What it Really Means When You’re Overwhelmed (and 4 Ways to Move Past It)

what it means when you

Elevate your hand if you happen to’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed. Other than the truth that being in the course of a pandemic makes every thing extra irritating, you’ve received work obligations and household commitments, then there are meals selections to make, at-home exercises you suppose you need to be doing, and non-stretchy pants you’re feeling dangerous for not becoming into.

It’s loads. I get it, and it’s completely regular to really feel overwhelmed. That stated, staying in a state of overwhelm is a alternative.

Yep, you heard me, it’s a alternative. And if you happen to’re able to get out of the seemingly relentless spin cycle of life (and the tight chest and racing thoughts that include it), stick round. I’ll be unpacking the actual motive you get overwhelmed — spoiler alert, it’s not as a result of your to-do record is just too lengthy — plus, 4 issues you are able to do to vary it.

Why Do I Get Overwhelmed?

I’ll offer you an instance from my very own life. As a well being coach, I’ll usually hear my purchasers say that they simply can’t do it. They’ll’t swap out their toast and cereal for breakfast. They’ll’t make time to get exterior. They’ll’t get to mattress earlier. They’ll’t…fill within the clean.

For my part, “I can’t” statements replicate limiting beliefs. They aren’t actual; they’re simply tales we inform ourselves, and identities we by chance find yourself figuring out with. It’s not which you can’t, it’s that one thing is holding you again. I discover that more often than not, once I dig a bit deeper, that factor is worry.

Kinds of Worry That Trigger Overwhelm:

  • Worry you received’t be capable of deal with it
  • Worry of getting it unsuitable
  • Worry you received’t get it accomplished (on time)
  • Worry that you simply’ll be judged
  • Worry of the implications
  • Worry of not being in management
  • Worry of being embarrassed
  • Worry that you simply don’t actually deserve it

Whether or not you’re experiencing fear, stress, or full overwhelm, worry is normally on the helm, simply FYI. However the purpose right here isn’t to be fearless (there truly are some advantages to worry), it’s to not let it rule your life.

Something that threatens your house on this world, i.e. your self-worth, can elicit a fear-based response. I’m positive you’ve heard of the fight-or-flight response, proper? Once you expertise one thing that feels scary and irritating, the amygdala (the a part of your mind that handles emotional processing) releases a rush of chemical compounds into the physique. The stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol flood your system, making ready you to combat or flee. Not solely that, the amygdala immediately shuts down the neural pathway to your prefrontal cortex which briefly impairs all rational considering, making you’re feeling disorganized and uncontrolled.

So, It’s All in My Thoughts?

Imagine it or not, you’re inflicting this cascade of physiological results by your ideas alone, though there’s no actual hazard apart from the perceived penalties of what would occur if you happen to failed or have been embarrassed or weren’t capable of preserve tabs on your whole to-dos. Once you’re feeling overwhelmed, your life isn’t falling aside — your ideas are.

So, how do you reel it again in? This Yale studyshowed that it may very well be so simple as respiratory. Researchers positioned 131 college college students into both a non-intervention management group or certainly one of three 30-hour workshops that used wellbeing interventions, together with respiratory, mindfulness, and emotional consciousness to fight stress. Earlier than and after the workshops, the scholars have been put by means of a irritating process that simulated a high-pressure efficiency scenario.

They discovered that the group who participated within the respiratory workshop have been capable of keep calm all through the high-stress process. Plus, their coronary heart charges held regular, they have been capable of suppose extra clearly, they usually truly carried out the duty extra successfully.

four Methods to Cease Your self from Spiraling

Indisputably, overwhelm is likely one of the best boundaries to attaining your targets, however it’s attainable to maneuver previous it. It’s simply your mind attempting to maintain you secure and with the methods under, you’ll discover ways to acknowledge the onset of overwhelm and take steps to regain the readability and calm you should get no matter it’s you should do, accomplished.


