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How to stop feeling overwhelmed

By February 29, 201610x Business

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed? Like there isn’t enough time in the day for you to do everything you should?

I was starting to feel this way this weekend. Here are the 4 areas of awareness and action that destroyed my overwhelm in two hours.

1) Overwhelm is lack of inner spaciousness.

Wherever we go, there we are. We see and hear the world as we are – not as it is. So when we aren’t feeling spacious within (peace, relaxation, calm, power, presence, time, love…) we are always going to perceive the world outside of us as being overwhelming.

Have you had a day where everything seemed right, but things got under your skin more than normal? What about a day where nothing is going right, but you’re still rolling with the punches?

This phenomena comes back to your ability to hold spaciousness within. This secret skill can make a day “better” – and a lack of it can make a day worse.

Overwhelm has little to do with your external circumstances. It has everything to do with your internal world.

Solution: Turn back the years of habits that create constriction inside of you. Breathe and relax. Stand barefoot on the earth. Take 5 minutes to create space within you and gain a new perspective.

2) Overwhelm is concern with the HOW rather than the DOING.

Ask yourself if you’re carrying the “how” of a thing instead of just doing the thing. Asking “how” gets you stuck in an information gathering cycle. This exponentially increases overwhelm over time.

Seeking “How To” creates a gap between where you are – and where you “should” be. This gap contributes to overwhelm. The longer you learn “how”, the more you will hear nuanced advice and perspectives. This is cycle is extraordinarily common in todays world – because you will see “how” marketed to you everywhere. You don’t even have to seek it out.

All these perspectives will create a larger and larger list of what your project should be and “how to” do it right. The larger the list, the more overwhelming your experience. And the more you start to procrastinate.

You didn’t get stuck on the ‘how to’ of talking or walking. You just experimented until you learned.

Learn from your 2 year old self. Asking “how to” will always lead to overwhelm if it isn’t accompanied by action.

Solution: You already know the “how” of at least ONE next action step. DO THAT, no matter how small. When you create this type of habit in your life, overwhelm will melt away.

3) Lack of time is a lack of true priorities.

Overwhelm and time scarcity go hand in hand. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may feel you “don’t have enough time” to do what you would like to do.

This isn’t a time management problem. This is a twofold problem. (1) A lack of true priorities and (2) a lack of committment to those priorities.

Solution: Immediately put everything on paper. Start prioritizing and organizing what is in front of you. Make decisions based upon your priorities rather than living each day in response mode. Once prioritized, keep your commitments to these priorities. Don’t let a shiny new object chase them away.

4) Overwhelm has about the same productivity as doing nothing…but feels way worse.

At the end of it all, overwhelm isn’t much more productive than doing nothing. In fact, it’s worse. Because you are way more stressed out.

Maybe you get to give yourself permission to do nothing for 30 minutes. Or an hour. Or even a day.

You may discover that all the pressure you’re putting on yourself (and that you’re allowing the outside world to put on you) is only there because you’ve given it permission to be. What would happen if you reset the entire thing? Made new agreements with yourself and others? Kept boundaries?

At least when you’re doing nothing – you have time to enjoy life.

Solution: Commit to enjoying the journey instead of feeling overwhelmed. If you don’t create what you want in life – you won’t get it. Do you want to enjoy the journey?

Commit to it. Be intentional about it.

To your future.

– Jonathan Caleb Heston