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Last Updated on February 8, 2021

How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Regain Control

How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Regain Control

We live in a time of productivity overload. Everywhere you turn there are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, and how to do more and more all in the name of eventually getting out of the rat race. All of this can lead to overwhelm, which is why you’re not trying to discover how to stop feeling overwhelmed.

If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more, and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy.

We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle, and we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

Whether you’re overwhelmed with studying, working, taking care of kids, or developing new professional skills, you can learn how to stop being overwhelmed with a few simple tips and tricks. Not only will you get the important stuff done, but you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

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1. Orient Your Thinking Towards Positive Thoughts

When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why you have to take on so much responsibility in the first place. The first thing you have to do is to stop with this kind of thinking.

Instead, focus on the positive and look toward problem solving. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education.

After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it, and you’ll be on your way to learning how to stop feeling overwhelmed.

2. Take a Deep Breath and Change Your Posture

When you’re stressed, certain things happen to your body. You start to breath more shallow, you hunch over, you immediately tense up, and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more.

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To counter this, straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing breaths[1]. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I got this!”

Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

3. Focus on Right Now

Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

Once you know what you want to do, write out the steps you need to take to carry out this action.

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4. Take Action

Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, you need to act on your plan if you want to learn how to stop feeling overwhelmed. Start with the first step and focus on getting that done through responsible time management.

Don’t worry about anything else right now. Just focus on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done, determine the next most important step and create a new goal and plan.

5. Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed, there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process.

The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. For example, after an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it, as there’s nothing you can do to change the outcome. The same goes for feeling overwhelmed.

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If you can do something about your situation, focus and take action. However, if you’ve done what you could and are now just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

6. Stop Feeling Guilty

If you want to learn how to stop feeling overwhelmed, you need to stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, but don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey is uniquely yours, so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

The Bottom Line

If you’re trying to learn how to stop feeling overwhelmed and get back to a sense of balance and feelings of joy, the important thing is to realize that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Identify where your stressors are coming from and what action steps you can take to tackle them head on instead of letting them control your emotions.

With each little step you take, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more in control of your days.

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Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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Published on February 25, 2021

How To Get Rid Of Your Social Media Addiction

How To Get Rid Of Your Social Media Addiction

Nowadays, if you’re not on social media, you feel like you’re not truly living in the 21st century. Everything from businesses to personal and professional relationships, social media has a strong presence—and with that, a luring temptation to spend even more time using its features.

While it still provides platforms where we can connect with friends and family, it has exponentially grown to an online version of the Vegas strip: advertisements, videos, and links inviting us to turn our attention to the next latest and greatest trend or product. According to a recent article by Forbes, having a potent social media strategy is critical for businesses and consumers alike.[1] We make a tremendous amount of purchasing decisions based on content provided to us via social media channels.

Likewise, we also tend to “follow the flock” when it comes to new trends, ideas, fashion, and unfortunately, even politics. While the positive side of social media is that we now have more freedom of expression, the shadow side is still just as present: we can easily lose our sense of individuality.[2] It’s a slippery slope—and one that often takes a bit of time and consequence to realize and change. This is why the term “social media addiction” has taken root in the health and wellness industry as one of the causes of mental health issues.[3]

Social Media Addiction and How It Affects Health

How we use social media has drastically changed since the dawn of websites like Facebook. Initially, Facebook’s platform was a simple way of connecting with friends and family and posting cheesy pictures or status updates on Facebook’s “wall.”

Over time, however, with the emergence of a more picture-oriented platform like Instagram, we upped the ante. This is where the slippery slope emerged, and we’re still dealing with it presently.

