How To Overcome Overwhelm: The Ultimate Guide

Article last updated on November 19, 2023
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How often do you get overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do? The question of how to overcome overwhelm can come up in many different situations, but it’s especially common when you have a lot going on and feel like there is no way that you will be able to accomplish all your goals.

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Overwhelm happens when we try to take on too much at once. If you are trying to do too many things at once, then you will inevitably get overwhelmed.

It’s like putting weights on your shoulders. You may think that you can lift them, but if they’re too heavy, you’ll end up dragging yourself down instead of lifting yourself up.

When we try to do too many things, we drag ourselves down instead of lifting ourselves up. We become overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.

When you try to do more than one thing at a time, you end up getting overwhelmed.

As the old saying goes, “You can’t eat an elephant one bite at a time.” You can only handle so much before you start feeling overwhelmed.

Overwhelm also happens when you don’t know where to start. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you don’t know what to do first.

This is why it’s important to make sure that you know exactly what needs to be done before you begin doing anything else.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s tempting to give up or procrastinate. Procrastination only makes things worse. You should never let yourself become overwhelmed. Instead, you must always find ways to deal with overwhelm.

In this post, I’ll give you my 10 best ways that helped me overcome feelings of overwhelm.

10 Ways To Overcome Overwhelm Once And For All

You can have peace of mind when you learn how to overcome overwhelm. The point is not to focus on stress management or anything like that.

Instead, you want to focus on stress elimination. That can only be done if we have a change in perception of what causes us to feel stressed out.

When you have a true sense of calm, you’ll be able to handle stressful situations without any effort.

To be blunt, the point in all of this is to detach from your emotions for a bit and take in the whole situation from an objective point of view.

Overwhelm exists only because we allow our emotions to control us. When we stop allowing our emotions to control us, we can finally take practical steps without our racing mind.

But, let’s discover the ways that will help you overcome overwhelm.

1. Take a look at yourself from the balcony.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed, it’s important to step back and see yourself objectively.

Stop focusing on the negative aspects of the situation and look at it from a broader perspective. This helps you gain some distance.

Do you feel anxious about something? Step back and detach from the situation. Think about it from a broader perspective.

How the world sees you is very different from how you see yourself. So, when you feel overwhelmed, step back and look at yourself from a third-person perspective.

2. Go for a walk.

Taking a walk can really help you overcome overwhelm. A good walk allows you to clear your head. A walk allows you to breathe deeply and relax. As soon as you start walking, your brain starts working again.

Your feeling of overwhelm will not be eliminated when you take a walk, but it will definitely ease up.

It will do one of the most important things, and that is break up the rumination pattern.

You see, when you are stuck in your thoughts, you tend to think about the same thing over and over again. Your mind becomes trapped within itself.

Breaking that cycle by taking a walk is extremely helpful.

3. Get rid of clutter.

This may sound silly, but it is true. Clutter can cause a lot of stress. When you have too many things around you, you can feel overwhelmed.

If you have too much stuff around you, you can’t focus on what matters.

I truly believe that physical clutter is a manifestation of mental clutter.

It is easy to sort out your physical clutter, and the great thing you’ll notice is that you’ll feel more relaxed. You’ll feel like you are doing something productive and rewarding for your mental well-being.

Take a non-bias personal overwhelm inventory and ask yourself what is clogging your life. Then, get rid of the clutter. To have peace of mind, you need to keep your internal and external environment clean.

4. Develop the ability to say no.

As it relates to eliminating clutter, learning to say no is an art form. You see, when you say no to someone or something, you’re actually saying yes to something else.

Overwhelm is usually compounded by saying yes to everything. It is easy to say yes to every request that comes your way.

Be aware of distractions. They will drain your energy and make you procrastinate.

You need to make a choice if you want to say yes to everything and live a life of overwhelm or choose to say no to nonessentials.

Make a list of priorities and decide which ones matter most to you.

What do you value most in life? What would you rather spend time on? How do you want to live your life?

5. Keep your victories in mind.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed with all the tasks and responsibilities you have, remember this simple fact. Every day has its ups and downs.

Every day, there are going to be challenges. But, you know what? Remember the days when you had too much on your plate and you managed to pull through.

Those were the best days because they taught you valuable lessons.

You are the winner.

You’ve encountered a stressful moment and you overcame it. That’s why you are here today.

Remember that. Remind yourself that you are a winner.

This lesson should serve you well in the future whenever you feel overwhelmed.

