Apr 9, 2024 | Mindset

We live in unprecedented times. Never before in our long history have we had this much access to information. Anyone, anywhere can reach you via media, social media, or directly through your mobile phone or email. As a result our lives have changed. We hear about natural disasters half a world away minutes after they happen. Work doesn’t end when we walk out of the office at five and most of us will check email for a few minutes before going to bed. And let’s not even talk about the amount of digital noise social media brings into our lives. All of this can lead to quite a bit of overwhelm and stress. The two feed into each other and it’s more important than ever to be aware of both so you can counteract their negative side effects.

Let’s start by looking at how overwhelm causes stress. You know stress is bad for you. It’s not a good state of mind and has negative health effects associated with it. When you have a lot on your plate, or a huge stack of paperwork to get through, the task can seem overwhelming. That in turn causes you to feel stressed. The longer you put things off, the worse it will get.

The solution is to come up with a plan of action. Get out a piece of paper and decide how you will work through this. Having a plan, especially in writing, will go a long way towards cutting out the overwhelm. Next it’s time to take action. As you start to chip away at the pile or the list, you will feel the overwhelm and stress melt away.

On the flip side, stress can cause overwhelm. Think back on a time when you felt particularly stressed. Maybe you had a lot going on at work, or you weren’t sure how you were going to make rent that month. Suddenly things that you would normally handle without a hitch feel overwhelming.

The solution here is to address the stress and actively work towards reducing it. This could mean cutting back. Or it could be a matter of making yourself a priority. Take a bath, go for a walk, and make sure you get plenty of sleep. Destress and you will feel less overwhelmed.

And then there’s overwhelming stress. That’s when things start to pile up and get out of control. Your overwhelm makes you feel stressed; the stress in turn makes you even more overwhelmed than before. And it goes on and on, getting worse and spiraling out of control if you let it.

How do you break out of this vicious cycle of overwhelm and stress? I have two recommendations for you.

Breathe and take action.

Both seem deceptively simple, but they both work like a charm. Next week we take a deeper dive into some more actions. In the meantime . . . don’t forget to breathe.

Hi there, I'm Jennifer.


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