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Take a look at some of the most popular Instagram profiles today. You’ll likely see a pattern of manicured photos and perfect layouts, followed by millions of users. This has become an “Instagram goal,” and it perpetuates the idea that beautiful pictures equate to a happy user. We know that’s simply not the case, but this mentality and desire to create a perfect life online for all to see is feeding depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Likewise, it’s causing us to lose our sense of authenticity and realness because the “real world” problems don’t make for beautiful social media posts. Instead, we hide behind the beauty that’s only covering up our sadness, grief, or loneliness. Because we’ve carefully created our online world, we’ve stepped out of our real one. Social media addiction is this practice of escapism.[4]

So, how do you take back the reins of your life and curb your time on social media (and stop social media addiction)? Here are some steps to get started.

1. Think About Why You’d Like to Be on Social Media

Everything we do in life is about intention: why do you want to do something? What will it bring you? The same goes for social media use. It may be silly to ask this question when thinking about a Facebook or Instagram account, but if you want to truly control your social media (instead of the other way around), asking this question may truly be eye-opening.

Do you want to just keep in touch with friends, or do you want to promote your business? Getting to the crux of why you’re online will help you clearly mark your time on social media effectively and eliminate everything else.

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2. Be Meticulous About Who You Follow and what you post and share

Attention is your greatest currency. Read that again.

Everything that you click on or “like” becomes a thread in the tapestry of what comes back to you on social media newsfeeds. You want to create the kind of information spread that works for you, your needs, and your time. So, often, we impulsively follow people who may not be serving our best interests.

Give yourself permission to clean those contacts out every once in a while! It’s okay to disagree with someone. Instead of plummeting into a rabbit hole of social media thread arguments, unfollow anyone who you don’t connect with. It’s much better for your mental health and helps you get rid of social media addiction.

Likewise, be meticulous about what you share. Are you posting misinformation yourself? Just like you are planning on cleaning up your contacts list, someone who follows you may be thinking of doing the same. Make it a priority to share and post things that not only have significance to you but also serve others.

3. Curb the Time You Spend Online

If you have a laundry list of things to get done but have spent the last three hours scrolling your newsfeed, it’s time to close the app or the computer. Set a timer on your phone, if that’s what it takes to solve your social media addiction.

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Once you begin the practice of detaching from being online so much, you’ll notice that you get so much time back! This time has always existed, but you were just using it poorly. It’s not that you don’t have enough time—it’s just that you spend too much time scrolling online instead of being productive.

4. Change Your Notification Settings

If your productivity is suffering because you’re constantly distracted by the pings from your notifications, there are ways to turn those notifications off in your settings. Better yet, you can always delete the apps from your phone and devices and resolve to check your social media notifications on your desktop. This way, you can get back to finishing your work without facing the temptation of checking your messages.

5. Not Everything Has to Be Posted and Shared

It often feels like we’re in a perpetual case of “FOMO” when it comes to posting on social media. If the Superbowl came and went and you didn’t post anything at all, will the world continue to spin? Of course.

We don’t have any social obligation to our followers to keep them abreast of every single event that happens in our life. These are choices that we must make consciously and in alignment with our desires.

Think about the last concert (in the pre-COVID world) you went to—did you immediately post bits of the concert to social media or snapped and uploaded a selfie of you and your friends?

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These are habitual things that we don’t even think about, which brings me to the final point…

6. It’s Okay to Put Your Phone Down and Enjoy Life

In fact, this one very simple point could truly help you cut that social media addiction! Precious moments of your life are one in a million—like seeing a shooting star or catching the smile of your favorite person. These moments are so fragile, and they never happen the same way twice in your lifetime.

Don’t run towards your phone to capture that moment. Capture it instead with your eyes and with your heart. Let it become a sweet memory. Enjoy the moment you’re so keen on sharing with others and instead, prioritize sharing it with yourself.

Final Thoughts

Social media addiction, when left unchecked, can lead us to depression and lack of self-worth and authenticity. If we “follow the flock” in search of creating a perfect online life, we’re stepping further away from being ourselves. This brings about a slew of consequences, which can snowball over time and lead to worse obstacles in our lives.

When we finally learn how to use social media, to what extent, and with what intention in mind, we can take control over it before it takes control over us.

More on Social Media Addiction

Featured photo credit: Ryan Plomp via unsplash.com

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