How to Unhook from Feeling Overwhelmed
Maybe right now you are overwhelmed by anxiety, fear, loneliness, difficult thoughts or low mood?
Whatever it is, you feel as though an avalanche is happening. You have a sense of drowning. Engulfed in the overwhelming experience.
So what do you do?
Turn to your Heart
‘…Do not strengthen their hunger
By choosing fear.
Rather, decide to call on your heart …’
John O’Donohue ‘For Loneliness’
To unhook from feeling overwhelmed, recognise that the little flame in your heart has become a tiny ember. This life-force within you has been almost smothered.
So a good place to start is to kindle the flame of your heart.
You must call on your own inner nurturer – be your own best friend.
Soften your body as it’s likely to be tense and uncomfortable.
Place your hand onto your heart and let your slow, deep breaths begin to fan the flames. You are not fighting against feeling overwhelmed. You let yourself sit gently with it.
Allow a gentle sense of surrender.
And meantime, focus away from the deluge of difficult thoughts onto a simple pleasure.
Simple pleasures to Remember when you’re Feeling Overwhelmed
Use your Sense of Smell:
Take some deep breaths and let these tiny aromas fill you with contentment.
– The smell of a favourite essential oil or a familiar perfume.
– A fresh cup of tea or coffee.
– A newly peeled orange.
You can do this when you go outside too – take some lungfuls of air.
– Notice the smell of woodsmoke or damp earth after the rain.
Your breath is your best friend.
Tiny Acts of Joy
These are simple. Because if you are overwhelmed, you don’t need more complication in your life.
Remind yourself of the things that give you pleasure. One tiny action can start kindling your heart.
Words can be powerful. Pick up a favourite book. It could be poetry, a novel or some fascinating non-fiction.
A chapter or a line before bedtime may be just enough to divert negative thoughts. And instead, lets you enter a place of peace, wonderment or quiet joy.
A softer way to fall asleep.
Remember an activity
Remember an activity that you’ve enjoyed in the past.
Keep it real simple if that’s all you can manage. It might be some art or craft – something that gives you pleasure and a sense of satisfaction.
Choose something that you can turn your mind to easily at home. Perhaps baking, drawing, embroidery. Overwhelming thoughts lessen their stranglehold while your focus is trained elsewhere.
Listen to a favourite piece of music.
Let yourself move to the music! Or find some podcasts to listen to – it’s easy to find anything at all that captures your interest.
Music, drama or chat.
If you’re Feeling Overwhelmed, Make a List of Joyful Things
Focus on what is of value to yourself. Rather than taking on more, you may need to pare down to less.
Remind yourself of things which give you joy and pleasure. And just check to see whether you’ve abandoned all of these things.
Perhaps life has become overwhelmed with difficult and challenging thoughts and experiences.
And it’s time to get balance back.
Check in to what makes your heart sing.
And you can start living life with more balance. Your blazing heart needs just a little attention from you. And that will encourage it to be glowing and full again.
And any time you start feeling overwhelmed with challenging experiences, remember to turn to your joys.
Kindle the flames of your heart and take care of yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed!
Nurture your joy at Place of Serenity
and Magic Things you discover
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide