Many times I start a mentoring session by asking my client “What is currently your biggest challenge or problem?” Often this is the story I hear, “Dave, I just have too much to do and not enough time. I’m so far behind, I feel like I’ll never catch up. I have so many people expecting so much from me. I work and work and just can’t seem to satisfy them. I’M OVERWHELMED.” Is that sometimes your story? Do you relate? If so, I have great news. You can be set free from overwhelm today! If you want to know how, read on!
First, to get the right cure, you need the right diagnosis. This is critical if you want relief. You must first understand and accept that overwhelm IS NOT caused by circumstances. It is not the stuff going on in your life or the people in your life that causes you to be overwhelmed. Overwhelm is your chosen response to your situation. Overwhelm does not exist “out there”, it exists only between your ears. Overwhelm is a story, often very dramatic, that you have created and then choose to believe about your circumstances. It often serves as an excuse and avoidance for taking responsibility. This may be challenging for you to accept, but it is the key to your freedom.
Overwhelm is just another name for anxiety and fear. Anxiety is an emotional response that is elicited from what you choose to believe and think about your situation. Consequently, the antidote for overwhelm begins with a shift in your thinking. You must choose to reject the lies that create anxious thoughts:
LIE #1 – I don’t have enough time
TRUTH – You have all the time there is; 24 hours a day. Having more time, even if it were possible, is not the answer to your problem.
LIE #2 – I have too much to do
TRUTH – There will always be an abundance of choices. This is just true. You don’t need less to do, you need to choose: Say yes to what you want and no to everything else.
LIE #3 – I can only relax when everyone else is happy
TRUTH – You can rarely completely please other people. You can certainly influence, serve and lead others, but that may or may not please them. When you focus on pleasing others, you are placing your peace of mind at the mercy of someone else’s response. Instead of trying to please everyone else, choose your activities and priorities based on your values and priorities.
Finally, focus on what you can change and ignore what is out of your control. You can change yourself, your thoughts, your actions, and your response. You can choose gratitude for your situation. You can choose optimism. You can choose to smile. You can choose to be merciful, kind and forgiving. All of these choices lead to peace of mind, contentment, and higher energy. You can choose to be content in your current situation and not overwhelmed and stressed out. The bottom line is that overwhelm is a fairy tale that you can drop today. As soon as you decide that you are no longer overwhelmed, it becomes true. Then you are free to say yes to what you can do, and no to what you cannot do. Find a friend or a coach to help you work through it. You can be content and relaxed and free from overwhelm. It’s your choice.