So many of us don’t realise it but we keep piling on the pressure and the thoughts until we reach the point of feeling overwhelmed. It’s a very tough place to be mentally as it feels like we have no escape and the pressure starts to weigh us down. If left unchecked we will eventually burn out and feel anxious or highly emotional. As time goes on that built up energy is going to manifest in other ways. We can become highly charged and irritable or we may even become numb and depressed. To much information for our minds is exhausting. We have to find a way to calm our minds and focus our thoughts on what’s important.
Think of the brain as a glass and our thoughts are the water coming from the tap. If we leave the water running it will start to overflow. This is when the feeling of being overwhelmed takes over. Our thoughts have become to much and our brains can’t handle it anymore so it spills out in other ways.
Today I want to give you 5 tips to help release the feeling of being overwhelmed. Simple targeted techniques, that though simple, are effective. I recommend everyone starts with tip one then choose the others that best suit you.
1 Write down your thoughts
Take a blank piece of paper and just start to write down everything on your mind. Make a list of all the thoughts in your head and get them on paper. Writing things down makes things more tangible and gives a feeling of release. It is like you have been able to place them from your mind onto the paper and leave them there.
Look down the list and mark 3 things that are actually important for you to get done. The rest you can just let go. You will find that most of the things on the list when written down in front of you seem so much less of a burden.
2 Get Moving
The feeling of being overwhelmed is also a build up of energy in our body. If we sit in that place static, the energy has to go somewhere. Usually leading to anxiety. Anxiety is often when the mind is working so hard with worry and thoughts that it puts the body in a state of flight or fight. The brain perceives that all this energy in the body must mean the we are in danger of some kind.
Get rid of the energy and he mind will clear. Go for a run or to the gym. Play a sport with friends or a dance class. Walk in nature and breath deeply. Keep going until you feel a bit tired or worked out. This is when you have released enough pent up energy.
3 Meditate and breath deep.
When overwhelmed our thoughts have built up and become so strong there is just too much to be able to see clearly. Meditation is a way of training the mind to focus on one thing at a time.
You don’t need long. Studies have shown as little as 10 minutes has a profound effect. I have felt the benefits of meditation and I intend to add it to my daily routine very soon again. There are many great apps out there. I really like headspace. It’s simple but effective.
Focus on your breath and note when your mind wonders. When it does go back to the breath. Be easy and don’t feel wrong if your mind wonders. Everyone’s does!!
Breath deep into the belly. Most of us only shallow breath. Image yourself when you are fully relaxed. Would you take short sharp breaths or long deep ones. The answer is long deep ones ha!
Breath deep and that action will trick the mind back into a relaxed state. Our bodies are holistic. You can use the body to effect the mind and the mind to effect the body. Remember this.
4 Focus on the present moment
When our minds our full to the brim we are mostly thinking about the past and future. Thinking of all the things we should have done and should do. This is a one way track to feeling overwhelmed. Focus on the present moment now and ask yourself am I safe in this moment. If you are, then great, enjoy that feel of being present.
What ever task you need to get done, put your full attention on it. No matter how small. It could be brushing your teeth. Focus intently on just brushing your teeth. Don’t think, “I have to do this and that..etc”
Being present again allows your mind to stay focus on one thing. To many things to think about is what we are trying to stop.
5 Practise gratitude.
I can hear you all now..
“How is being grateful gonna stop me being overwhelmed!?”
Trust me on this one. We have to break the cycle of excessive thoughts and channel our brains in a different direction. Focusing on our grateful aspects of life not only achieves this but also brings our body out of the flight or fight reaction.
When we feel truly grateful we cannot also feel worried or frightened or what ever is leading our brains to overthink. In a place of gratitude everything looks rosey and our minds and bodies can relax. Gratitude is the strongest emotion for creating lasting change in us and our life. Practice it daily and become the master of gratitude. Watch how life seems to magically change from that place.
As with everything I teach. Give it time and your brain will change. It will stop excessive thinking and become laser focused on the positive aspects of your life.
Bonus : Reduce social media and increase sleep
Social media has its place but wow, it is addictive. Are you someone who constantly refreshes their pages waiting for the next boost of dopamine. Or hunts for likes and the feeling of approval it brings. Then you need a break for a while. Life is a lot simpler than we make it out to be. When we give our brains space to just be then we learn to relax and deal with our thoughts. The constant bombardment of information that comes from social media never gives us a chance to let our brains relax. The constant comparison to over people’s perceived happiness also doesn’t help. Many people only show what they want on social media to show a perception of a perfect life. No ones life is perfect. We can only learn to have more good days than bad.
Never go on social media just before bed. The bright light tricks the brain into believing it is daytime so it doesn’t release our sleeping hormones. Then this lack of sleep means our brains are having to work hard to have the energy to think clearly, let alone run our whole body automatically.
Read a book or meditate before bed, just relax and let you body rest properly. You will feel the clarity of what a good night sleep can bring. Remember everyday we wake up a new. We have a fresh start.
I hope these tips helped and remember you’ve got this. Change only comes from within, just start and see what the journey brings.
Aka Confidence Coach