I’m a recovering overthinker. I didn’t see myself as an overthinker for a long time though even when I knew I was feeling overwhelmed.
One of my strengths is problem-solving so I looked at it as thinking about how to solve a problem. But there’s a fine line between analysing a situation and overthinking. So I had to recognise when I was feeling overwhelmed because that’s when my “analysing” wasn’ effective and I ended up feeling stuck and making bad choices or worse still no choice.
Feeling overwhelmed yet having no idea what’s causing that feeling is common. You know things aren’t right, but can’t quite put your finger on it.
You can’t fix the problem until you know the cause and the unfortunate truth is that you will have habits that are at the root of the overwhelm.
Causes of overwhelm can be categorised into 9 areas and the causes of your overwhelm could easily fall into more than 1 area. (More about those areas shortly….)
How do you discover what’s overwhelming you?
I’ve got 2 methods:
1| Stop Feeling Overwhelmed by Journalling
One excellent method is to start an overwhelm journal.
Begin by understanding your own reaction to stress. Common reactions include things like feelings of anxiety, inability to sleep, lack of appetite, irritability, upset stomach, anger, or exhaustion.
What symptoms do you mainly get when stressed?
Whenever you feel your stress symptoms, get out your overwhelm notebook and let the pen fly. Or, if you prefer typing, open your laptop and start punching keys.
Write about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. This can help you identify the source of your overwhelm in a couple of different ways.
First of all, it helps to talk. We often don’t know clearly how we feel until we tell someone else.
You’re “talking” to yourself in your journal. Through this writing, the source of your stress will likely reveal itself.
A journal also documents a time in our lives. After some time passes, you can go back and read entries, and this will make it clear what’s causing your stress.
Finally, scrawling away or hammering your keyboard can help you work out some of the stress you’re feeling. You can vent through the words you’re putting on the page.
Make it as fun and easy as possible to write in your journal. Keep it close at hand so you can use it whenever you need to or set aside time each day to reflect and write about how you’re feeling.
Scientific studies have proven that keeping a journal is excellent therapy. It can help you identify and cope with your sense of overwhelm.
2| Use an Overwhelm Checklist
If you’re a fan of solving problems and getting things done FAST, this method is for you.
Remember those 9 categories I mentioned? I created an overwhelm checklist that you can use to identify the surprising habits that cause overwhelm and even more importantly how to fix them
At best overwhlem means your brain isn’t working in its most effective way so your to-do list takes even longer or you make mistakes
At its worst overwhelm means you’re stressed out and shouting again and you start feeling like a failure at work and at home
If you want the overwhelm checklist: