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, and I’ve often found myself overreacting to a situation when I feel overwhelmed.
It is also really hard to focus and concentrate when 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.
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 ideal is to be more present in your day-to-day activities, fostering a valuable connection with yourself.
Through this connection, you become more attuned to your body, recognising when emotions and other symptoms start to arise. You are able to observe your mind, thoughts and reactions without getting caught up in them.
The vital skill we rarely learn is to sit with our emotions. It is part of the process of acceptance. By noticing the sensations as the arise, feel the emotion and then allow it to pass, you train your mind without trying to control, reduce, or escape the emotion.
Try this practice when you feel overwhelmed. It’s a way 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 …what emotions do you feel?
Have you lost your appetite, or are you eating impulsively?
Do you experience an upset stomach like reflux, diarrhea, constipation?
How is your sleep pattern? Are you sleeping less or more than normal?
Do you experience fear, panic, paralyses, anger, are you irritable?