Seven Ways to Overcome Overwhelm. Yes, My Friend, You Can Win the Battle!
“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.”~Paulo Coelho
Overwhelm. What do you think? Can it be used as a noun? Doesn’t it perfectly describe the state of mind we experience when our life seems like a complete, out-of-control hot mess? Almost every dictionary in print categorizes the word as a verb. Yet overwhelm is an all-too-familiar condition that happens when circumstances seem to stack up against us. We may feel completely over our head, unable to think our way out of a paper bag. I can’t think of a better word for describing those spells when we experience debilitating mental and emotional chaos. Can you? And we’ve all been there from time to time.
So the bigger question is not grammatical, it’s tactical. How do we think and act so we can move out of that ugly mental state? Are stress and overwhelm unavoidable and something we can’t control? Or, do we have the power to change our state of mind and navigate more smoothly through those tough times? The way we handle these situations has a major effect on our health and well-being. Yes, there will always be times in our life when we face exceptionally difficult issues but then there are the stretches when each issue is small but produce the feeling of “death by a thousand paper cuts.” Either way, it’s important to learn the best tools for coping with them.
The good news? There are things we CAN control and do to help us overcome overwhelm!
Three Great Ways to Outwit Overwhelm
One. Take a good look, a step back, and a deep breath. Look familiar? Yep, you’ve been here before even though the characters are different. Think back on your track record of getting through tough times. Pretty good so far, right? You’ve slayed many dragons and overcome many obstacles. You did it before, you can do it again. And think what your missteps and hardships have taught you! Mistakes and failures are the best teachers and often we achieve our greatest accomplishments only at what seemed like an endless road of trials!
Two. It’s not what happens to us but how we respond that matters. When problems come along, face them squarely and take action. Do what you can with what you have, right now, where you are. “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it’s hard.” Even small steps in the right direction can get you back on track quicker than you think!
Three. Hang out with the right people. They say misery loves company but hanging out with those who just want to woe-is-us and wring hands along side you aren’t the kind of people you need in the tough times. You need to spend time with people who love you, want good things for you and believe in you. People like that can encourage you, especially fellow “overcomers” who have seen their share of struggle and triumphed. They are out there, find them and stick with them!
Three More Weapons Against Overwhelm
Four. Repeat after me. “This too shall pass.” In the history of the world there have been unimaginable horrors, the likes of which we will thankfully never see. And you know what? Every one of them ended. Every one. Wars, famines, epidemics. When we compare them to the things that are troubling us, our problems seem much smaller and they will all end, too, or be resolved. This too shall pass is one of the most useful mantras there is. And you know what else? Some problems are five year issues but many are, in truth, just five day or even five minute difficulties. Don’t confuse them.
Five. Get outside you. Nothing works better to take your focus off your problems than helping someone with bigger problems. Nothing. In 90 seconds of looking outside your window you will see people with much bigger difficulties than you are facing and even in your present situation, you can help someone. Is your problem financial? If you can’t give money you can give your time, a kind word, a tender touch. Ease someone’s loneliness. Visit a nursing home. Take a box of candy and ask someone about a tough time they experienced. Listen to their story. You will both benefit!
Six. Focus on everything that’s right. You’ll find the list is much longer than the trouble tally. Notice the good stuff, the little moments, the simple things. The beauty of a sunrise, the sound of church bells in the distance, the fragrance of newly mowed grass or the air after a rain. Be grateful for all your blessings. Sounds corny maybe, but if you can read, if you have food to eat, a bed to sleep in and clean water to drink, you are luckier than most people on the planet. They are blessings! Never take anything for granted. Someone else would love to have your “hard” life.
And One More for Good Measure
Seven. Live in the now. Right here, right now is all we can ever be sure of. Learn to live in the moment without always wanting more, better and easier. Stop focusing on the past or trying to relive the days gone by. Life only moves in one direction, forward. Flower fade, skin wrinkles, kids grow up, friends weave in and out of our life. But we can savor each moment and let the sweetness of it linger on our tongue. Remember in life we must be present to win!
You may have guessed that I’ve felt overwhelmed lately, haven’t we all at some point? I often write to help myself through difficult times and I hope my words can offer comfort to you. too. I’d sure love to hear from you! And please consider subscribing. You’ll never miss an encouraging word from me as we do life together my friend! Be blessed, be a blessing to someone who needs you! See you next week!