Introduction For Overcoming Overwhelm

Photo of an overwhelming scene of rushing people Feelings of overwhelm can threaten your happiness and your relationships.

When you take on more than you can handle, your body reacts with elevated stress levels.

Often it results in you being short with other people. You may also forget to eat as you focus on getting your list done.

Eventually, you may develop other mental health issues if you keep putting yourself through the same paces without any break.  

The three principal areas of overwhelm are:

  1. The physical world coming in on you
  2. Thoughts that take charge and dazzle us with their constant distractions
  3. Feelings and emotions such as fear, grief, and loss.

My Own Personal Experience with Overcoming Overwhelm

I can give you an example from my own recent experience with my eyes. I need cataract surgery for my left eye. But the optometrist also found the start of macular degeneration. 

As I thought of my mother who slowly lost her eyesight to the disease, the past came rushing in.  

Soon after I learned I had a 2-year wait to see the specialist. 

More overwhelm and with fear coming in.

Next thing I know I had flashes of light in my left eye. 

To calm myself, I hall out the tools that have always served me. Positive affirmations, gratitude, and meditation on my breath.

Taking away the fear, and catastrophic thinking restore my calm.

That’s why the tools are important.

And below we will outline  the 7 helpful tips that will help you deal with any feelings of overwhelm when they appear 

Now before I go on you might be interested in my Be Inspired page where you will find my Sunday Affirmations each week. Click on the button below and give us a thumbs up to join other Be-Inspired Enthusiasts.

1 Overcoming Overwhelm You Emotions Are Natural

posterFeelings of overwhelm are often a sign from your body that it is time to slow down and scale back. You can also control your feelings, so addressing this feeling and replacing it with better ones is possible.

“Most people’s minds are almost always too busy for them to feel their skins being caressed by the wind or the sun.”

Action step iconSlow Down and Breathe: When you feel anxious and overwhelmed, you may sense your heart racing, and your breathing becomes shallow. Instead of giving into hyperventilating, stop what you are doing and start taking long, deep calming breaths. There are many different techniques. Find one that works for you and put it in your arsenal.

One of my favorite breathing exercises is:

Breathing in I calm my (name the feeling) Breathing out. I take care of my(name the feeling) Fill in the blank for your situation.

Source from  The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching: by Thich Nhat Hanh

2 Overcoming Overwhelm It Isn't the End of the World

Poster about overcoming overwhelmThis is part of life. The good news is that you can stop the feelings of overwhelm by recognizing it for what it is and taking proactive steps to prevent the cycle from happening.

Awareness is the key to spotting the source of overwhelm. Remember there are only 3 key areas of overwhelm: The outside world, our run-away thoughts, and our emotions or feelings. 

Once you spot those we can work on overcoming overwhelm. 


I am strong enough to handle anything!

“Never be ashamed of how you feel. You have the right to feel any emotion you want and do what makes you happy.”

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5 Step Formula For Overcoming Overwhelm

1 Spot the source of the overwhelm. Example: too many demands on your time. Fill in between the brackets your particular feeling of overwhelm. Then say  “I know that this overwhelm (of too many demands) is in me.”

2 Accept. Denying just increases the power of the overwhelm. Say: “I accept that I am overwhelmed (by too many demands on me).”

3 Embrace. Instead of rejecting or suppressing or trying to cope, say. “I embrace this (fill in your overwhelm) with love and compassion for myself.

4 Look Deeply. When we regain our calm center we look to find where the overwhelm came from, and what triggered it, so we can better understand its nature. This is a good place to write down your thoughts.

5 Insight. Watch for insight into how to handle the situation in the future. These insights will automatically arise from using this formula.



3 Overcoming Overwhelm Now is a good time for a brain dump:

Poster about overcoming overwhelmOverwhelm leaves our minds cluttered. By writing down all of the things, you need to do or feel, you are alleviating some of the mental energy you have had to expend keeping it all in.

Don’t play around…write it down. 


Until those thoughts have been clarified and those decisions made, and the resulting data has been stored in a system that you absolutely know you will check as often as you need to, your brain can’t give up the job.

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 The Merriam-Webster Dictionary a brain dump is the act or an instance of comprehensively and uncritically expressing and recording one’s thoughts and ideas (as on a particular topic).

I keep a brain dump journal. As I get ideas, thoughts, emotions, and to-do items I jot them down in my journal. Nothing fancy.

