“Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we're taking on too much, but because we're taking on too little of what really strengthens us.” ‑ Marcus Buckingham
Brene Brown, in her book Atlas of the Heart, talks about the emotions involved in being stressed and overwhelmed. Although related, experiencing stress and feeling overwhelmed are different regarding the level of emotion they generate. Of course, stress may end up leading to periods of overwhelm.
Brown writes of feeling “stressed when we evaluate environmental demand as beyond our ability to cope successfully.”
She says that being overwhelmed is “an extreme level of stress, an emotional and/or cognitive intensity to the point of feeling unable to function.”
Whether you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, here are five things you can do that may help alleviate the negative feelings.
Do tasks that only you should or can do and delegate the rest. Other activities drain your energy and lead to stress.
Be conscious of your time. Choose your activities wisely. Take breaks to energize yourself.
Ask yourself, does this really need to be done? What would happen if I didn’t do it?
Take time to think and meditate. Invest time in reflection to ensure you are treading the right path.
Get support from others. Don’t be a martyr or a victim; reach out and ask others to help you reduce the stress or overwhelm.
Stress and overwhelm come and go in our professional and personal lives. Too much of either can be detrimental to our health and well-being and take a toll on our relationships. Stress and overwhelm are two emotions that can inhibit your decision-making skills.
Understanding the cause of your stress or overwhelm will help you discover ways to overcome or reduce the effects of these negative emotions.
“Many of us feel as though we are overloaded and overwhelmed by all the things that are happening, and we can't stop work for even five minutes or we'll fall behind: the idea that if we don't take breaks, we're being more productive.” Daniel Levitin
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