5 Ways to Tackle The Overwhelm Monster and Come Out Winning

If there’s one word I’m hearing more and more these days it’s this: Overwhelm.

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Jul 12, 2014
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Just this last week a corporate client called me up to talk about concerns he was having for his team who have now been through four lots of “business transformation” in as many years.

That term – business transformation - sounds exciting from a consultant speak point of view. But boil it down and what that means for my client and his team is tougher performance targets, more visibility, and greater accountability. And all to be achieved with considerably less headcount.

While recent headlines suggest that the UK economy is getting back on track, a whole lot of people seem to be beyond stressed in the process of keeping themselves and their businesses pointing in the right direction.

But does it have to be this way?

Well, of course not. Here are five ideas to help to kick that monster’s ass:

Choice

So, here’s the first thing you can do:

Realize that you have choice. It may seem right now like you just have to suck up whatever situation you’re in, and hope that at some point things will get better, but you don’t.

You can choose here and now to give yourself a different experience.

You don’t have to be the overwhelm monster’s victim.

Allow how you feel to be okay

One of the things that happens when we get into situations of extraordinary pressure, is that we start to worry about how to deal with it all.

And then we worry about our worrying. Putting even more pressure in the mix.

Sometimes it’s so bad that we completely immobilize ourselves with worry.

Perfectionism and control freakery do have a lot to answer for!

So, you feel overwhelmed. What if you made it okay for yourself to feel that way instead of fighting it? I’m not suggesting that you cave into it. Just that you accept that’s where you are, and then get curious about it.

Realize that YOU are already okay

Alongside that, the next thing to understand for yourself is that, no matter what is going on in your environment, fundamentally you are always okay.

I know that right now it looks as if you have to make the numbers or whatever in order to feel okay about yourself.

But what if being okay wasn’t contingent on these things at all?

It doesn’t (yet) make anything right, but it does start to take the pressure off a bit.

Understand the power of thought

As much as it looks like all that overwhelm and pressure is created outside of us – it isn’t.

Pressure is 100% created inside our minds. All that happens outside of us is neutral. It’s our own thinking that makes meaning of it all.

This is something I talked about in my Zen of Work post here.

I’m not saying that stuff in our worlds isn’t happening for real. I am saying that all of how we feel is created by all of what we think.

I’ll talk about this more in another post about the whole inside-out revolution that’s going on in Psychology right now.

For now it’s useful to consider just how clever our minds are. We make meaning of things and react to them from the lens of the meaning we’ve made. Most of the time we don’t even know this is what we’re doing.

And that’s not just happening at a rational level. Thinking and feeling are completely wrapped up together like Yin and Yang.

Thinking overwhelmed leads to feeling overwhelmed.

See overwhelm as an illusion

When you get that your mind is creating the experience of overwhelm, it’s like a spell get’s broken and you wake up.

Suddenly you can see that overwhelm is just an illusion. It’s something we’ve invented ourselves. Beyond it, you have options that you couldn’t have imagined had you stayed in the mindset of being overwhelmed and just having to cope with it.

Overwhelm is clever and it looks real. But it’s not.

Understand that and, no matter what other pressure is going on around you, you’ll just start to feel much more calm.

Christine Livingston is a writer, coach and speaker who works with smart people and their businesses, to create unorthodox results in their work and life. Get exclusive content that she shares only with her VIP list by joining here.

Go to the profile of Christine Livingston

Christine Livingston

Coach, Catalyst, Change Artist

Writer, coach, inspiration junkie, partner, friend, coffee-drinker, paleo eater, world traveler and more.

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