 This allows me to stay focused on the task at hand and prevents me from getting distracted by chasing down every thought as it occurs. It’s also a way to declutter when you are overwhelmed by the spinning wheel of thoughts. 

Do you know what I mean? Those thoughts churning around as you are trying to sleep. Or the constant replay of an incident that’s upset you. 
Book Recommendation
This is a great book to read to help you conquer overwhelm. 

4 Overcoming Overwhelm Take action instead of wallowing in your thoughts

Poster on overcoming overwhelm

Action breeds more movement and will propel you out of your feelings of overwhelm. Additionally, new opportunities will crop up to help you chip away at your project.

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”

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Start with a small step and keep it simple. 

Decide on One Small Step You Can Take Right Now:

Look over your list, and decide on a tiny thing you can do at that moment, and do it.

Maybe your first step is making a list. (Sometimes it is the simplest things that we overlook.)

One of my own biggest overwhelms were my notes. I had them scattered over many different platforms and physical notebooks. 

After slugging away at this for far too long, I resolved to put everything into only two places. OneNote Microsofts note keep the app and Remnote an app for keeping smart notes. 

Once you accomplish your first step, pat yourself on the back and choose another task.

With each one, you slowly tackle those items that have been weighing you down.

Also, you reinforce to yourself that you can get things done.  

5 Overcoming Overwhelm Avoiding digital stimulation is the better choice

Poster graphic about overwhelm

Getting lost in social media will only leave you feeling worse when you realize you lost time to work.

Notifications can leave you in a constant state of panic. Remember that it is okay to turn off notifications for periods of time and focus on what you need to get done.

“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life.”

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There is nothing wrong with Social Media Except…

Losing control of how much time we lose when we get caught up in social media. 

The swipe-up syndrome is particularly debilitating. You know, those sites like Instagram and Tik Tok that slide you from one short to another?

They grab hold of your curiosity. What’s coming next? 

Social media distracts you from the task at hand. You find yourself getting behind on your tasks. And overwhelm sets in. 

The best way to use social media is to schedule it as a reward for getting your tasks done. 



6 Overcoming Overwhelm Stepping outside is a good thing

Poster on overcoming overwhelm

You do not have to be tied to your desk and laser-focused on what needs doing. Give your body the break it deserves to help you reset and recharge.

"When you truly sing, you sing yourself free. When you truly dance, you dance yourself free. When you walk in the mountains or swim in the sea, again, you set yourself free."

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As I write this article I stop and take a break after finishing each one of these sections.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by how many sections I have left to do, I step outside to do something different for a moment.

Before I started this section I went outside to clean our outside table. I got a chance to reconnect with nature, the trees the lawn, and the sunshine. 

A very simple exercise for overcoming overwhelm is to go for a walk, even if just around the block, and notice things. Really look at the trees, listen to the sound, and feel the breeze on your face. 

7 Overcoming Overwhelm You have been here before

Post on Overcoming Overwhelm

More than likely, you have felt this way before. It won’t last, and you can shorten the timeframe by being proactive.

Remember at the beginning we said only 3 things cause overwhelm:

The outside world. Our thoughts Our feelings and emotions.

Chances are we will feel similar feelings of overwhelm often in the course of our lives. 

We all experience overwhelm you are not alone. 

It is not a reflection of character or ability.

Always remember the proverb: "This too shall pass." Your negative feelings won't last forever, there's a light at the end of every tunnel. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but you'll

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 In this article, we’ve suggested exercises and strategies for overcoming overwhelm. 

Don’t focus on things you cannot control, this is a waste of time, energy, and emotions.

If you can do something about a situation, then take action. However, if you cannot, why not relax and let worry slip away.

With experience and conscious effort, your ability to deal more quickly with that sense of overwhelm when it comes up will increase.

Book Recommendation:

The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing by Ester and Jerry Hicks

Next Steps to Overcoming Overwhelm

 We tend to react to being overwhelmed as if it’s some character flaw. Here is what not to do when you feel overwhelmed.

1. You believe that you do not have time to do different things that will help you
2. You force your mind to focus without breaks
3. To you, feeling overwhelmed is a sign of weakness
4. You withdraw into your shell

Recognize that none of these things is true.

Then find the best tool or exercise that works best for you and use it for overcoming overwhelm.


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Further Resources

My name is Nick Grimshawe. I help people seeking to live extraordinary lives to use the tools of affirmations, gratitude, mindfulness, and Meditation to live the life they envision.

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