Solution for Managing Overwhelm

What is Overwhelm?

Many people experience relentless overwhelm every day and fret over how they can get though everything they have to do. The sense that you have to take care of everyone because no one else will or can, ambition that leads many to burn the candle at both ends, and performance anxiety stemming from the fear that not doing more will cost you your job, are a few of the byproducts of overwhelm.

Chronic overwhelm is one of the major causes of anxiety and anxiety disorders. When you’re overwhelmed, your mind overloads with all that’s going on. It takes a toll on your nervous, immune and hormonal systems, and left unattended will likely produce cycles of anxiety, fatigue and temporary despair. Your intelligent heart knows when you need to chill out and re-energize but unfortunately, your mind can easily override warning signals until you spiral down into overwhelm. People on this kind of overload are more susceptible to disease and they age faster.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.Henry David Thoreau

Whether you’re on the treadmill of stimulation overload, working at a job where the pace is unbearable and you can’t see a way out, or you simply want to rein in your emotions before overwhelm can take hold, you can rest assured knowing help is within reach. The HeartMath Institute has devoted more than 16 years to helping people around the world manage their stress and emotions and live healthier, happier lives with easy-to-learn tools practiced minutes a day.

Recognizing Overwhelm

  • Always rushed, too much to do, not enough time.
  • Mentally scattered, not feeling in control.
  • Tunnel vision: irritation at anyone or anything that breaks your focus.
  • Internal pressure: raw or gnawing feeling in your gut, knot in your stomach.
  • Impatience: lack of compassion for self and others, judgmental thinking.
  • Zombielike numbness: no feelings – positive or negative; mental or emotional paralysis.
  • Feeling disconnected from life.
  • Decreased enjoyment of projects, relationships, or life in general.
  • Feeling an all-consuming alarm and dread.

The Pressures of Time

Who hasn’t reached some milestone such as a birthday or anniversary, graduation or retirement or the passing of a loved one and paused to reflect on the relentless passage of time. It can safely be argued that collectively we are overwhelmed by the pressures of time now more than at any other point in history. The sense that there’s never enough time is a major energy drain and can leave us feeling inadequate, nervous and hopeless, adversely affecting our health and well-being.

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.Author unknown

Time-shifting is a simple process in which time is saved and gained as you change your perceptions of it. Recall any situation that elicited a negative response from you and consider how much time you spent entwined in that response: was it a minute, five minutes, an hour or more? What if you had stepped back immediately and told yourself, “OK, it happened, but I won’t dwell on it”? How much time would you have saved then? How much would you have saved in the past year?

Consider the following from the groundbreaking book

From Chaos to Coherence – The Power to Change Performance, by HeartMath founder Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer

“Time shifting is survival in the Internet age. It describes an internal state so coherent that your perception of time – and your ability to shape it – changes dramatically. Every time you catch yourself before falling into a negative reaction, you have time shifted. Every time you stop long enough to find an intuitive solution instead of rushing ahead impulsively, you have time shifted. Every time you allow your intuitive intelligence to propel you out of inertia or confusion, you have time-shifted. If you arrive at a solution to a difficult personal or organizational issue in five minutes instead of five hours, you have time shifted. You have jumped out of the self-limiting mental frequency that says, “Certain things just take time,” into a new dimension. Time shifting means moving past standard linear time flows.”

A HeartMath TIP:

When you start feeling overwhelm or time pressure, take a few minutes to try these simple steps adapted from the HeartMath Attitude Breathing® tool.

  • Focus on your heart as you breathe in. Focus on your solar plexus as you breathe out.
  • Concentrate on a positive feeling or attitude as you breathe.
  • Lock in this feeling.
  • As you become adept at this technique select new feelings and attitudes.

In-depth details and a discussion about the HeartMath Attitude Breathing tool are available in the book Transforming Stress:

  • The HeartMath Solution for Relieving Worry, Fatigue and Tension.
  • Benefits of Managing Overwhelm/Time Pressure
  • New sense that you have the time you need
  • Hopeful feelings replace hopeless feelings
  • More time for things you want to do
  • Improved outlook on life
  • More patience with people, less irritable
  • More relaxed, greater enjoyment at work and play

Tools For Managing Overwhelm/Time Pressure

Transforming Anxiety: The HeartMath Solution for Overcoming Fear and Worry and Creating Serenity: by Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman. When you consider that most people have some anxiety about themselves, family, future and for other reasons, it helps explain why overweight and obesity are so prevalent. That’s because anxiety is a leading contributor to these conditions: Millions of people try to escape their anxieties through overeating, binge-eating and consumption of comfort foods. Transforming Anxiety provides proven solutions to help you overcome your fears and worries and create more serenity and a sense of well-being in your life. Based on IHM’s 16 years of research into the physiology of emotions, the book includes the scientifically proven Attitude Breathing® tool and Cut-thru® and Heart Lock-In® techniques to help you release your anxieties and replace them with new, positive feelings.

Transforming Stress: The HeartMath Solution for Relieving Worry, Fatigue and Tension – Childre, Rozman, 2004. Learn more about the warning signs of chronic stress and what you should know about your “intelligent heart” and how it can help you immediately begin reducing the stress in your life. You’ll learn several key HeartMath tools and techniques, including the complete details of the Attitude Breathing® tool and step-by-step instructions on how and when to use it.
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