.