Since being in that state of overwhelm impairs your prefrontal cortex and sends adrenaline and cortisol coursing by means of your physique, the perfect factor you are able to do for your self is to decelerate and breathe. It doesn’t matter what sort of respiratory you do — field respiratory, alternating nostril respiratory, and diaphragmatic respiratory all work. Simply make it possible for the strategy you select is rhythmic, which means that you simply breathe out and in for about the identical period of time. After a couple of minutes you’ll discover that your thoughts has slowed down and your vitality is way calmer.

Do this: Here’s a triangular breath exercise that I’ve created for my purchasers. Inhale by means of your nostril, counting slowly to six; maintain for a depend of two on the high; and exhale for a depend of 8. Repeat for 1-Three minutes or till your thoughts feels calm once more.

Verify Your Tales

You already know the limiting beliefs and ideas that prevent you from achieving your goals? These are your tales. And I name them tales as a result of they’re simply not true. You could have picked them up from belongings you heard your mother and father say rising up or from an expertise you went by means of. Perhaps you determined alongside that you simply at all times drop the ball. Or that issues at all times really feel too massive for you, and who have been you to realize massive issues anyway?! These narratives turn out to be a type of identification that not solely displays who we predict we’re, but in addition what we predict is feasible for us.

Do this: Subsequent time you catch your self doubting your greatness, flip it on its ear. As a substitute of claiming, “I don’t suppose I can follow a brand new manner of consuming” strive “I’m totally able to doing new issues.”

Take the Stairstep Method

Once I work with new purchasers, they usually really feel overwhelmed by all of the issues they suppose they need to do. There’s cleansing out the cupboards, determining which manufacturers are canola-free, studying the way to make their very own bone broth/kombucha/beet kvass… That is concerning the time I sneak in my stair-stepping strategy. This method is superior as a result of it breaks the journey down into smaller steps, which is much less intimidating than attempting to leap to the tip in a single bound.

Do this: On a chunk of paper, actually draw a staircase. Establish the underside step (that is the place you at the moment are) after which establish the highest step (that is the place you wish to go). Determine the very very first thing you should do to get to the following step, then try this factor! The remainder of the steps will reveal themselves as you go.


Simply because you are able to do all of the issues, doesn’t imply you should. Loads of occasions we get overwhelmed just because we put an excessive amount of on our plates. Similar to there’s no gold medal for getting extra accomplished, there’s no punishment for doing much less. Your worthiness has nothing to do with how a lot you accomplish or don’t accomplish. That being stated, there’s additionally no disgrace in delegating out duties and tasks.

Do this: Take into consideration what areas of your life might use some help. Can your partner cook dinner up a wholesome dinner tonight? Can your children provide help to kind by means of Primal recipes? Make a listing of the duties you wish to dole out and if you happen to need assistance getting extra snug with asking for help, read this.

Go From “I Can’t” to “I Obtained This”

Life might be overwhelming, even if you’re not in the course of a pandemic. However by taking note of your triggers, your tales, and your breath, you possibly can restore your capacity to suppose, to pay attention, and transfer ahead. It does take observe, however finally you possibly can practice your self to reply relatively than react. Comply with these 4 steps and see the way it works for you:

  • Breathe
  • Verify your Tales
  • Take the Stairstep Method
  • Delegate

How do you handle overwhelm? What techniques do you utilize to maneuver by means of it or keep away from all of it collectively?


In regards to the Writer

Erin Power

Erin Energy is the Teaching and Curriculum Director for Primal Health Coach Institute. She additionally helps her purchasers regain a loving and trusting relationship with their our bodies—whereas restoring their metabolic well being, to allow them to lose fats and acquire vitality—through her personal personal well being teaching observe, eat.simple.

If in case you have a ardour for well being and wellness and a need to assist folks like Erin does each day for her purchasers, think about changing into a licensed well being coach your self. Study the three easy steps to constructing a profitable well being teaching enterprise in 6 months or much less on this special info session hosted by PHCI co-founder Mark Sisson.

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