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It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in life. On your best day, you may already have a lot going on – work, family life, marriage, kids. Let alone life is rarely perfect and there are bumps in the road – illness, injury, flat tires, an unexpected tax bill, a sick kid. On top of all of that, you’re constantly trying to find the time to work on and improve yourself – to get happy, healthy and wealthy – but where’s the time for that? No wonder it’s easy to feel overwhelmed! You may not even know why you feel overwhelmed but just want to feel OK again. This article walks you through some possible reasons why you feel overwhelmed and gives you ways to break free.
RELATED: Read my ‘Ultimate’ series that teaches you how to improve yourself in a balanced way in all your spheres – physical, mental, spiritual and financial:
* The Ultimate Guide to Getting Healthy
* The Ultimate Guide to Getting Happy
* The Ultimate Guide to Spirituality
* The Ultimate Guide to Getting Wealthy
The First Step – Know Thyself
First, you need to figure out why you feel overwhelmed. We’re all wired differently. One thing that would overwhelm someone would make someone else happy. One shoe does not fit everyone. So the first thing is to figure out what’s bothering you and why.
For example, you may have a loved one that is ill and on their deathbed. This is overwhelming you. But why? Of course because you’re going to lose someone you love! But look deeper.
Is it also because you’re sad to see them in pain? And because you’ll miss them? Or because you had an argument that you want to patch up before they pass? Maybe because you’re helping pay the medical bills involved but they’re beyond what you can afford? Or because work has threatened to fire you if you keep missing work to visit with your loved one? Because of all of these reasons? Some of them? None of them?
Go into yourself and analyze what’s going on. Look at your inner self like talking with a child. Sometimes it takes some time to help the child express what they’re truly feeling because it’s difficult for them to put it into words.
Now that you’ve looked at yourself, I’ll give you some ideas of why you may feel overwhelmed and how to break free of it.
You May Feel Overwhelmed Because… You Don’t Know Where to Start
You may feel overwhelmed because you don’t know where to start. For example, if you want to declutter and clean the house. But, God, where do you start – everything is such a mess!!
Break big things down into little things. Don’t think of it as decluttering the house. Just pick a room. But break it down even further and just pick one drawer to declutter. Or even just one pile of stuff in the drawer. Now that’s doable, right?
This has a double benefit – you won’t feel overwhelmed since you just have to go through a single small pile of things plus you’ll see instant results which will motivate you to declutter more and more things.
Before you know it, you went through all of those drawers and moved through that room, decluttering it all the way, then move onto the other rooms, picking little things to declutter in each. Plus, when you need to stop for the day, it’s easy because you didn’t tear up a whole room at a time but just a drawer or corner of the room.
You May Feel Overwhelmed Because… You Never Feel Ready to Start
You may feel overwhelmed because you never feel ready to start. I had a neighbor like this.
She wanted to start a business. But she never felt ready.
She took entrepreneur classes at the local college. She bought books on entrepreneurship. Binge-watched videos on how to run a business. Weeks and months dragged on. She did all of that preparing but never actually got the business started. This is an example of good ol’ analysis paralysis.
But the honest truth is, you never feel fully ready because you never are fully ready to start a business or anything else.
But the great news is, you don’t have to be fully ready. Sure, you have to do some basic things, but, by God, just go get your first customer or client and that’ll lead to the second and third and fourth. You’ll stumble along the way but that is the process. The point is to just start on your journey.
This can be summarized by saying you don’t want to over-prepare or under-prepare. And you may be wired to want to over-prepare when you feel overwhelm. Fight the urge.
You May Feel Overwhelmed Because… You Simply Don’t Know What to Do
But what if you feel overwhelmed because you simply don’t know where to even start? You’re willing to take that first step and then see where the journey takes you but don’t literally know what to do for that first step?
Well, knowledge is power.
Get knowledgeable about what you’re trying to figure out. Everything seems big and scary when you’re don’t know about it. The more you learn about it, the smaller and more manageable it becomes. The world doesn’t become easier but you become tougher.
Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, this means to Google it. Read a book about it. Maybe talk to an expert. Or discuss it with friends.
Just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you need to become an expert in it. Remember that you’re just trying to get a good “mental map” about it so that you know where to start and have a general direction to start out towards on your journey.
You Think You Need to Know Where the Ultimate Destination Is
To go along with the previous point, you may feel overwhelmed because you think you need to know exactly where you’re going before you can start.
I used to be guilty of this. Take my blog, for example.
I was moved to start writing out my framework for healthy living in 2019. I used to think I needed to know exactly what the end result was going to look like before I could start anything. But I’ve loosened up on that a lot over the years.
