Feeling overwhelmed is one of the most closely associated traits of anxiety. Excessive fear and worrying can easily overwhelm anyone. In situations where you feel like your anxiety is getting the best of you, it’s best if you have a toolkit to help combat these emotions.
Don’t worry: you don’t need to develop your toolkit on your own. In order to help you to conquer your negative emotions, let’s look at a few ways you can reduce your anxiety in overwhelming situations.
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what came first, the chicken or the egg. In this case, anxiety and being overwhelmed are both the chicken and the egg. Each person differs: anxiety can cause you to be overwhelmed or being overwhelmed can cause you to feel anxious.
Regardless, we know that it is a cycle that repeats itself. The higher one emotion gets, the more intense the other does as well. Although you should try to identify which causes so that you can begin to break the cycle, the most important thing to remember is how to cope with it.
Stop what you’re doing
Once you notice yourself starting to feel overwhelmed, the first thing you should do is stop. I know what you may be thinking, “If I could stop feeling anxious on my own, I would.” This isn’t what I mean. You should stop whatever action you’re in the middle of and take a moment to yourself.
By pausing what you are in the middle of, you have a moment to catch your breath. Hopefully, this will give you enough time to stop your anxiety from escalating. At the very least, it will allow you a moment to work on a grounding technique.
Grounding techniques are mechanisms used to focus on the present and root into yourself. Generally, they use your environment to force you to acknowledge your body and your present physical situation.
A common grounding technique is the five-finger method. The steps are simple. Tick off the following on your fingers when you begin to feel overwhelmed:
- Five things you can see
- Four things you can touch
- Three things you can hear
- Two things you can smell
- One thing you can taste
There are many different grounding techniques out there. This is just one example. If this doesn’t appeal to you, try searching the web for different techniques.
Walk it off
Once you’ve successfully grounded yourself, try some form of light exercise. Moving your body usually is great for your mental health, as it helps to further root yourself in the present moment.
Doing some gentle stretches or a walk around your block will help to clear your head. This also gives the added benefit of getting some physical activity into your day.
Notice your triggers
In order to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed in the first place, start taking note of your triggers. This way, you can begin to account for what sets off your anxiety.
Do you start to feel overwhelmed when you open social media? Start limiting your time on the app. Does thinking of the future raise your anxiety levels? Come up with a five-year plan you feel confident in.
One of the most important things you can do to reduce your overall anxiety levels is to create peace in your life. Start by carving out time in your week that you can dedicate just to an activity you enjoy that brings you peace. From there, try incorporating joyful activities into your everyday life.
If you still find yourself feeling increased anxiety levels or are still often overwhelmed, it may be time to seek out professional help. To get started with a counselor, reach out to me through my contact page. I look forward to navigating these waters with you.