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Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of life. Everyone occasionally feels overwhelmed by expectations, responsibilities, and a lack of time. The past 16 months have been a huge test on us as Realtors© and being able to handle everything coming at us. However, dwelling on feelings of overwhelm and letting them knock you off course can be detrimental to both your mental health and your productivity. If you find yourself saying “I’m overwhelmed” or feeling stuck with more than you can handle, here are some things to keep in mind to help you get through it.
1. These Emotions Are Natural. In the scope of the Earth’s history, human emotions are a fairly recent development. It’s no wonder we haven’t learned to peacefully coexist with them and end up fighting them on a daily basis. It can often feel like these feelings should be easy to overcome, but feeling overwhelmed is a natural response to having too many things going on at once. It’s your mind’s way of telling you that you need to slow down if you want to live a healthier life. Recognizing that overwhelm is your body’s way of trying to help you through difficult times can help shift the relationship you have with this emotion. Once you recognize it for what it is and invite it in without fighting it, you can begin to work with it to improve your feelings in a healthy way.
2. It’s a Breakdown of Thoughts, Not of Life. Our minds are powerful things, and feeling overwhelmed can feel like the end of life as we know it. In the book, As a Man Thinketh, James Allen says: “As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.” We have the power to manage our thoughts, and as a result, manage who we are and who we will grow to be. This involves making our mental and physical health a high priority. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your life isn’t falling apart—your thoughts are. Take a minute to find and clean out all your self-deprecating, negative emotions and thoughts. As you do this, you will find yourself feeling refreshed and invigorated with renewed energy to take on the world.
3. Things Can Turn Around Quickly. Maybe you’re saying “I’m feeling overwhelmed” as you face a project at work and don’t think you have the energy or time to finish it. You start letting yourself play out every negative scenario resulting from a failed project. Sitting on the couch and dwelling on these thoughts isn’t going to make anything better. In fact, it usually makes things worse. Things seem to fall in place as you chip away at a project and come to realize it wasn’t as bad as you thought. A good friend of mine always say to me “Things work out most of the time, just not all the time. It’s all good.”
4. You’ve Felt This Way Before. Think about the last time you felt overwhelmed. How did you overcome it? In the end, was it really as bad as you thought? If you don’t learn from past experiences, you’ll find yourself suffering from the same problems over and over. Successful people are the ones who understand that every experience, good or bad, is valuable. Go to a quiet place, and take as long as you need to remember previous times in your life you felt this way and how you overcame it.
5. Your Problems May Not Be as Bad as You Think. The best way to find out how good you actually have it is to take a break from worrying about your own life and do something kind for someone in a worse spot than you. Volunteering at a homeless shelter or orphanage can help put your problems into perspective, and that tight deadline may not seem so overwhelming. Furthermore, acts of kindness can produce oxytocin, which can help you feel better all around. This is vital when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
6. It’s Easy to Keep Doing Nothing. Your situation changes quickly when you start doing something, but it’s always easier to continue doing nothing. The mind generally doesn’t react well to change and will do its best to help you keep doing what you’ve been doing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, that may mean it tries to make you do nothing. Those who overcome their struggles quickly are the ones who never give up, even when they feel that all is lost. At times, it might feel like there is nothing you can do, but that is exactly when you need to do something. How will you ever know for sure there was nothing you could do if you didn’t try? At the very least, you will find personal confidence in knowing that you did everything you could.
7. Gratitude Can Help Immensely. In a world of people obsessed with putting their best self forward, it’s easy to feel like everyone has more than you. Get that thought out of your head, and remember what you do have. Often, the things you have right now are things you were worried about having in the past. Don’t let an insatiable desire for more blind you from seeing and appreciating everything you have right now. Gratitude can combat feelings of overwhelm by bringing you into the present, which will combat worries of the future. Once you’re in the now, you can focus on what you need to do to get past feeling overwhelmed and overcoming the many things coming at you at once. If you don’t know what to do you’re overwhelmed, take some deep breaths and try to start a gratitude journal: How a Gratitude Journal and Positive Affirmations Can Change Your Life
8. People Want You to Succeed. Remember there are people in your life who want you succeed. Your life touches so many others, and there are people out there rooting for you. These people are part of your support system, and you can turn to them each time you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can call them for a quick pep talk, invite them out for coffee if you need a break, or even ask them for help with your overwhelming list of things to do. The bottom line, feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of life that comes from trying to always take on more than we should. This feeling is difficult to avoid in today’s world, but there are things you can do to reduce those feelings once they do arise. Remember the reminders above whenever you’re not sure how to move forward, and you’ll soon find yourself on the other side.
Strength and courage,