How to Defeat Overwhelm

podcast Mar 04, 2020

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Overwhelm is a part of life. Everyone has experienced it and everyone will continue to. But how do you deal with it?

Here are four ideas for defeating overwhelm.

Recognize when you start to feel it

According to an article on Achievetv(dot)com, “Overwhelm is the body’s way of reacting to any type of threat or requirement. When you feel danger–whether it is real or imagined–the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a quick, automated process called the fight-or-flight” response or the ”stress response. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you.”

Symptoms include:

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing just the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Emotional symptoms

When you are experiencing overwhelm, it’s important to avoid the temptation to push through or think that this is a weakness of you and that you should be better.

Feeling overwhelmed is a real thing and everyone has experienced it at one time or another.

Take a break


  • Ignore the problem
  • Hope it goes away
  • Do something you’ll regret (throw something - like your computer or phone, punch a wall, scream or worse

Stop what you’re doing

  • I realize this is easier for an entrepreneur who is more control of their day than for those who work in the corporate world but this is good for everybody.
  • Don’t just storm off. Tell your boss or colleagues what’s going on, what you’re going to do (next!).

Get up from wherever you are and go someplace quiet.

  • First, this gets your blood moving. Our bodies were designed to move.
  • Try to go someplace where there isn’t a lot of noise or people talking.
  • I recommend going outside even if it’s very cold (grab a jacket) or hot. You won’t be out there long. But don’t stand in the rain!
  • It’s okay to take the elevator down to the ground floor.
  • Avoid break rooms or cafes.
  • Don’t get on your phone (social media, texting, calling someone, etc.)

Close your eyes and take several deep breaths

  • I use the Breathe app on my Apple Watch but this is not required
  • Don’t think about anything other than your breath

When you feel in a better state, return to work.

Do NOT apologize for what you did. There’s no need to.

Determine why you felt overwhelmed

It’s important you do this after you take a break. When you’re in a better state.

If you can pinpoint what caused your overwhelm, then you can take steps to correct or mitigate them.

Accept that overwhelm is a part of life and be careful not to blame yourself. You’re not weak.

Repeat as needed

I’m very serious about this.

I have my Breathe App go off 10 times a day. I take one-minute micro-breaks all day long.

Your turn

How do you deal with overwhelm?

Let me know in the comments. 

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