Desperately need solutions, but feeling overwhelmed?
You’re probably trapped in a double bind. (Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!)
To escape the trap of feeling overwhelmed, you need one simple insight that isn’t obvious when you’re so stuck. And that’s why iWho is here:)
Important Note: Feeling overwhelmed is different than overwhelming feelings.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you probably have:
• Too much to do
• A big problem you don’t know how to solve
Overwhelming feelings could point to various scenarios that do not apply to this post, such as PTSD flooding, attacks of anxiety, racing or obsessive thoughts, rage, or any states of mind and body that come on so strong as to be overwhelming.
This post is about feeling overwhelmed because you have too much to do or a complex problem you can’t figure out – and not about the flood of emotion that comes from other issues. Here are some specific examples:
Looking at your to-do list is all it takes to feel crushed by pressure.
Thinking about your massive obligations makes you want to kneel down and cry.
Helping your teenager survive high school seems like more than you can manage.
When you try to get your mind around how to fix your relationship, the problems compound.
You have no idea how you are ever going to keep your house clean and organized.
So, you’re overwhelmed by life circumstance and the pressure is real. Now let’s look at the trap.
Understanding the Mental Trap
Overwhelm is a signal that circumstances are oppressive. You really need to solve this problem, but can’t seem to get out from under it, right? Yet, the solution to isn’t what you’re thinking (most likely).
Here’s the trap: In the midst of an overwhelming problem, you are most likely to believe the solution to feeling overwhelmed is to solve the problem. It isn’t! You believe you can’t find relief until circumstances change. Not true! This line of reasoning is a symptom of the trap.
Worse, trying to solve a problem when you’re feeling overwhelmed isn’t effective. You’re more productive when you’re feeling grounded, right?
How to Escape
Redefine the goal. You don’t need to solve the problem (yet) of having too much to do or a huge, pressing issue. The solution happens when you stop feeling overwhelmed. The end result, when you’re out of the trap, is having the exact same complex problem or to-do list, but not feeling overwhelmed by it.
To put it another way:
1) You have a problem.
2) You are overwhelmed.
These are two different things. Seek to reduce the overwhelm first, then take a fresh look at the problem. This is the key to the trap. Use any method you know to reduce the pressure without expecting to solve the problem. At that point, any relaxation methods or task organizing methods should work much better.