Overwhelmed? Try these quick remedies

Caution - quicksand! sign in Dutch

Caution! Quicksand (Photo by Ralf Schulze; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)

You know the feeling–everything needs to be done at the same time; there aren’t enough hours in the day; the avalanche of demands is so enormous that you get paralyzed and can’t take action.

When that awful feeling of overwhelm hits, try one or more of these quick remedies.  They won’t solve all the problems that assail you, but they may get you unstuck and moving forward with some ease.

  • Take a walk.  Get outdoors, move your body, and enjoy a different perspective that comes with spending time in the natural world.
  • Sit in silence for five or ten minutes with no expectation that you need to accomplish anything. Just let your mind wander, count your breaths, or dive into meditation. Give your worries a break for a few minutes.
  • Write down all the stuff that occupies your mind and causes anxiety. Make a list or write in a journal. Get it out of your head and onto paper, where you can take a fresh look at it.
  • Ask yourself this question: What is the one thing that I must get done today in order to sleep well tonight?
  • Take action on something that you feel overwhelmed about, even if it doesn’t seem like the highest priority thing to do right now. Just taking action can move you out of the paralysis that often accompanies overwhelm.

Each of these techniques helps you to regain a sense of empowerment and forward motion. Rather than getting stuck in the quicksand of overwhelm, you can step away from it and then take action based on a revised perspective.

What do you do to overcome overwhelm? Please share your experience in a comment.

To your ease!

Pat Daniel, Ph.D.

© Pat Daniel, Ph.D. and wizardofease.com, 2011.
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3 Responses to Overwhelmed? Try these quick remedies

  1. Mary says:

    Thank you Pat!

    I needed this reminder today! I am off to take a 10 minute walk in the sunshine.

    : 0 )


  2. Beth Tener says:

    I find the practice of writing three pages of freehand text first thing in the morning to be helpful in the times of overwhelm (Julia Cameron suggests this technique in her book The Artist’s Way.) A list of things to do surfaces as I write though it also allows me the chance to vent or express the overwhelm. Usually after seeing the items on paper I can prioritize and clarify what really needs to get done that day or what can wait. Talking to a friend like Pat is also extremely helpful!

  3. Barbara says:

    I’ve just checked in after a somewhat stressful session of scheduling around 20 of my mother’s poems to be published in my blog tomorrow afternoon (Fables and Myths According to Ernestine). All keyed up as a result. Your advice for overwhelmed people was just what I needed. I’ll have a glass of Ensure, turn on the classical music channel, and finally finish George Elliot’s Middlemarch.
    Thank you, Pat!

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