5 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now If You're Feeling OverwhelmedNone By Homaira Kabir
It’s no secret that the pace of change today has exceeded our wildest imaginations. Millenia have collapsed into decades, and centuries have merged into days. And yet, little has changed in our neurobiology—we’re still operating in the 21st century with the brains of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. That we’re overwhelmed should come as no surprise!
At a neural level, overwhelm happens when the information coming at us exceeds our capacity to process it. This initiates the classic "fight, flight or freeze" response, our trusted tool to face all challenges. However, given that information overload, fast-approaching deadlines and having too much on our plates are not life-or-death situations, let's expand our toolbox and include more helpful strategies to deal with those feelings of overwhelm.
Here are five that can help you instantly feel calmer and more centered.
Take Back Control
When the present moment seems out of control, we try and escape it by living in the future. That’s when we begin to imagine a different job, a dreamy holiday, a utopian life. None of it changes reality though, and often makes it even more difficult to deal with it. A much better strategy would be to create pools of positivity in the present moment. What can you do right now to take back control of your life? Something as simple as getting a haircut, calling up a friend for lunch, or buying a lavender-scented candle on the way home for a relaxing bath can give you that much-needed sense of control.
Mind Your Language
When we’re overwhelmed, we begin to engage in unhelpful thinking styles that distort reality. We begin to talk to ourselves in “musts” and “shoulds”, thus adding to the overwhelm. Instead, it would help to change our self-talk to gentler words such as “want” and “choose” that make us feel in charge and help us maintain perspective. Think about it: what would motivate you to complete a project at work? “I