Techniques to tackle feeling overwhelmed
With all that is happening in the world – or perhaps even just within your own bubble – it’s not unusual to feel somewhat swamped.
But, left unchecked, emotional overwhelm puts undue stress on the body which has adverse health effects.
It can lead to feeling fatigued, anxious, unexplained aches and pains, as well as your immune system being less able to fight off common colds and flus.
Thankfully there are simple and effective ways to keep overwhelm at bay and feel great again.
Geelong wellness coach Amarra Bowkett, from The Well State, acknowledges there is nothing worse than waking up with a sense of dread and struggling to pull yourself together for a social occasion or work meeting.
“I certainly know what that feels like,” Amarra says.
“There are times that I cancel and then there are times when I try some tactics I’ve developed to get up and about.”
First up, Amarra says nothing beats breathwork to have you feeling more settled and deep belly breathing is a good place to start.
“When you are feeling overwhelmed it’s usually because your mind has taken over, the solution is in taking back control,” she advises.
“Take a moment to focus on your surroundings, to be mindful and feel the clothes on your body and the soles of your feet on the ground.
“Now, close your eyes or soften your gaze and imagine the breath you inhale, travelling all the way to the bottom of your belly, keep breathing in until you get to the top of your lungs.
“Then super, super slowly release the breath and imagine all those negative thoughts are exiting your body with the breath. Do this several times.”
Secondly, she suggests mindfulness exercises to avoid our thoughts running away from us and getting caught up in the past or what may – or may not – happen in the future.
“In the present moment, there is absolutely nothing wrong, so focus on that,” she says.
“You can do this wherever you are.
“Can you feel your feet in your shoes, can you feel the seat beneath you? What do the clothes you are wearing feel like on your skin? What can you hear? Is there chatter in the office? The sound of the keys on the keyboard as you type? Is there music or the sounds of nature around you? Stop, listen and feel … all while you are focusing on your breathe.”
Thirdly, Amarra says it is helpful to “flip the script” and change the “what ifs” that might be plaguing your thoughts.
She says it not uncommon that we question the future when we feel overwhelmed but, rather than beating ourselves up, we can respond with the opposite of what has us worried.
“For example, what if the people reading this article don’t like what I have to say?,” she says.
“Well, what if just one person who reads this article feels like they can do one or all of these things and head out the door with confidence and a sense of calm?”
Her fourth tip is “a problem shared is a problem halved”.
There is no need to go it alone when dealing with overwhelm so trust those around you.
“I lean on those close to me, I tell them that I’m not feeling myself and I share my worries with them,” Amarra says.
“I have confidence that they love and care for me and won’t judge me in the slightest.
“For me, once those worries have left my mouth, they don’t tend to hold any power over me.”
Finally, Amarra insists resilience is the result of rest and believes the more rested we are, the better we can deal with bumps in the road.
“We don’t have to just put up with things,” she advises.
“What we need to do is say no, to put ourselves first, to rest and restore and then we have the inner resources to put one foot in front of the other.”
Of course, these actions do take practice so if you are feeling overwhelmed, be patient with yourself and try gradually integrating these techniques into your everyday life.
All good things take time and your healthier self will definitely thank you in the long run.