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Verified by Psychology Today

Tips to Help Overcome Overwhelm

Take a few moments to reset.

Key points

  • Overcoming a sense of overwhelm begins with acknowledging the feeling.
  • Once a person recognizes that they're overwhelmed, they become free to approach the situation instead of avoid it.
  • One key to overcoming feelings of overwhelm is to focus only on those things that are within one's control.
Overwhelmed woman working
Source: Jeshoots/Unsplash

Do you feel like you’re in survival mode? Trying to stay afloat but feeling overwhelmed by a neverending list of to-dos and mental should-dos?

If you feel like this, it can be helpful to take a moment to acknowledge the feeling: “Hello overwhelm, I see you loud and clear!” This empowers you to approach the situation rather than pretend it doesn’t exist.

After recognizing overwhelm, take a few moments to reset.

Identify what you've already done.

Give yourself credit for anything you've already done. It's important to feel a sense of accomplishment that can carry you forward; a few checkmarks will help you with this.

Recognize what is within your control.

Recognize what is within your control and what is outside of your control. Overwhelm can create a sense of helplessness, and by focusing on what you can control, you’re able to reduce the feeling a little bit.

Consider what you can let go of for now.

Is there anything outside of your control that you can let go of for now or simply accept as "outside of my control?" By consciously letting go of certain things, you'll reduce your mental load.

Approach your overwhelm with curiosity and look for ways to make the path easier.

Are you overcomplicating things or possibly taking the path of most resistance? Remember that struggle is not a badge of honor.