These days many people are feeling overwhelmed. We are concerned about what’s happening in the world, our political and global stability, climate change, and then having to take care of our own needs and our loved ones.
When we are overwhelmed, we feel like we have no space. We feel compressed, exhausted, and anxious. It’s hard to experience higher states like joy and peace.
If you are feeling this way, or want to know how to help others with overwhelm, I’ve created this post for you.
Where Overwhelm Comes From
The state of overwhelm arises from fear. It feels literally like something that will come in and overtake you. We become desperate for anxiety relief. We may isolate ourselves or consume things that are not good for us. Being overwhelmed is a disempowering feeling and it zaps your energy.
The feeling of overwhelm always starts with the mind. The good news is we can shift that. Meditation helps us become aware of our thoughts. Once we become aware, meditation helps us shift our thoughts. Let’s start with these two steps to help.
Two Steps for Those Who Feel Overwhelmed
Think about the logical conclusion of this statement. Feeling overwhelmed is a state of being and not a reflection of your actual reality. However, your view of reality certainly influences your state of mind. Something may not be verifiably real, but if you are feeling that emotion or fear, it is an authentic experience. Your mind is overwhelming you. The way you are thinking can make you feel helpless.
You may even be able to locate the feeling of overwhelm in your mind, making it easier to clear it. Follow these two steps to work toward clearing your mind of these fears and feeling overwhelmed:
1. Recognize That You Feel Overwhelmed
Sometimes we are so in the midst of our feelings that we don’t stop to put a label on what is going on. But think about it, there are physical signs that indicate to us that we feel overwhelmed. Many times our breath is shallow, we feel tense, and our heart starts beating faster. You are experiencing some of those same fight or flight feelings that are part of our reactionary instincts. So, when you recognize your feelings of overwhelm, it starts to go away. You are healing stress as you identify and name what you are feeling.
2. Ground Yourself to the Earth’s Energy
After recognizing and naming what you are feeling, ground yourself in reality and the earth itself. When you ground yourself, you release anxiety and your feelings of tension. I like to say that you are releasing those feelings, stress, and tension directly into the center of the earth. You give it a place to go. You are no longer holding on to it anymore.
As I think about the anxiety and tension in my body, it helps me notice where I feel the tension in my body. Ask yourself: Where do you hold overwhelm in your body? That is a place where you might place your hands so that you can become aware of the tension and start to release it.
It is a powerful visual for you to imagine those feelings move out of you, down through your body, and eventually through the bottom of your feet and back into the earth. Release the past, anxious thoughts, or whatever is consuming you. Visualize those consuming thoughts and feelings, leaving your body.
Create a “calm muscle” within yourself. It may start with this visualization of the stress and anxiety leaving you. You may go to nature. Put your feet in the ground. Lean against a tree. You can imagine this physical place in nature even when you can’t be there in person to help you with anxiety relief.
3 Coaching Questions to Help Ground You
When I coach people who have these overwhelmed feelings, I like to ask questions to help them think about their feelings of overwhelm. Use these three coaching questions to ask someone else you are trying to coach or ask yourself when you feel overwhelmed.
1. What do You Feel Overwhelmed About?
Asking this question will help the person you are coaching to recognize their feelings of being overwhelmed. Encourage them to write it down so that it is obvious. Guide them to say it out loud. Speaking and writing what you feel is a powerful healing technique. You are healing stress that has built up within you just by naming and identifying your feelings.
2. What’s Overwhelming About it?
Identify exactly what makes that overwhelming to you. Does it remind you of a negative event in your life? Is it symptomatic of the stress you are feeling related to a job or relationship? Write down specifics to express it. Deliberately thinking about these questions will help you identify reasons you are overwhelmed and help you release it.
3. What Can You do About it?
Clearly thinking about what you can do is empowering. Take a positive action step that releases your anxiety and puts you into the driver’s seat. Perhaps you just need to write down everything that’s on your mind or make a to-do list.
I like those three questions because they help you address the overwhelmed feelings, release anxiety, and ground it. Now let’s look at three steps to help you deal with stress directly.
How A Coach Helps Someone Who Is Feeling Overwhelmed
A meditation coach does these three things to help someone who is feeling overwhelmed.
1. A Coach Creates Space
A good coach helps create openness — both in your approach and in the result of your client. You are opening up a world of possibilities for a person who may feel like the walls are closing in. One guided meditation, like the breathing exercise in this post, can help release anxiety.
2. A Coach Creates Clarity
With anxiety relief, there is hope and a new perspective. While you are opening up a world of possibility, you help your client develop clarity about who they are, what they feel called to be, and what their purpose and passion are in life.
3. A Coach Creates Focus
A coach helps you take action based on the clarity you have. Stress holds people back but healing stress through meditation brings clarity and focus. You go out from this point to make an impact on the world. Because of your ability to have space, clarity, and focus, you impact others for good.
How to Help Others with Overwhelm?
Yes, there is a practical way to help others (and yourself) deal with feelings of overwhelm.
1. Hold your breath for three seconds, exhale, and let go.
I like to call it overwhelm-centered meditation, a guided meditation that will help relieve this stress and anxiety. This anxiety relief guided meditation enables you to calm just that simply. This meditation is not a long session. In fact, it is something you can do anywhere! One breath when you start to feel overwhelmed can help you release anxiety and let go of your stress.
Check out my article about how to create guided meditations, for more helpful information.
2. Ask yourself: What am I feeling Overwhelmed About? Why am I Feeling Overwhelmed?
What feels like is a threat out there is actually coming from inside. When you name it out loud, you bring it to conscious awareness and can face it. Sometimes minuscule things pile up and make us overwhelmed. To name them gives you a level of control over it.
3. Ask yourself: What can I do About it?
This question and subsequent line of thinking move you into action. To get out of feeling fear and being overwhelmed, do something about it. Maybe it is prioritizing what you can do right now—or making a list of the three things you can do today to make progress toward a goal.
These three steps give yourself permission to focus on what’s important. Breathe, center yourself, and focus. Taking action while you breathe and center yourself will help focus your attention on what’s important and not let your imagination wander.
What causes a Person to Feel Overwhelmed?
Overwhelm is a state of being, not a reflection of your actual reality. But your view of reality influences your state of mind. Your mind is overwhelming you. The way you are thinking is overwhelming you.
Many people have triggers that overwhelm them from their past or even from the fast-paced world that we live in. It is important to relax, inquire why you feel this overwhelmed feeling, and take action steps toward the future.
For more helpful information, please check my post on what causes a person to feel overwhelmed.