Feeling overwhelmed is awful. Your body and mind feel heavy and gross, you struggle to function and problem solve, and life can feel pretty terrible. If you read parts 1 and 2, you have already sorted out how what it feels like, and what patterns might drive feeling overwhelmed. Today’s post will address what to DO when you feel overwhelmed, with the hope that you can feel better, and quickly!
Think about what your body and mind feel like when you are calm. Consider: when you are feeling calm, where are you, and what are you doing? How is your concentration? Your problem solving? How is your mood? How is your thinking? How is your heart rate and breathing? This calm state is your goal! We can get you there! Here are some strategies to calm yourself:
In the Moment:
- Deep, slow breathing. The body cannot be wound up and relaxed at the same time. If you can breathe deeply and slowly, your mind will follow. This takes practice, but it works. Science says so!
- Break down the problem into manageable steps. Can this problem be solved? If so, what is the first step? Do you need help? Can you take a baby step toward solving this issue?
- Tensing and releasing your muscles
- Talking to a friend or family member
- Going for a walk
- Fresh air, sunshine, being in nature
- A bit of water
- Praying or meditating
- Distraction – which may include electronics, video games, etc for a brief period of time
- Read a book, listen to a book, write song lyrics
- Use your senses: identify 5 things you see, hear, smell, feel, etc. Repeat until calm.
- Write about your experience. Science says that writing about an event uses a different part of your brain than just thinking about it. Try it!
As a regular/daily practice:
- Regular exercise, sunshine, fresh air
- Yoga and meditation
- A healthy diet, fruits and veggies, water
- Adequate, predictable, restful sleep
- Social connections
- Hobbies and meaningful events in your life
- Finding a sense of purpose
- Living your values
These strategies will likely help you find your way back to a sense of calm. If you think of more strategies, email me and I’ll add them to the list!