By Dr. Alok Trivedi
Maybe you’ve got too much going on at school or work. Maybe you’re going through a tough time in your personal life. Or, perhaps you’re facing an especially tough time with your health or finances. Whatever the case, chances are you could be feeling overwhelmed and it’s directly impacting everything else in your life. How do you spot the signs and get your balance back?
1. Identify your triggers:
Becoming overwhelmed is a gradual state. From overcommitment to just plain spreading yourself too thin, coping with overwhelming feelings starts with identifying the triggers of your negative feelings. Know that there is a course of action you follow to end up overwhelmed. There is also an alternative course of action you follow to end up at peace.
2. Step away from the stimuli:
It may be a project that spun out of control, or a relationship that seems to be just too much to handle. Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to just step away for a little while. A little distance allows you to clear your mind and see the big picture with more clarity. Revisiting the situation lets you determine if the stress of it all is worth the outcome.
3. Deep breathing is a good start:
You may be familiar with the old adage of counting to 10 when you feel overly stressed and anxious. This may be a more common tactic for children to calm down, but it still works its magic for adults too. If anxiety is growing and you can feel a negative energy building, don’t hesitate to just close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out a few times. The key is to breathe in through the diaphragm (stomach area) and slowly out through the mouth. Something this simple allows you to calm yourself from the spiral of negativity, and get back to a more balanced state of mind.
4. Incorporate breaks into your routines:
More often than not feelings of being overwhelmed come from continuous exposure to a stressor. Be sure to include breaks in your work schedule no matter how busy you are to allow for the tension to subside. There is nothing wrong with working hard, but remember to leave time for play, too. Prioritizing play is important for your brain, body and soul to enjoy the work you are doing.
5. Create balance between heart, mind and body:
Health and wellness is a multifaceted concept. To best cope with stressful situations you must have a handle of your physical, emotional and mental health. If one of these is thrown off balance, you need to bring it into alignment in order to avoid a negative outcome for your health and anxiety levels.
6. Check in with your health:
Your health is a perfect indicator of how you handle stress and your lifestyle. When too much anxiety is present, your health suffers. Don’t forget to get enough sleep, and eat a healthy and diverse diet to keep negative feelings at bay. Try and eliminate sugar and processed foods and focus on consuming more fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins into your diet. Don’t forget to get enough exercise each day as well.
7. Always seek ways to better manage your stress:
The best way to cope with feelings of being overwhelmed is to lessen the stress in your life. This can be achieved different ways for different people. Some may need extra vacations, while others may need a relaxation period at the end of each day. Feel free to explore the options which best fit your lifestyle and stress level.
Dr. Alok Trivedi is a psychological performance coach, human behavior expert and the founder of the Aligned Performance Institute.