Overwhelm Out of My Control

Overwhelm ~ Out of My Control

What it is…What it isn’t…and How to step out of it!

Overwhelm seems to sneak up on us, catching us by surprise.

 “Overwhelm  – don’t you just feel exhausted hearing the word.  I do.  When I say it with the expectation that it is right here I feel it in my bones.”

Overwhelm is an emotion that gets all of us nowhere.  My coach calls it an indulgent emotions, meaning that it creates in action that looks like rumination, questioning and even self-judgement. 

Overwhelm in my life has shown up almost silently.  It isn’t until it is upon me that I even recognize the fact that overwhelm is here.  Recognition begins with, “I have watched a lot of Netflix this week.”  With that observation I look around a bit to see what is going on.  In the midst of overwhelm…not much.

I might “Keep up appearances” but beyond that there is little going on for me.

Beset by Intense Emotion

Emotional overwhelm is a state of being beset by intense emotion that is difficult to manage. It can affect your ability to think and act rationally,…{preventing} you from performing daily tasks.
~ Good Therapy paragraph 1.

Beset by intense emotion, when I read that I thought, YES! That’s it.

An intense emotion that I do not seem to have any power over.  I am stuck on the couch.  My tone of voice is flat.  I am uninterested in anything.  I am not moving.  I am beset by emotion

If you have walked this like me, you know how trapped you feel.  Why?  Because there is nothing to do and if there were something to do, it would not make a difference anyway.  Pretty despairing.

And yet, in the midst of the  awful and in the midst of the despair we have no interest in stepping away from it.  We believe we cannot.

Belief = True?

Belief is true.  That is what we have been taught.  If we believe something, it is true.  I mean why would we believe it, if it were not true?  Right?

…are all our beliefs true?

On the surface we may say yes, but when we look a little deeper at ALL of our beliefs, perhaps not.  You see beliefs, like every other sentence in our brain is a thought.  It is changeable and we all change them as we gather new information.

An original childhood belief is Santa clause.  As we got older our parents let us into their secret and we learned that Santa was not real and our belief was changed.  While we believed, for many of us, that belief dictated what we did and how we acted.  It spurred on fantasy and perhaps creativity as we colored in the reindeer in our coloring books.

You see beliefs are those guiding thought impacting who we are, what we do and how we make decisions.

Some beliefs – like Santa –we walked away from over time because we decided we did not believe.

We cannot put beliefs down, until we see them.

Putting Down Overwhelm

Putting down overwhelm begins with recognition.  In the past you may have experienced this with a thought like,

”Well that’s enough of that.”

This thought shifts us out of overwhelm and into an emotion like resolve.  From a place of resolve is how we get up off the couch and begin our move.

But what happened between Overwhelm and Resolve? 
Why did it shift, especially when the overwhelm it seems so constrictive and dire?

Overwhelm shifted to resolve because we chose to shift it.

Sometimes we indulge in overwhelm for a long while.  But as we sit there in overwhelm, not moving, we will be shifted out of it for a couple of reasons.  Either there is an emergency or shock to our current circumstance or environment OR we the limited pleasure we get from sitting on the couch with Netflix and a glass of wine wanes.  We become bored eventually and we choose to shift. 

In the podcast on Thursday, I talk about the effects of a house fire on overwhelm.  The instant shift that takes place pulls us out of overwhelm.

No Fire Needed

Though many of us sit until there is an emergency to shake us from overwhelm. There are other ways to walk out of overwhelm.

The first step is to look at our overwhelm, honestly.  Seeing how we are and accepting it without judgement actually provides space to consider we may have options. 

The second step is to ask ourselves, “If I did have options what would they be?” 

Again, it is important to consider everything no matter how mundane or fanciful, but to consider and list.

The third step is to look at all of the options and realize, “I have options”.

This shift in belief to I have options changes what we see here and in our wider life.

From here is where we begin to step out of overwhelm.  When options are seen, action is seen as a possibility and action is taken. 

The first step is the hardest of them all and yet the most impactful.  When we can look at our overwhelm as it is and look at ourselves as we are with compassion, that is when we find the energy to move forward.

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive” ~ Brene Brown

When WE are that someone, who responds with empathy and understanding, we can change our beliefs and we can move out of overwhelm…without a fire.

Remembering and Choosing

When overwhelm comes remember it does not have absolute power over you.  It is not an absolute truth that must run its course.

Overwhelm is an emotion and not a fact.  It is driven by thoughts. Thoughts the brain is sending creating to keep us safe. 

Though in the moment it seems unescapable and something within us has gone wrong, let me assure you nothing has gone wrong.  

In order to redirect and step out of overwhelm though we must remember and choose to change those thought/belief that created the overwhelm in the first place. 

Want to learn more about this tool? I encourage you to choose at day and time to chat with me.  Include the word “options” in the question area.  Click the blue “Let’s Chat” button at the top of every ReloWomen page.

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Podcast Links:

Relocation ~ What You Must Know worksheet

Good Therapy Emotional Overwhelm

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