Overwhelm-Busting Strategies

How do you know if you are dealing with overwhelm?  What are the symptoms?  The definition of overwhelm is to upset or overthrow.  Symptoms of overwhelm can be physical (nail biting, clumsiness, neck ache); psychological (forgetfulness, rudeness, defensiveness); social (poor hygiene, inadequate boundaries); or spiritual (loss of sense of purpose, unsure of what’s important). Its triggers are just as individual: a deadline, a certain tone of voice, change.

Noticing these symptoms and triggers is like setting off the two-minute warning buzzer—giving you time to implement your proven intervention techniques.  When you begin to notice your particular symptoms and/or triggers, write down all the nurturing things you can think of that you can do when overwhelm begins to visit.  Use the list to remind yourself of things that have worked for you in the past.  They’ll help you reconnect, re-collect and re-focus your energy.  Keep a copy with you and one at home. Here are just a few suggestions. Be as creative as you want.

  • Remember the breath’s metaphor: Let in; let go.
  • Dance alone, with or without music. Let the music lead the way.
  • Listen to violin, cello or piano music.
  • Light a candle. Maybe it’s one small candle at your work desk or lots of candles around your house.
  • Watch a funny video. Laughter has a positive effect on brain chemistry.
  • Ask for help. It’s a gift that allows others the opportunity to give.
  • Go for a walk. Exercise increases adrenaline and endorphins, the body’s natural antidepressants.
  • Sing to yourself. Or hum quietly as you work.

A practice can keep you calm during those times when overwhelm wants to scatter your emotions to the wind.  Here are some practices you can start today:

  • Say a prayer each morning to greet the day.
  • List at least 10 things you are grateful for. Meditate on the list.
  • Write in a journal as fast as you can for 15 minutes first thing in the morning without editing or judging. Pour it all out on paper.

Regularly repeated, these practices are best cultivated in times when things are going well so that they are there to sustain you when you get overwhelmed.



WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Wallette V. McCall is an author, speaker, and life coach for women in life transition.  Wallette publishes the “Breakthrough to Change” monthly Ezine on how to thrive in the midst of change at: www.AnotherLevelCoaching.com


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