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Viewpoint: Skills help deal with overwhelming moments

"If we focus on fighting it, we can’t focus on the solutions we need."

Life is beautiful, yet unpredictable. Every day changes happen, many good and some tragic and devastating.

When we face a difficult time, we need skills that help us deal with life's overwhelming moments. Taking control of our lives can be a consuming task. But, with a little self-reflection, we can live peaceful and purposeful lives.

First, you have to find out where the feeling of overwhelm comes from. Does it come from your home filled with stuff? A cluttered space can overwhelm your mind, making managing your decisions and life challenging. Or does it come from your beliefs of not being good enough?

Most of us have established patterns when dealing with overwhelm. It’s important to remember how you feel after a short escape.

Many people feel guilt, anger and disappointment in themselves. This is not the time to negatively judge yourself. At this time, being aware of your behaviour is far more important.

If you like to distract yourself, choose an activity you will feel good about. Some ideas: go for a walk, do a workout, read a book, call a friend, meditate, turn to art or journal about your thoughts.

You’re planning how to deal with your desire to escape the situation. The goal is to be purposeful in how you use your time.

The more you resist, the harder it will be to overcome the overwhelming situation. If we focus on fighting it, we can’t focus on the solutions we need. Instead of resisting, you need to get interested in why it showed up in the first place.

Maybe there is a message for you. It’s only when you can sit and look at the situation objectively that you will be able to discover the root cause.

What contributes to you being overwhelmed?

You need to please others; you’re a peacemaker in your family; you have unhealthy boundaries; you have high expectations of yourself; you have an all-or-nothing mindset; or you don’t accept or ask for help, to name a few.

These are just patterns that prevent you from living the life you desire.

Our thoughts are powerful and we need to use them often. When we change our thoughts and how we feel, it follows how we act.

Being overwhelmed is uncomfortable and when things are uncomfortable, we naturally define them as negative. But what would happen if we choose differently?

What if you accept the overwhelm as a sign that you have plenty of opportunities and a full plate of good things in your life? What if you choose a positive response rather than a negative one?

We all have the power to change how we react to our emotions and assign new meanings. It doesn't mean we don't feel them, but if we redirect how we think about them, they can help us instead of discouraging us.

When you feel overwhelmed, it’s not the time to go down; it’s the time to rise above.

Ranka Burzan is a qathet region life coach and professional organizer.

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