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What To Do When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed in our fast-paced changing world. Whether you call it overwhelm, stress or burnout these feelings can create a life filled with struggle and unhappiness.

Based on recent statistics, many people are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. In the US, 55% of people feel stressed out during the day. The global average is 35%, based on information from 143 countries. A whopping 94% of US workers feel stressed out at work. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, you are not alone.

Symptoms of overwhelm

How do you know this is a problem for you? Some of the symptoms are obvious. You feel that you are constantly rushing and you feel pressured to get things done. You have too much to do and not enough time. You feel drained and mentally exhausted.

Other symptoms may not be so obvious. Your breathing is shallow. You are frequently irritated and angry. You feel too wired to go to sleep. You have digestive problems. You have heart palpitations, headaches, or dizziness. You have anxiety or panic attacks.

If you are experiencing any of the more severe symptoms it is always a good idea to check in with your health care professional.

My experience with overwhelm

Recently, I found myself in a life with too much going on and not enough time.

My book, First Create Happiness and the Rest Will Follow, was in a very busy and critical phase in the publication process. Many of the steps required my personal attention and timely responses. As well as following up to make sure everything was completed to my satisfaction.

I was preparing to travel out of the country to Barbados for three months. As you know there are new rules for international travel and that added more stress to my preparations.

I was renting my house while I was out of the country. This required extra preparations.

Plus, I had my normally busy work and family activities.

I was able to get through this busy time and land in Barbados with a smile on my face.

You may be wondering how I managed this. I’m not super woman. I did have my moments of feeling overwhelmed during this busy time but I did something different. I put happiness first.

I have been teaching people to put happiness first for many years. I used my understanding of positive psychology and the law of attraction to know that I had the power to change my responses. I could choose happiness rather than overwhelm.

I am reminded of a quote:

“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” — Carlos Castenada

In addition to this mind set, I had a number of practices and techniques I used. I want to highlight one: the FLIP IT™ technique. This was invaluable.

How to use the FLIP IT™ technique

The FLIP IT™ technique is a four-step process based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and pivoting, an Abraham technique. The pivoting technique is from the book, Ask & It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther and Jerry Hicks (2004).

The FLIP IT™ technique helps you to identify negative thoughts and transform them into positive patterns.

Here are the four steps:

  1. FEEL - The first step is to recognize that you are having a negative thought or you are experiencing a negative feeling, like being overwhelmed.
  2. LISTEN – Pay attention to your self-talk or your internal monologue. Is this positive or self-critical, blaming and judgmental?
  3. INTERVENE – In this step you become the witness and observe your own life. You gain the perspective to make a different choice by asking yourself positive questions and determining what your priorities are.
  4. PROMOTE THE POSITIVE – In this step you anchor in this new attitude so that this positive attitude will be available to you going forward.

In future blog posts, I will explain exactly how and why the FLIP IT™ technique is so successful for me and my students

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