What is Overwhelm?
We all feel it and yet we can’t feel it with our fingers. So what is overwhelm?
We’ve all been in that place, haven’t we? When we have so much to do that we don’t know where to start, we feel as if we buried beneath something, we feel worn out before we even begin whatever it is that we need to do. Or we can’t stop thinking about some- thing that has happened, or been said, and we’re overwhelmed with feelings of sorrow, anxiety or anger.
Where does Overwhelm come from?
Constantly battling with feelings of stress, anxiety and overwhelm is debilitating. Stress and anxiety affect your health, happiness and quality of life. But what if everything that you knew about stress and overwhelm was wrong? What if, rather than managing the feeling of overwhelm and stress, you could understand where it came from and then find a way to let the feeling go?
And this is going to be easier than you think.
Is your thinking real?
Well, that’s the amazing special effect power of consciousness, it makes everything we think real to us. Have you ever had an argument with someone in your head. You know how it goes, you do your bit and then you do their bit? You wind yourself up with this argument whilst your mood goes down until you feel upset and angry – but the conver- sation wasn’t ‘real’ was it? You made it up.
If you think that you aren’t always feeling your thinking, try having miserable thoughts and a happy feeling – it ain’t going to happen!
Anyone would be Overwhelmed in my circumstances.
It’s easy to think that there’s a link between our circumstances or problems and the way we feel but I hope that you can now see that there is no direct link between the two.
How can there be a link between something that is happening on the outside and some- thing that is happening on the inside? If I saw an injured bird and felt sad, how would my feeling be coming from the bird? There isn’t a chemical link coming from the bird that affects my hormones. All of my feeling, 100%, is coming from my thoughts about the bird, or any situation, and can only last as long as the thought lasts.
I’m always Overwhelmed.
When you’re trying to control your thinking, you’re not seeing that your thinking is out of control. Ironically, the more we have on our minds, the less we actually get done. It is like paralysis, we think that we should be doing so much that we don’t know where to start and our thinking shoots off in different directions. The more frantic our thinking, the more frantic we feel.
Years ago, people thought that mind and body were separate but the field of Quantum Physics has proven that mind and body are related. We are always in a state of being. We are always thinking our feeling. If we have around 70,000 thoughts a day, how many of those thoughts are we aware of? We can’t possibly be aware of that many thoughts, thought flows through us until we get stuck on one and then we make it important. And then we add more thought to that thought until we feel overwhelmed.
Life is a thought based experience. Even if you think that isn’t true, you’d have to have a thought about it not being true to experience it.
Overwhelm in Relationships
Overwhelmed in your Relationship?
One area that almost everyone I have ever met gets overwhelmed in is relationships. This can be a relationship with a partner, a work colleague, a sibling or a child. We’re talking about the relationship with work colleagues and children later so for now we’ll concentrate on relationships with a partner.
I often work with couples and when they first come to me they expect to tell me all of their grievances with the other person. Now if they want to stay together, how can it possibly help them to talk about what they don’t like about the other person? If you sit down and have to listen to someone list of your ‘faults’, how is that going to make you feel more loving towards that person? All it can possibly do is make you feel more de- fensive and upset and add to the list of reasons that you don’t like your partner.
Our minds complicate things too much. Relationships are the most complicated things because we are always in our personal thinking about a relationship. We try to solve problems from our own perspective, not realising, as I’ve said before, at that moment that the other person is in their own reality bubble.
What happens when one of the couple has had an affair and, although they have decided to stay to- gether, the injured party cannot let it go. They might think that if they let it go, their partner has got away with it. The innocent, injured one is hurt and angry and can’t feel loving or happy towards the one that had the affair. They think that if they act in this way, their partner will think that they have been forgiven and the one that is suffering wants the other one to suffer too.
When you notice that you’re upset or angry, you know that you aren’t in a clear mind and although it feels like a relationship problem, it feels as if your partner is the cause of your upset, it really isn’t. It’s a thinking problem.
I’m not encouraging anyone to stay with someone that they don’t want to be with, I’m just pointing out how you can stay with someone and have a good relationship if that’s what you want.
Overwhelm in Parenting
Parenting can be overwhelming.
Even if you immediately bond with your baby and fall instantly in love with this tiny per- son, you have still gone from someone who, although you may not have realised it, had time to read the paper or enjoy a cup of coffee to someone who hasn’t had time to take a shower or brush their hair. And this is overwhelming. And there is the physical tiredness.
So, you get through the baby stage and are hopefully patting yourself on the back when you hit toddler time.
This really is a time to let your child be your teacher. You know how it is if your child picks up something that isn’t really safe for him to play with. You take it away and it’s like the end of the world. Your child might scream and cry, throw himself on the floor and flail his arms and legs. Complete meltdown. And then he plays with something else. I’ll bet no two year old ever goes to bed and thinks, ‘I can’t believe she took that toy away from me.’
Another time parents get caught up and overwhelmed is when you have teenage children.
It’s so easy to forget how difficult it is to be a teenager, when hormones are rampaging and you’re stuck between being a child and an adult. Teenagers are often overwhelmed and the last thing either of you need is for you both to be caught up in overwhelm. If you’ve been lucky enough to share the nature of thought with your children when they were younger, your teenager won’t be caught in this maelstrom of emotion because they will see where their reactions and impulses come from. And life can be a dance.
Overwhelm at Work
How many get that Sunday night dread when you think about Monday morning? I’ve known people that started to get that Monday feeling as early as Saturday afternoon.
But how can you get overwhelmed on Saturday because you’re going in to work on Monday? Yes, you’ve got it! It’s the amazing power of thought again.
Another way that people become overwhelmed at work is when they feel that they’re being judged and they are judging themselves. It’s understandable that you react to the things that people say and do and get in to a lot of thinking about whether someone else is doing their job properly, maybe you feel that they aren’t doing their fair share of an allocated task and the bulk of the work is down to you. This can really send people into overwhelm.
People get overwhelmed by expectations, meetings, goals and deadlines in the working world. But if you think that your job is overwhelming you, is this the same case every day? Or, are there days that seem easier than others? Why do you think this is? It’s always going to be your thinking about the job that you’re getting overwhelmed by. But it doesn’t look like that, does it? It looks as if it’s your boss or the hundreds of emails you’ve got to get through that’s overwhelming you..
How do you Overcome Overwhelm?
So that’s it. You can see that you never get overwhelmed by the things you’re doing at this very moment – only by thinking about what you should be doing in the future or what you should have done in the past. In this very second you are just getting on with things.
We’ve looked at where overwhelm comes from, how it affects parenting, relationships and your work life, but have I said how you can avoid and overcome overwhelm? Well, it’s easier than you might imagine.