Have you been feeling like life is too heavy? Is there too much going on all the time, and you seem to have too much on your plate? Do you feel weighed down and unmotivated to get things done?
These are emotions often linked to feeling overwhelmed, which is likely the result of two things occurring: we are thinking too much, or we are truly overextended in areas of our life and out of balance. We feel burned-out and overdone. Of course, there may be other reasons for feeling this way too, but they will likely still fall under one of these primary reasons. Let’s sort out the difference between the two:
According to dictionary.com, overwhelmed has several meanings:
- to overcome completely in mind or feeling
- to overpower or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroy; crush
- to cover or bury beneath a mass of something, as floodwaters, debris, or an avalanche, submerge
- to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything
- to overthrow
Wow, after looking at the various ways that we can describe overwhelmed, it’s no wonder that feeling overwhelmed has such a powerful presence in our lives. Some would describe feeling overwhelmed as an extreme frustration, suffocating, debilitating, and defeating. To feel these ways does not promote positive thinking or actions, it promotes the opposite. This is why it is so important to begin acknowledging overwhelming feelings as soon as they creep up on us, so that we can tackle them before they become so heavy.
As I mentioned, over-thinking can be a cause for feeling overwhelmed. Yes, I know that there are times in our lives where we are just physically and emotionally stretched, and overwhelmed seems to be the most appropriate response. But I encourage you to dig deeper into any negative feelings you may experience, so that you can work toward more positive feelings of wholeness and hope. I believe that it is still possible to think and feel in positive ways despite our circumstances. It is our choice.
Remember the snowball effect? One thought builds upon another, then another, and another. The same can be said for our emotions. One feeling builds upon another, then another, and another. These thoughts and emotions (if negative) continue to build upon each other until we feel: stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, defeated, and hopeless. This has happened to me many times, and I am sure it has happened to you too. We have to work on being more conscious of the snowball effect and stop the negative spiral before it is out of control.
When we have a lot going on in our day, such as projects, work and family responsibilities, sudden and unexpected things to deal with, goals, managing our health and finances, and our relationships, it is easy to dive into overwhelming feelings…Stop Right There. Before you even entertain that you have “too much going on,” are “too busy,” or “I cannot manage my life,” I want to reaffirm that you can.
When we confess thoughts like this in our mind and our words, then we make them real. Before we know it, we are feeling the exact same ways that we are thinking. This is our problem. We want to feel happy and joyful but continue to entertain negative thinking and wonder why nothing is changing. Start with becoming tuned into your thinking patterns, changing negative thoughts into positive, and then enjoy the positive change in emotions and feelings that you will experience.
If you are anything like me, you tend to place too much on your plate. Even with the best intentions, I am learning that I am only one person, and that I simply cannot do and be everything to everyone around me. When I am feeling overwhelmed, this is often my cause.
Obligations and responsibilities are part of life, we all know that, but excessive levels of obligations and responsibilities are not. Take inventory of what you have said YES to when you are starting to feel overwhelmed. If you can, remove some things from your TO-DO list. If you cannot, and you are overwhelmed by responsibilities that are more permanent and unchanging, then check what and how you are thinking about these things.
You may be over-thinking some aspects of your responsibilities, or simply ignoring the need for more balance in your life. Either way, make the necessary adjustment so that you can eliminate feeling overwhelmed.
Yes, all of this may sound just too simple. In a way, I agree with you. I do not know the things that overwhelm you just as you do not know the things that overwhelm me. However, the fact is that we are not feeling overwhelmed all the time, so this means that we do not have to feel this way all the time either. Feeling overwhelmed is manageable.
We have a choice, and the choice lines up with our thinking and our actions. If you do not want to feel overwhelmed, then take action so that you do not feel this way (or at least do not feel this way any longer than you need to). Release negative emotions and thoughts so that you can open your mind to positive and cleansing thinking. Then the occasional feeling of being overwhelmed will occur less frequently.
It is time to grasp the power of positive thinking and the many benefits that follow. If you choose to think about your life experiences in negative ways, then you will feel negatively too. If you choose to think positively, you will learn how to make the best of whatever situation you find yourself in, determine necessary balance for your life, and feel more happiness and joy.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to dig deeper, today.