6. Practice self awareness

The difference between overwhelm and anxiety is how you react to them. If you feel anxious, you should try to avoid whatever makes you anxious.

However, if you feel overwhelmed, you don’t try to avoid the situation. Instead, you try to figure out what is causing the problem.

When you are overwhelmed, you are in an endless loop of thinking about the problem.

To break this cycle, self-awareness can be very helpful. Self-awareness means knowing what triggers your feelings of overwhelm. Once you identify those triggers, you can take steps to prevent those situations from happening in the first place.

When you know exactly who you are, you will be able to be unshakeable in any overwhelming situation.

This sounds like such a small advantage, but many people lack self-awareness. People don’t take the time to understand themselves. They just go through life without ever really understanding their emotions, so they become victims of their own thoughts.

7. Understand that perfectionism is a myth.

Perfectionists tend to believe that they must achieve perfection before they can move forward. They believe that if they cannot achieve perfection, then they are not good enough.

It is important to realize that perfectionism is a false belief. Perfectionism is simply another word for being overly critical of oneself.

If you are striving for perfection, you are adding pressure to yourself. Pressure leads to stress. Stress causes overwhelm.

When you face feelings of stress, you should try to relax. When you relax, you can take a step back and look at things objectively. You can see what needs to change.

So, when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself whether you are trying to achieve perfection because this will just compound the problem.

8. Break down the macro-level into micro-steps.

Overwhelm happens when we try to do everything at once. We get overwhelmed by the big picture. Instead of tackling the big picture all at once, you need to break it down into smaller parts.

My opinion is that vagueness is the best companion to overwhelm.

Vagueness clouds your mind with uncertainty. For example, let’s say that you have emotional overwhelm because you are worried about something.

You don’t know exactly what it is, but you know that you want to feel better. This is a vague description; this is on a macro level.

Now breakdown this micro-level into micro-steps. What micro-steps would you take to make yourself feel better?

So you are no longer thinking about the whole thing at once. You are breaking it down into little pieces, and by achieving one piece, you are taking a step towards achieving the overall goal.

9. Identify your limiting beliefs.

What you believe about yourself has a huge impact on how you feel and what level of tolerance you have before you take on a feeling of overwhelm as your burden.

Limiting beliefs are thoughts that you tell yourself over and over again. These thoughts create a pattern in your brain that makes your worldview limited.

For example, if you have been told for a long time that you are bad in certain areas, you will begin to believe that this is true. If you keep repeating these negative thoughts, you will naturally avoid doing anything that might prove you wrong.

The antidote is to ask yourself, “Am I telling myself this because it is true or am I telling myself this because I want to be right?”

Let’s use an example of something that is popular today and that’s having a lack of focus.

If you say to yourself, “I cannot focus” or “All these distractions are making me lose my focus.” It is very likely that you have set this as a limiting belief.

You need to look at your current environment and realize that you have created a place where you are surrounded by distractions. This is why you are losing focus.

You need to create an environment that allows you to focus. So you need to remove and remove all distractions.

That way, you will prove to yourself that you are wrong. That you are able to focus. That you had false belief.

This applies to the case of overwhelm. Identify what you believe is true as it relates to your problem of overwhelm and see what you can do to prove yourself wrong.

10. What would you say to your child.

This final way to overcome overwhelm cuts to the core of our human nature.

Who do you care about more than anyone else? Your children.

When you feel overwhelmed, think about how you would talk to them. Would you tell them that they are stupid? Or would you tell them that they could do it?

What advice would you give them to overcome overwhelm?

Now, you can apply this same empathetic and grounded principle to yourself. When you feel overwhelmed, think of what you would say to your child.

My opinion is that you don’t need some powerful exercises, groundbreaking techniques, or even a coach. All you need is objectiveness, self-awareness, and empathy.

Extra tip: Communicate.

You see, we are social animals. We are meant to connect with other people. We are meant to share our experiences with others. When we are alone, we tend to think more deeply about ourselves and our problems.

When we are overwhelmed, we find it hard to communicate with others.

It is important to remember that when you are overwhelmed, you are not being selfish. You are simply trying to protect yourself from the pain that comes with facing reality.

So, let go of your fear of communicating with others. Let go of your fear of being vulnerable. And most importantly, let go of the shame of being weak.

It is important to decompress your thoughts by talking to someone. Talking to someone helps you process your emotions and get perspective on things.