Now, I’ve started out on this writing journey, not really knowing where it’s going to lead but I’m along for the ride, it’s exciting and it’s going places that I couldn’t have planned out ahead of time and that’s fine by me.
For example, my writings started off as a novel that takes place in the future. Then I scrapped that after writing some of it and placed it in the present instead. I realized a novel isn’t the most straight forward way to get my message across after writing nearly a hundred pages.
So I started from scratch and wrote more of an instructional manual but in a very stern, formal tone. Then I discovered the whole outlook that self-help writings should be in an informal conversational tone. That lead me to write my “ultimate guides” on how to get happy, healthy and wealthy as well as supporting articles on this site.
It’s been a long journey that I’m still walking but it truly is about the journey and not just the destination. You need to be able to start something not knowing quite where you’ll end up. There’s a freedom and excitement about it.
You May Feel Overwhelmed Because… You Feel Like a Failure
You may feel overwhelmed because you feel like a failure. It’s hard to feel great if you feel like a loser. So let’s take that head on.
You may have made mistakes. Haven’t done enough in the past. Haven’t taken any action for a long time. Now what? What are you going to do about it?
There’s a powerful Chinese proverb:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Can you go into the past? No. Only the present exists. So, you’re here right now. In the present moment. What are you going to do? Not taking action is an option but that won’t get you to your goals. The only thing you can do to get you where you want to be is to take action.
Use the feeling of failure to motivate you to take action. Let the failure burn you. Spur you on to do great things. To start doing things and to never fall back in inaction again. Move! Do! Just do it!
You May Feel Overwhelmed Because… You Have the Wrong Ideas About Success
You may feel overwhelmed because you have the wrong ideas about success.
You may be unhappy because you’re chasing someone else’s idea of happiness.
You may feel unwell because you’re addicted to foods that make you sick.
You may be broke because you buy crap you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t know.
I’ve spoken about these at length. Start by reading this: “It’s Simple to Get Happy, Healthy and Wealthy” which leads you to my ultimate guides on how to get happy, healthy and wealthy.
Ultimately, It Comes Down to Three Options: Change It, Leave It or Accept It
You may feel overwhelmed because you’re in a situation and you feel helpless. That can be crushingly overwhelming.
You need to decide what you’re going to do. You can do nothing and continue feeling overwhelmed. Or decide to take one of three actions against the situation – change it, leave it or accept it.
For example, if you have a toxic situation at work. You dread going into work everyday. You may feel scared, anxious, depressed, angry, hopeless.
You need to decide if can you change the situation – talk to your manager, HR, etc.
Or leave the situation – can you get transferred into a different department or find a new job?
Or accept the situation. But accepting it means truly so that it no longer brings you pain. Not bitterly or grudgingly accepting it but truly accepting it at a soul level.
This powerful concept was popularized by the great Eckhart Tolle. Here’s a video him discussing how to break free from anxiety and fear:
What to do When You Can’t Figure Out Why You Feel Overwhelmed?
What can you do when simply can’t figure why you feel overwhelmed? The answer is the same for most other things – talk it out. Communication is key.
Talk to someone that will listen. Your significant other, a family member, a close friend, a confidant at work. But it’s got to be someone that will simply let you express yourself and not try to give you a thousand solutions or that will try to negate your feelings. The point is to have someone that can be your sounding board. That will let you get onto a roll and express yourself.
And when that happens, notice what you start talking about. You’ll start working through a bunch of thoughts, feelings and emotions. It feels good to get stuff off your chest! It’s cathartic. And you’ll start getting a sense of what is overwhelming you. You’ll start getting your emotional juices flowing.
What’s the alternative? To bottle it all up inside of yourself. To suffer silently. It’s a horrible feeling. The world seems like a cold, dark, lonely place at that point.
So, find your sounding board. Express yourself. That’s where the magic happens. And of course, also be there for that person when they need to talk to someone. That’s what makes the world go ’round.
I hope this article helps you. But the truth is, no one can help you except yourself. But I wanted to point you to some things to get you thinking about why you may be feeling overwhelmed and then some ways to combat it.
That’s mostly what everything come down to – analyze yourself, understand why you’re thinking or feeling the way you do and determine how you’re wired, and then take action that matches your mental makeup.
No one can help you except yourself but the good news is that you can help yourself! You just need to learn and apply the right tools and approaches. Drop bad habits and develop good ones.
There are many resources out there to help you. What I can offer is my ultimate series on how to get happy, healthy and wealthy.
You got this! To your well-being!