Overwhelm Happens To Us All

It’s safe to say that every person in the world knows what it’s like to be overwhelmed at one point or another. Some people live lives where overwhelm seems to be the norm. Maybe that can be chalked up to being busier than ever as a society in general. Or it could be chalked up to personal habits that continue to lead to chaos and overwhelm. It can also be about repeatedly saying YES to something or someone when you really want to say NO to that request.

But regardless of the reason, when overwhelm hits, your stress levels rise and your body reacts with the same hormones that you get when you experience the stressful “fight or flight” feeling.

Living in that overwhelm state isn’t optimal. It leads you towards that downward spiral into chronic health conditions and moves the needle away from your wellness and more towards dis-ease.

Overcoming Overwhelm With Mindfulness

You can reduce overwhelm by allowing mindfulness to take over instead. Mindfulness allows you to see what’s actually happening. It’s really about getting honest with yourself. It’s about getting honest with your emotions, feelings, and thoughts. And most importantly, this is done in a non-judgmental way.
This means that you become aware of your emotions and any thoughts that are driving what you do. You take the time to focus on the present moment and discover what’s at the root of what you’re doing.
Your actions are really driven by your thoughts.  Conscious or not, your thoughts  have influence over what you ultimately do–what action you take. Your actions produce the results that you get in your life. So the big picture looks like this:  The results in your life are directly related to your thoughts. The good news is this:
Examine your thoughts to get better results from life.
For example, are you taking on too many projects because you have workaholic tendencies, want to please everyone and maybe you tie who you are into what you do? Once you see what’s really happening, you’ll recognize the thoughts that lead to your emotions. The emotions contribute to or cause the overwhelm from your inability or unwillingness to say NO and instead say YES to every request that comes your way, resulting in guess what? OVERWHELM!

Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings

Emotions are not always comfortable. Consequently, people shy away from wanting to allow these feelings to simply ‘be’. Some of these underlying emotions that people have difficulty with include anxiety, fear, shame or depression. It can be uncomfortable or downright painful to experience these negative emotions. With the practice of mindfulness, you are a curious investigator, noticing and experiencing all emotions for just a bit.

Mindfulness calls for you to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings but not hold on to them. You acknowledge and then release. When you’re acknowledging these thoughts and feelings, you do so with compassion. This reduces the overwhelm that you would normally feel. You become a curious observer. The thoughts roll past you as if on a movie screen. It may be helpful to remember the acronym, RAIN

Let it RAIN on your parade!

R=Recognize. Become aware of what’s going on. “Here I am again thinking I can’t do this.”

A=Accept. Rather than shaming yourself, accept with kindness to yourself that this is going on. “I’m simply afraid I will fail again.”

I=Investigate. What feelings can you identify in your body when you have these thoughts? What images are coming up?

N=Nonidentify. You want to tell yourself that these thoughts and feelings are not you. They are simply passing through. Allow them to roll past your inner movie screen and know that you have a choice to respond to them. . . . or not!

When you let mindfulness take over, you can deal with the thoughts and feelings that  have previously dictated your actions and therefore your results.  Mindfulness teaches you how to stop the train of overwhelm and see yourself with honesty. You are more than your thoughts.  You are worthy,  you are valued, and you deserve compassion.

What’s been your biggest nugget from this mindfulness article? Honestly, I would be thrilled for you to leave your nugget in the comments below.