Does meditation help with feeling overwhelmed?

Now more than ever, we need an outlet like meditation to balance our hectic lifestyle. Where we’re constantly juggling the demands of a busy home and work life. Hoping the never ending to do list will miraculously disappear. It’s no wonder we feel stressed and overwhelmed!

Perhaps you are feeling the burden of managing your daily workload. If you have kids, you’re juggling everybody’s needs! Trying to find time for yourself. And somehow your needs are always bottom of the list. (That’s if they even make it onto the list!!) I’m sure this all sounds really familiar to you!

When you develop a regular meditation practice you become more aware. This awareness trains your mind to deal with stressful, overwhelming situations.

Your state our mind is calmer. You feel more present and grounded. Through meditation you develop the ability to observe a situation from a different angle. We call this being the witness.

Observing your thoughts and emotions. You’re more connected to that inner part of yourself. It’s almost like you have a moment to pause, which means you have a better chance to decide how you will react and deal with the situation. You take control over your thoughts rather than your thoughts controlling you!

Meditation and feeling overwhelmed

There have been several scientific studies that validate how Meditation and Mindfulness support our health and wellbeing. Particularly, for the symptoms of  overwhelm or stress and anxiety.

As early as 1975 Dr Herbert Benson who is the pioneer on scientific research into meditation. Praised the benefits meditation has on the human body by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and brain activity. All the diseases of our modern society.

A more recent study, undertaken during the time of the pandemic, showed improvements in measures of anxiety, depression and pain scores with participants who practised meditation and mindfulness. The results from the study revealed structural and functional brain changes in the brains of long-term traditional meditation practitioners. And, in people who have had completed the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program.

The study concluded that by introducing a mindfulness and meditation practice to people who were experiencing stressful and overwhelming situations in their daily life. The practice proved a valuable and low-cost method of offering support.

Meditation and Mindfulness support you when you are overwhelmed
Symptoms of overwhelm

When you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed even the smallest problems can feel like a mountain. It is a common reaction to panic. I’ve often found myself overreacting to a situation when I feel overwhelmed.

It is also really hard to focus and concentrate. Everything becomes too much. You may even feel that there isn’t a solution to your problem – purely because you cannot see things as they really are.

Your mind is so full, there just isn’t the capacity for anything else. I remember very clearly the sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach, the creeping anxiety through my body and a feeling like “I’m drowning.”

Learn to recognise when you feel overwhelmed
Learn to recognise when you feel overwhelmed

It’s very important to learn to recognise when you feel the symptoms of overwhelm or stress arising. Through the practice of meditation, you develop your awareness and the ability to witness.

The aim is to be more present in your day-to-day activities. It is a valuable way to connect with yourself.

In doing so, you are more attuned to your body. You learn to recognise when the emotions and other symptoms start to arise. You are able to observe your mind. Your thoughts and your reactions without getting caught up in them.

The key skill that we rarely learn is to sit with our emotions. It is part of the process of acceptance. We notice the sensations as the arise, feel the emotion and then allow it to pass. This process helps you to train your mind without trying to control, reduce, or escape the emotion.

Try this practice when you feel overwhelm. It’s a way to try to observe everything that is happening physically, emotionally and mentally.

Close your eyes.

How is your breath? Is it shadow, fast, do you feel shortness of breath?

Are you grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw?

How is your heart rate? Do you feel tension or pain in your chest?

Are you feeling anxious?

Is there any tension or tightness in your neck, shoulders and upper back?

Is your mind feeling sad, depressed …?

Have you lost your appetite, or are you eating impulsively?

Do you experience an upset stomach like reflux, diarrhea, constipation?

Do you sleep less or more than habitual …?

Are you feel emotional?

Do you experience fear, panic, paralyses, anger, irritable …?

Find a slice of the day that is just for you

The first step to develop a meditation practice it’s to find a slice of the day that is just for you. Normally, in our busy lives, we don’t have time for ourselves. However, the good news is to develop a meditation practice you don’t need to allocate a big chunk of your time!

Just 5 minutes a day will make a big difference! These were the results of a scientific study showed that a five-minute mindfulness meditation could be an effective method in decreasing stress.

Regularity of practice

Regularity of practice is the most important aspect. Initially, allocate 5 minutes a day, and slowly if you feel you can gradually increase to 15-30 minutes a day. But remember, it’s much better to practice 5 minutes a day, than 1 or 2 hours once or twice a week.

The best time to practice is early in the morning, or before bed. I personally like early to practice in the morning. My mind is clearer and rested from the night. At night normally my mind it’s much busier from all the activities and events of the day. This makes it more difficult for me to concentrate.

Fin d a quite spot at home, where no one will disturb you during your practice. It is recommended always use the same place. You may like to create a little nook, or little temple that’s just for you and your practice.

Finding time for yourself to manage overwhelm
Learn a meditation technique

There are so many different kinds of meditation techniques available out there. It’s like to climb a mountain. You can choose different faces of the mountain, which ever one you chose, all will take you to the top.

At the same time, some paths will be a bit more difficult. Maybe rockier. Steeper. Some of the faces will be suited to more advanced climbers. At the beginning of your journey with meditation, the important thing is to choose a practice that is accessible and fits easily into your lifestyle.

If you would like to read more about this, click on the link to help you to find Which type of meditation is right for you?

Free Meditation practices:

We have included a couple of links to 2 different meditation practices that you may like to try.

Here’s a link to access to a 10-minute meditation practice that will help to quieten the mind and balance your emotions.

Why it’s important to be mindful, is a video that talks about the importance of being in the present moment. Further in the video is a mindfulness practice that you should try. You can access this by clicking here. 

You may also like these…

If you enjoyed reading this article you may enjoy reading…

Five ways to manage the feeling of overwhelm

How to meditate properly

Find the right meditation posture for you

Yogic breathing to calm your mind and emotions