Anxiety is made worse when we are overwhelmed. Plus anxiety can make us feel overwhelmed. It can be a vicious circle.
Feeling anxiety isn’t the bad thing. Like all emotions, it’s purpose is to help humans survive and be their best. It is the reason that we have survived this long on earth. However, when we live in a constant state of anxiety, this becomes anxiety disorder, and is when it causes damage to your life and physical and mental health.
Our brain is extremely intelligent. When we feel anxious, it knows to start up the fight or flight response, moving all our energy into our body and away from our brain, as if we are in imminent danger, we would need to run or fight to survive. However, when the fear is not imminent – when we are worried about our kids, money, our health and safety, this energy being moved away from the brain is causing us to be overwhelmed. The brain is actually changing. You are not imagining this. It is a physical process that this emotion has created, causing the feeling of physical symptoms on your body (read more about this in the blog about panic attacks)
This is when the vicious cycle begins. We become unable physically to focus on anything other than the anxiety. And that is the most overwhelming feeling!
However, now that we know this, we can take some control back!
First, accept that it is ok to take care of yourself and slow down. This will probably be the hardest, as we are so used to doing things and being overwhelmed, so even thinking about slowing down can be overwhelming, but stick with it. Trust the process. Feel and embrace this fear of slowing down.
Write in your journal:
- Why you feel overwhelmed
- Where you feel it in your body
- All things you feel that you have to do
- How you feel about slowing down (this may make you emotional, just go with it, anxiety resists change)
- Things that you feel you could change to help you slow down (what tasks can wait, can someone help?)
Then once you have sat with this list for a while, thinking and feeling, list:
- What would I do if I had more time? Go for a run, a bath, meditate, start a new hobby?
- How could I do this easily? Run close to home, ask your partner to take care of the kids night time routine, get Amazon music and meditate, search google for local things you are interested in, get creative!
This won’t be easy at first as we feel that we constantly have to be doing something, achieving something.
Think of it like this: you are slowing down to achieve your goal of being less anxious!
I found this book Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress from the Inside Out that looks amazing, maybe it can help explain in more depth. I like to keep the blogs short!
So remember, the saying “Less is more” is true! By slowing down, you will reduce stress, increasing health, happiness and mental clarity to achieve the task at hand! Good luck!