Feeling Overwhelmed?

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When It’s All Too Much

Feeling overwhelmed is both a mental and physical experience. When we perceive an event or set of events as more than we can handle, our amygdala (the fear sensor in the brain) activates and affects our entire bodies.

Fight or flight

When you feel threatened and afraid, the amygdala automatically activates the fight-or-flight response by sending out signals to release stress hormones that prepare your body to fight or run away. This response is triggered by emotions like fear, anxiety, aggression, and anger. When the amygdala is active, the body’s stress response switches on the sympathetic nervous system — which increases heart rate, raises blood pressure, constricts the bowels, and induces sweating.

So how do we  flip the switch from feeling overwhelmed and anxious to confidence and an attitude of “you’ve got this!!”

The secret? Simply understanding the physical mechanism happening in your brain and body can redirect you away from the panic path.

Here’s how:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply the act of bringing your awareness to the present moment. Also known as grounding yourself.

Close your eyes, take deep breaths, feel your pulse, and focus in turn on each of your five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

Anchor yourself in your body as a way to get out of your head. Deep breaths send oxygen to the brain, which soothes the amygdala and calms the stress response.

2. Appreciate the Little Things

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, gratitude might be the last thing on your mind.

But focusing on something you feel grateful for releases dopamine in your brain, and dopamine is a great motivating hormone that compels you to do more of whatever it is that gave you the hit.

For a few minutes, try to stop worrying about  how much you still have to do, and appreciate how much you’ve already done. It will help switch your perspective from pessimistic to optimistic and let the power of gratitude boost your confidence and productivity.

3. Break Time

Often you need to change your perspective before you can move forward. Even a quick walk can provide a shift in your mental, emotional, or physical state.

Get some fresh air (more of that amygdala-soothing oxygen!), give yourself a change of scenery, and see your situation from fresh eyes once you’ve had a bit of respite.

You’ll most likely find that you can accomplish more, faster, and with less angst, once you’ve taken a break. You’ll be ready to face your challenge with increased energy and a clear head.

4. You’ve Got To Move It

Exercise can actually help you be more efficient and calm you down. Even mild exercise induces endorphins, which calm the body’s reactionary stress response and provide motivation to move forward with your day. When your amygdala’s fear alarm is deactivated, your brain’s prefrontal cortex can do its job of clear thinking and logical reasoning more easily.

5. Delegate Where Possible and Ask For Help

It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything yourself, but asking for help and delegating is an important part of efficiency and getting out from under feeling that it’s all too much.

Perhaps you are super creative, but paperwork is your kryptonite. Maybe you need some help keeping on top of the chores at home, so you can focus on other goals.

Build a support system, especially of people who love and excel at the things that you don’t, and call on it to get you through.

6. Be Realistic

You can’t do it all. There are only so many hours in a day and you really need to be sleeping for at least eight of them.

If you simply can’t fit it all into your waking hours, you may have to cut something. Don’t let what you cut be the things that nurture your health: sleep, exercise, healthy food, and time with loved ones.

Delegate — even if it’s hard to trust that another person will take care of things as well as you will. When you’re overwhelmed, you have to let go of some amount of control to find relief.

7. Map it Out

Having a plan for the day or week can definitely help you from feeling overwhelmed.

As long as you keep following the plan, you never have to think about what the next step will be because it’s already laid out for you.

When you’re drowning, often the best thing to do is flip over on your back and float. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best approach is similar.

Recognize that you are having a physical response (your amygdala is active, and your body is going into fight-or-flight mode) to a mental reaction (“I can’t handle this!”).

These simple tools will help you calm both your mental and physical responses so you can turn feelings of being overwhelmed into opportunity.

CBD for Anxiety

A natural and effective remedy to resolve feeling anxious and overwhelmed may be supplementing with CBD Oil. CBD is a natural cannabinoid which is extracted from the hemp plant and is being used by many to treat anxiety. Moreover, there have been studies that state the positive effects of CBD oil in making one calm. Scientists believe that CBD can result in an increase in the serotonin levels in the brain. These receptors play an important role in fighting anxiety and keeping us calm. 

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