Okay warriors, let’s beat overwhelm. Why? Because overwhelm is one of my least favorite emotions to feel and I want to share some of my best tools to move through it.
First, some reminders.
Reminder #1: You are in charge of your emotions.
If you feel overwhelmed, it’s because of the thoughts you’re thinking. It’s not because of what’s going on in your life. I witness this truth every day in my and my clients’ lives. Certain days I will feel acute overwhelm yet have less on my to-do list or schedule that the day before. Why do I feel overwhelm? Because of my thoughts. I see moms with one kid who are completely overwhelmed and stressed and I see moms with 4 kids who are cool as a cucumber or vice versa. It’s not the kids or the life circumstances that causes us to feel overwhelm, it’s how we’re thinking about what’s going on in our lives.
Reminder #2: If you want to feel better, you must commit to it.
So many of us report wanting to feel happy. Well guess what? Feeling happy doesn’t just happen, it’s a choice you make. It doesn’t happen when you earn a certain amount of money, having a certain kind of car or kitchen countertop, or losing 10 pounds. Happiness comes from the thoughts you’re thinking. Look back at reminder #1: You are in charge of your emotions. [tweetshareinline tweet=”If you want to feel better, you must consciously choose thoughts that lead to better feeling states.” username=”SusieBarolo”] You must actively work to manage your mind. If you know anything about the brain, you know this isn’t easy work. Add to that being a woman in our society?
What do I mean by this? Society and our brain are not set up to relieve stress. Our brain’s sole purpose is to keep us alive, regardless of how we emotionally feel when we’re alive. In order to do this, it focuses in on the potential dangers in our lives. Since we’re no longer being chased by tigers or lions so it looks for drama in other areas of our lives.This could be an email from our kid’s school or radio silence from a text we sent. Add to that, as women, we’ve been socialized to constantly evaluate and criticize ourselves so as to find ourselves lacking in some way. The combination of the two results in lower confidence and a “wtf” attitude that leads to procrastination or people pleasing. Both do not help our to do list (people pleasing makes the list long and procrastination keeps it long!). It is up to us to re-direct our brain to focus on thoughts that help us feel better.
Life Hack to Beat Overwhelm
Write down everything that’s overwhelming you. Everything. Your brain generates 60 to 80 thousand thoughts a day. We are only able to focus on one thing at a time while holding 6 other pieces of information to consider later. What does this mean? Have you ever felt like you’re losing your mind? Dumb question: of course you have. Have you ever left your keys in the laundry room? This is because you’re holding too much information in your head. We aren’t designed to do that. I find great relief from overwhelm when I get out a pen and paper and answer the question: What’s overwhelming you Susie? This seems silly but it helps. There’s ample brain research as to why but for now, trust me and use this hack: Get that sh*t out of your head and on to paper to feel better.
Three Questions to Beat Overwhelm:
Getting in then habit of asking yourself these 3 questions will lead you to live a less overwhelming life. Get out your calendar. Look at your events for the next 2-3 weeks and answer these questions:
- Do you want to do it?
- Do you have to do it?
- Do you feel you should do it?
First off, remove the #3 events from your calendar period. No complaining or excuse making. Remove them. Just Say No. We “should” on ourselves far too often and it doesn’t help us or those around us. Choose to get in the habit of saying no to the things you tell yourself you “should” do. What’s the alternative? It’s not pretty. When we do things we don’t want to do because we think we should, we turn into a woman who’s bitter and resentful. We yell or snap at our kids more. This is not a fun emotional state to live in or to be around.
As for the answers to questions one and two….Life is a balancing act. Look at the things you want to do and choose which ones work this year and which ones you will hold off on doing until next year. There is no crime in having blank space on your calendar. In fact, that’s how memories are made. Do you know what your kids and your loved ones want? They want you to sit with them. Without your phone. Without a lecture. Without distractions. To actually be with them when you’re physically with them.
As for the things you have to do, look over that list and make sure you truly have to do them. Things we have to do are things like kids’ carpools and your doctor’s appointments. These are not things like lunch with the inlaws or coffee with a former coworker. Look at what’s listed under #2 and look at your calendar. What’s possible and where can you ask for help?
Be courageous to live different than what you see everyone else doing around you. There’s a reason anxiety and depression are on the rise. You don’t need to be part of that trend. Question yourself before you say yes to new events or obligations. To beat overwhelm, get in the habit of questioning yourself: Why are you choosing to do what you do?
Please share this episode with one other person who may resonate with this message. If everyone who read this did that, we’d double the reach of this message!????☀️The more people who manage their overwhelm, the less reactive we will all be.