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5 Things You Can Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

5 Things You Can Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

Someone takes acknowledgment for your idea. You’re not invited to that important meeting. You have more work than you know what to do with. You can’t seem to get any help, let alone consideration.

We’ve all been there. We all feel this way at some point. Where we can’t see a path ahead, and we’re not sure how to get from where we are now, to where we want to be.

Like a GPS, if you want to travel across the country, you have to take the first step. The same goes for when you’re overwhelmed. Success is never a straight line.

1. Don’t Do Anything Brash

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to get frustrated, annoyed and be generally on-edge. Especially if things in your everyday life all start losing synergy. Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep or haven’t had time to confront your concerns. When that happens, it’s easy to lose your cool.

Instead of choosing that instant gratification and possibly jeopardizing everything you’ve worked for, just stop.

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Unless you’re calm, rational and serious, no one is going to take you serious. Breathe, just breathe.

2. Get Some Perspective

As much as you’re going to want to fester in the details and keep thinking about everything, it’s really important to do the exact opposite. Find ways to take a breather so you see the situation from different perspectives.

Especially if your decision means approaching your boss or partner about a big concern. Make sure you’ve taken the time to see things from their personal perspective. What are they going through? Do they know the full picture? Could talking to them help solve the issue?

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

To get some much needed perspective, it’s important to disconnect from the situation and re-group. The fastest path to this is often by doing something completely different from your regular routine. Take a new walking route. Read a different style of book. Watch a video series or documentary you’ve been putting off. You can de-clutter your desk or home, which may help you feel more in control. My go to happy places are my Audible app, Bible app and Lynda.com. I use those resources, because there’s less of a chance I’ll get distracted like I do on YouTube.

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3. Acceptance

Don’t feel bad about being overwhelmed. It happens to everyone.

“I AM OVERWHELMED!” – Oprah

Despite the fact that you’re a rock star, doesn’t mean you can do everything. Even Superman had to choose between people to save, with his super hearing.
Sometimes we question why we can’t do everything when we should be questioning why we’re so keen on doing everything. Since we can’t change time, the only thing we can do is change ourselves. What if we better utilized our own super human talents?

As hard as it is, there’s always something worse that can happen or someone out there close to you going through much harder times. When you feel your emotions spike, remember all the things you can be grateful for.

Once you’re able to shift your mindset from victim to fighter, you can turn those obstacles into opportunities.

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4. Take Action or Else

As soon as you speak up and take action, it’s out into the world, and there’s nothing more you can do. Relief!

“The significant problems we face in life can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

So book that overdue meeting with the colleague you’ve been having problems with. Take some time to bring aside a loved one for the talk. Set aside time to prioritize your life. Do it. Do it now!

When you do, take your time with it. As soon as you’re past the point of bottling things up, snapping and exploding, you can move onto being a constructive so there can be a positive outcome. That’s the ultimate point right?

Second chances aren’t always an option. Sometimes you only get the one. So be courageous, honest and methodical.

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5. Pay Better Attention to How You Feel

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made is letting things bottle up until I burst, instead of aiming towards a positive outcome. No one likes a bully. If only I listened to my inner dialogue that told me to stop talking, think about the bigger picture and to wait for a better time to get my point across.

Being overwhelmed isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually the biggest sign that something isn’t going right, and you’re overdue for a change.

“Where focus goes, energy flows” – Jim Carrey

Embrace the fear and failure in the situation, and release it in the most constructive way you can at the time.  Feel it. Cry it out. Write it out. Paint it out. Or, talk to someone you trust. Don’t ignore your well being.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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