A Simple Way To Relieve Feelings of Overwhelm

Here comes that dreaded feeling of overwhelm.

It is not just that you have a lot to do. In fact, you may not have that much to do, but your mind is going into overdrive.

Your anxiety or panic begins rising, and you know that you cannot possibly handle whatever things you need to handle.

You may feel pressure pushing against your brain or pushing out from inside your brain. Your mind may shut down, freeze or race. Guilt arrives at the door because you should be able to take care of business. What’s wrong with you anyway?

The first thing to do is to forget about what is wrong with you. If your car is overheating, you stop driving and turn the engine off. Give yourself the same courtesy. Stop doing whatever it is you are doing and take some slow, deep breaths. Inhale calm and exhale all of your concerns.

Once your brain has cooled and you feel a bit more relaxed, try making an Anti-Overwhelm List.

The Anti-Overwhelm List

Mentally, digitally or with pen and paper, jot down everything you need to do or should do. There may be three things on the list or 27; whatever.

Look down your list and circle the EOW items. Those are the items that you must do today to prevent the End of the World. Please do these items immediately for the sake of all living things.


Finished with EOW's? Wow. That was fast. Now, look down your list and mark the AUC items. Those are the tasks that need to be done within the next three days to prevent Actual Unpleasant Consequences such as the electricity being turned off. If there are any AUC's, take care of them now or as soon as possible. Get someone to help you if necessary.

Now, do something fun, relaxing, pleasant or playful for at least a half-hour; two hours would be optimal. The priority is allowing yourself to enjoy the activity. After all, the world is not ending because of you, and there will be no unpleasant consequences for at least three days.

You should be feeling better or at least no worse. Either forget the list and get on with your life or pull it back out, choose the easiest task on it and get it done.

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