Talking to someone who cares about you will help you gain clarity and perspective.

After all, when you are feeling overwhelmed, you are probably feeling like no one understands you.

But the truth is that other people would open up about their own struggles with overwhelm if you were willing to share yours.

They would understand. They would empathize. They would support you.

We are all in this together.

Common Questions about Overcoming Overwhelm

I have compiled some common questions about overcoming overwhelm. Most of these questions I have asked myself over and over again, but now I have the answers and I want to share them with you.

Why do I get overwhelmed so easily?

When it’s easy for you to get overwhelmed, that simply means you are adding more emotional weight to situations that already require too much energy.

The more emotional baggage you carry around, the harder it becomes to deal with the challenges of everyday life. And that’s why you get overwhelmed so easily.

If you want to stop getting overwhelmed, then you must stop putting additional stress on yourself.

Are there some exercises to overcome overwhelm?

Yes, you could meditate and do mindfulness practice, but the shortcut is to physically break the thinking pattern that causes you to be overwhelmed.

In my experience, the best way to do this is to take a walk. It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you get out of your head and into the world.

Also, riding a bike or lifting weights can be beneficial, but basically any physical activity is good because it gets your blood flowing and gives you something else to focus on besides your thoughts.

Keep in mind that these are just band-aids. What you really need is a change in perception to eliminate and let go of overwhelm in your life.

What does it mean to “let go” of overwhelm?

Letting go of overwhelm means letting go of your false belief that you cannot handle certain situations.

You may believe that you are incapable of dealing with certain situations. But what you don’t realize is that you are actually doing yourself a disservice by believing that you cannot handle those situations.

By believing that you cannot handle certain circumstances, you are giving power to those circumstances.

And once you give power to those circumstances, they become your truth, from your perspective.

The solution is to prove to yourself that you can handle overwhelming situations by breaking them down into smaller steps and moving forward step by step.

So, instead of exclusively looking at a problem, you are going to look at each part of the challenge separately and focus on solutions.

That is how overwhelm can be let go overtime.

How do I stop myself from getting overwhelmed when learning new skills?

By being curious about everything you learn. When we learn new skills, we tend to think of the end result immediately and lose sight of every step we need to learn.

Having constant ah-ha moments will help you stay focused on the process and not get distracted by the end result.

Is it possible to be overwhelmed with knowledge?

Yes, if you allow yourself to stuff yourself with knowledge and never find time to apply it. This causes information overload, and it is especially true today when you go online, read articles, watch YouTube videos, and so on. You end up having no idea which pieces of information are valuable and which ones aren’t.

How to overcome the sense of social overwhelm?

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by people, try to remember that everyone has their own journey, and they have their own set of problems and issues.

Most people are trying to figure things out just like you, and most people would love to talk to someone who understands them.

We tend to think that other people pay attention to us, monitor every step we take and how we behave. But that’s exactly what almost everyone is concerned about too.

To overcome this, just be more curious about others. Ask questions and listen intently. This will make you approachable and interesting. And people will want to connect with you.

In this case, offense is the best defense. Just be genuine and sincere, and you’ll overcome the feeling of social overwhelm.

Conclusion

Overcoming overwhelm is possible. In fact, it’s not that difficult once you know how. All the ten ways you have read about in this post really work, but just thinking about these methods won’t do you any good.

To make sure that you actually use them in real life. Making a conscious decision to implement each method into your daily routine is essential.

Having a sense of curiosity as you apply each method would make this process of elimination of overwhelm seem like a play.

To bring all of this together, I want to leave you with a couple of summarized tips for overcoming overwhelm.

  • Try to put yourself in another person’s shoes. See yourself from the balcony.
  • Be aware of where you are. Know that you are experiencing overwhelm.
  • Identify what you believe is true. See what you can do to disprove your beliefs.
  • Saying no to things that are not important reduces the amount of overwhelm you experience.
  • Whenever something is vague, specify it. Make it clear. Break it down into smaller steps.
  • Never ever stay in a mental loop. Break the cycle by going for a walk.
  • Communicate. Talk to someone. You are not alone. There are many people out there who struggle with overwhelm too.
  • Ask yourself what advice you would give to your child. Apply that same advice to yourself.

I hope this article has helped you overcome overwhelm. If so, please share it with your friends.

Thank you.

Marko Matijasevic

Marko is performance-based growth strategist, focusing on business growth while maintaining a strong emphasis on authenticity in every individual he works with.

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