Overwhelm happens when our minds override our thoughtful, conscious response to a situation, causing distress and various negative emotions that block us from clarity. It is a form of avoidance and is essentially the opposite of mindfulness.
Without the clarity to approach issues that normally pop up in our daily lives, we succumb to negative emotions, potentially leading us towards more negative actions. The fallout from being overwhelmed can also extend to our social and professional lives. Becoming reclusive, anxious, and ineffective are some of the common symptoms of this.
When you feel like you’re losing control of yourself, you are likely to act impulsively and react out of fear and negativity, which isn’t a good place to be coming from.
When feeling overwhelmed catches up on us like sunset taking over daytime, we shouldn’t lose hope. Know that there are various ways to manage this very human tendency and feeling. Overcoming it requires viewing all inputs in perspective and knowing how to deal with them in the most logical way.
When you’re about to burst at the seams or feel paralyzed from anxiety, practicing mindfulness is one effective antidote. It’s also something you can do anytime or anywhere.
What is Mindfulness Really?
Mindfulness is a mental state. Its power lies in enabling anyone to calmly acknowledge and accept whatever is going on as it is happening. Mindfulness may not be the sole solution to our problems, but it can provide a perfect space for us to ease our minds.
Often used as a therapeutic technique, mindfulness offers several health benefits. It is relatively simple but also powerfully capable of changing our relationship with the source of our stress.
How Mindfulness Can Help with Feeling Overwhelmed
Being overwhelmed can feel like a helpless situation. But here’s the truth. It’s not so much what happens to you, but how you respond to it that really matters. In other words, it’s very possible that some people will find your situation to be manageable, while others will feel challenged yet rise to it.
We all have different perspectives, and some people more easily succumb to stressful situations than others. Some people become overwhelmed more easily than others, too.
When you’re in a tough spot, seeing things from a different perspective is always beneficial. Objectivity is a skill that can be learned and practiced. It is usually what is needed to see things from a more positive place, where you can think more positively, or with hope at least. From this space you can act more intentionally, dealing with a problem intentionally instead of reactively.
Through mindfulness, we create that space for thoughtful planning on how to approach situations, most especially, unfortunate or unwanted ones. Mindfulness allows us to recognize a situation or event as being potentially overwhelming but choosing not to be overwhelmed by it.
Instead of succumbing to the mental fog or angry reactions that are common responses to overwhelm, pull back and view the experience as if from a third-party perspective. Make choices as if you were guiding a good friend. Don’t deny your feelings or hide from them, which is what your reactive responses would have you do. Do what you can, accept your limitations, and keep going.
Mindfulness creates a mental space conducive to increased creativity as well. Creativity helps us to become innovative and find solutions. Practicing mindfulness is giving yourself that chance to pause and choose your response, so you can ease your anxiety and overwhelming feelings.
The truth is, we always have that choice. No matter what the situation looks like, we can usually choose our response. But the feeling of being overwhelmed takes that freedom away from us. Mindfulness puts us back where we should be standing and seeing things, empowering us to say no to stress and be guided with greater clarity.