Sea of Overwhelm

Firstly overwhelm is normal, you’re human and pretty much everyone experiences it in some way, shape or form.

The thing is everyone has different skills, capabilities, perceptions and language they use for describing their ‘experience’ of it. Regardless of the perception, it’s the impact that is the problem, because it’s can be debilitating, slowing down our ability to take action, function, decision-maker, communicate and problem solve, not to mention the impact on our strategic thinking skills.

At work, overwhelm can be a disaster, reducing you to a state of barely functioning, instead of being pumped up and on fire, performing at your peak.

So what is overwhelm?

In terms of emotions, it’s when something causes someone to feel a sudden strong emotion.

Imagine for a moment, if you knew you were in charge of the way you feel and you could actually reduce the amount of overwhelm you felt, even if the same external situations were going on around you, yet your response was different, your reactions could change and you could feel differently. Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Well, they can (your reactions can change) and you can (feel different). Really. Truly. And life will still go on, the work pressures will still be there, the challenges and hurdles yet, you’ll handle it differently…

Here are the 4 hints to help you handle the sea of overwhelm:

1. Work out what your triggers are?

What is the very first thing that sets you off? Is it often something that you see, something that you hear or maybe something that you touch. For example, you see someone’s name on an email in your inbox (it triggers a memory of a past event), you hear a certain voice or a sound/statement (it makes you question yourself and whether you’re good enough)… that sets you off? Or do you step onto a crowded bus or train? (These steps set off a sense of dread) What’s your trigger? Then what happens next? What is it you think about? Is it something that’s important to you that’s not happening? Or is it triggering a memory, a past decision, is it something that goes against a belief you have or triggers a lack of belief within you?

2. Why does it trigger?

Deep inside, you need to ask yourself, why is this a problem for me? What is being triggered deep down? That is what creates the emotional response, the sense of sadness, anger, overwhelm, frustration. Then you’ll have a physiological response, a behaviour occurs, like the sagging of the shoulders, the feeling of dread within the stomach, the faster breathing. So is it triggering because you’re doubting, not feeling good enough, have the imposter syndrome going on, are you comparing yourself, are you judging yourself? Are you worried about missing out, not being part of something? What is important here, that is being questioned? What is it that you believe about yourself… or not yet?

3. Ask yourself “How do I ‘do’ overwhelm?

So you’ve seen something, heard something, touched/felt something, then you’ve had an internal sense of ‘something’ which is going against a belief, value or past decision perhaps, which then creates an emotional response, then you do the overwhelm thing by ‘breathing faster, dropping the shoulders, getting the feeling of dread in the stomach”….? Is there anything else? What’s your way of ‘doing’ it, we all have a strategy as to how we do it… so guess what?! We can choose to do it differently.

4. Make your choice!

Rather than choosing to do it the old way you’ve done overwhelm in the past, what could be your new way (your new strategy)?

– To breathe deeply and calmly for a minute
– To reframe the belief that you’ve previously had (about the person on the email, the sound you’ve heard, or riding the train – or naturally whatever it is for you)
– To know that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have
– To believe that ‘it is not the event itself, but the meaning we give it’.
– To limit the ‘situations’ that set you off when and where you can. For example, Facebook is one of my triggers, so I’ve stopped scrolling.

Say to yourself: I can, I will and I am (add here…being calm, in control, riding the journey of life)

Get your “Wonder Woman” post on, thinking and acting tall, strong and powerful can help enormously in times of pressure.

Get the music on and change your state.

You have the ability to choose differently. So please do. You’ll feel a heck of a lot better. And you’ll find yourself getting through a lot more at work, without taking on all the ‘noise’ and ‘stuff’ that is going on around you quite so personally.


Comments are closed.