So many of us can easily become overwhelmed. In today's fast moving world, it doesn't take long before we're feeling the pressure of daily responsibilities. If this pressure is non-stop it can lead to feeling overwhelmed. Once we're in that state of mind, it's difficult to cope with much of anything.
Sometimes these pressures are external - work, family, friends, traffic, bills. Sometimes the pressures are internally generated - such as unrealistic expectations we may set for ourselves. Or we have an extended "to do" list or we're too hard on ourselves with a list of shoulds, judgments, and criticisms. This is when the pressure cooker really starts heating up.
So what can you do?
Here are 6 tips to lighten the load on yourself - I saved my favorite tip for last (#6).
1. Don't "should" on yourself (I bet you won't forget that one)
Shoulda, woulda, coulda, ought, must! These are all offenders. I should do everything people ask me to do. I should not make any mistakes. I should do it perfectly. I should not get angry or upset. You get the idea.
Let go of hurtful shoulds because they chip away at your self-esteem. Only keep the shoulds that you would expect of someone else or you would actually say to someone else.
2. Have a realistic "to do" list
Just because you have a list of 15 items doesn't mean you have to do them all today. Focus on what's most important and what you can't do today, put on the list for tomorrow. You don't need to expect more of yourself than you would expect of someone else.
3. Focus on one day at a time
This probably sounds cliche but I know this way of thinking relieves the pressure. It helped me get through grad school. If I thought of all the things I had to do for the entire course or semester, I instantly felt overwhelmed. If I asked myself, "What do I need to do today?" and focused only on the priorities for that one day, that immediately reduced my stress level.
4. End the fortune-telling
When you're feeling overwhelmed, your thoughts are often in the future and you may be predicting that things will not go well. What if this turns out bad...what if I fail...what if I can't get everything done...what if someone gets mad at me... Catch yourself doing this and bring your thoughts back to the present moment. Ask yourself, "What is within my control and what is not within my control?" It's okay to work on what is within your control. You can consciously remind yourself to let go of things that are not within your control. To really let the worries go, it helps to get busy - distract yourself by doing anything. Maybe something relaxing to help calm the mind and body.
5. Ask for help
We all need help sometimes.
Even strong and courageous people ask for help.
It's okay to ask for help.
Give yourself permission to do so.
6. My favorite tip - I saved the best one for last - Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping
It's the best way I know to reduce stress around any issue. It's fast and effective. If you'd like to receive your own sample of tapping for when you feel overwhelmed, just sign up for my e-newsletter here
(I Phone users can scroll down to the bottom of this post to sign up). If you sign up before the end of June, you'll receive it in the June Newsletter. If you only do 1 of the 6 tips, this is the one I'd recommend you try!
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Beth Matthews is a Registered Psychologist who is driven to help people feel better about themselves. She can help you if you are struggling in your life. You can learn easy-to-use strategies to help you cope with anything that comes your way.