Tackling Overwhelm

Tackling Overwhelm

Author: Fini Cooper

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

Below are some tips to help with overwhelm, either in the moment or on a more long-term basis.

1. Identify your triggers and get to know them

When we react with very strong emotion to something that appears to be small, we are not reacting to this specific incident. It is our nervous system reacting to something that mirrors or relates to a past event that caused us significant pain, or that we were too young to process properly at the time, especially if no one taught us how to.

Start becoming aware of when you react strongly to something, and get curious. Take a pen and paper and try to unpack an event in your past that could be influencing the strong reaction now. The more you do this, the more conscious you become in the moment, enabling you to pause and understand.

2. Practice down-regulating breathing techniques

Breathing techniques allow us to directly calm the nervous system, moving us into a parasympathetic state. This also reduces our heart rate, blood pressure, and aids digestion. Try 15 minutes every morning and evening and notice the difference.

3. Allocate a relaxing/reflective time period each week

If you are someone who often feels overwhelmed, it's vital that you take time to yourself each week to be quiet and calm. This could look like reading, getting out into nature (no phone), listening to music, taking some really long baths. Most people think they "don't have time" to take for themselves. Trust me, if you don't make time for you, your body will eventually force you to.

4. Do a visual meditation

Visualising yourself as calm in a peaceful environment, such as a forest, can also really help to calm the nervous system and mind.

5. Grounding

Actually getting outside, taking off your shoes and feeling your feet on the earth is an excellent way to get you out of your head, and electrically connect you to the earth. It's also thought to shift your nervous system from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state.

6. Write it down

Journaling is a great way to unpack your thoughts when they feel unmanageable. Just get out a notepad and continuously write -- it will make you feel better without doubt. It's also a good idea to write out specific things that are stressing you out, and separate them into categories of importance, or time sensitivity. Once written out, things that seemed immense often induce much less fear.

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