Don’t Ignore Being Overwhelmed
Lessons From an Emotional Detox
“When overwhelm is given the time and space it needs to be processed, it transforms into a victory attempting to happen.”
Are you having trouble thinking clearly? Do you find that you start one thing and then quickly move to something else? Are you easily annoyed or distracted? Or perhaps you are feeling preoccupied to the point where you are forgetting events, times, and dates?
While many people identify feeling overwhelmed with a chronic worry or nervousness, what I have learned is that when this emotion is left unprocessed, it can also make you feel heavy, tired, and unmotivated.
I used to focus on the heaviness. Instead of processing the emotion of overwhelm, I looked for ways to deal with the fatigue. While things like getting a snack or taking a break from the task seemed to help for the short term, they did not give me the long-term relief for which I was hoping.
It wasn’t until I learned to fully process my emotions using the seven mindful steps I lay out in my book Emotional Detox for Anxiety that I discovered what overwhelm was really trying to tell me—and each of us who experience it.
What I learned is that by detoxing the reactions around overwhelm you are opening yourself up to success.
Let me put it to you this way: The emotion of overwhelm may be a sign you are burying something—not just things you don’t like (such as stress, past experiences, pressure, insecurity)—but also something looking to grow and develop. If you keep covering up, ignoring, or avoiding overwhelm, you may increase the feeling of being out of control, which can intensify feelings of self-doubt and confusion.
But, when overwhelm is given the time and space it needs to be processed, it transforms into a victory attempting to happen. You only feel overwhelmed in regard to something you really care about or something for which you worked very hard, like getting your education, completing a project, or providing a good life for your children. By choosing to process overwhelm, you learn one of these areas in your life is ready to ripen. Your hard work, effort, and good intentions pay off.
Give yourself permission to view overwhelm as a sign you are so close to the finish line. This means you can lighten up on yourself, release some pressure, and give yourself time and space to breathe and tune into the moment.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed, take a 60-second pause. Soften your gaze and direct your attention to the lower half of your abdomen as you breathe in and out through your nose. Allow yourself to reflect with nonjudgment on an area of your life that is maturing. Continue to breathe in and out through your nose. After one minute, repeat this statement out loud: “Victory flows through me now.”
Follow these three steps to detox your emotions.