Feeling Overwhelmed? Take Back Control with this 6-Step Process

Feeling overwhelmed? Here's a 6-step process that can help.

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Life can be stressful. Having situations that affect your peace of mind can be challenging. And sometimes you feel like you’ve gotten way more than you can handle. Yet still, you find a way to keep going.

It’s great when you can find the determination to keep going. But are you doing so to your own expense? Perhaps the current way you’ve been responding isn’t working as well as it could be.

Coping mechanisms may help to keep you in the game for a while but at some point, you may end up crashing. A helpful approach involves using well thought-out strategies to help get you…then keep you in control.

See if these ideas can help in an especially challenging situation:

  1. Stop in your tracks. If you feel overwhelmed now, it’s likely to get even worse if you keep going the way you are now. Stop right where you are and accept the situation for what it is.
  • Look back at what has happened up until this point in time. Can you identify what may have led up to it? Make a note of it.
  1. Identify habits that led to the overwhelm. Can you identify certain habits or traits that may have led to the overwhelm? Be honest with yourself when trying to identify them. It’s a powerful first step to help you move on to resolving the situation.
  • Whatever you’ve identified, accept and embrace it. It’s pointless to allow these habits to bring you down. You’re already overwhelmed. The last thing you need to do is be even harder on yourself which only adds to the overwhelm you’re already experiencing. It is helpful however to see what steps you can take to slowly change the habits that don’t serve you.
  1. Avoid excuses. Even though you feel overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is blame it on something or somebody else. That’s exactly how you give your power away. Overwhelm often means we’ve lost control over our time; giving too much of ourselves and our time away which prevents us from having the time we need for our own well-being.
  • It’s also easy in stressful situations to refuse accountability. Just the tension alone is adding even more to your already over extended plate. Did you over commit or say yes to something when it would have been in your best interest to say no instead? Learn for next time.
  1. Open up to others you can trust. Share your feelings with someone you can confide in. Having another perspective can allow you to see things from an angle you may not have considered. 
  • Tell the whole story…and listen to the way you’re sharing the details. Are you positioning yourself as a martyr, a victim, a hero or heroine? Taking an objective look at the words you’re using to convey your message can catch an underlying feeling you may not be aware you’re feeling or conveying. The great news? Once you see it, you can take steps towards changing it.
  1. Organize an approach. Now that you’ve shared (either with someone else or even journaled about it), you’ll have a clearer mind to organize an approach. Now that you see it more clearly, what are steps you’re going to take to prevent the same experience from happening again?
  • Now that you’ve figured out how things got off track, create a plan with different actions that’ll lead to a different result.
  1. Surround yourself with positive and resilient people. It can be difficult to take on challenges on your own. It can also be very helpful to see how others face and react to their challenges. Watching and learning from resilient people shows us that if they can do it, we can too.
  • You may notice how some people complain about their circumstances for the sake of sharing, while others share with the intention of finding a solution once they’ve offloaded their challenge. It’s not that resilient people don’t experience hardships, it’s that they experience hardships and insist on finding ways to move through them.
  1. Being in over your head isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s a perfect opportunity to be creative in finding a different approach. Once you identify an effective approach, start implementing it so you can handle situations more confidently going forward.

As Jim Rohn said: “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.” You got this.

Dr. Debi
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute

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