What to do when you're overwhelmed

What does it mean to feel overwhelmed?

Feeling overwhelmed just means that you are facing an influx of strong emotions. It can be positive or negative, but it is usually used to describe situations that are hard to deal with. For example, if you had too many homework assignments to complete, you may feel overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do. Feeling overwhelmed usually means that you have a lot to do, but not enough mental and physical energy to do it. According to hbr.org, "The cognitive impact of feeling perpetually overwhelmed can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve. When we have too many demands on our thinking over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue can also happen, making us more prone to distractions and our thinking less agile." Being overwhelmed can cause a multitude of unwanted symptoms, and the best way to avoid or alleviate them is to take steps to pinpoint and extinguish the source of the problem.

How can you overcome it?

The first thing to do is to pinpoint the source of the problem. Do you have too much work to do? Are you stretched for time? Have you been on your feet all day? These hypotheticals could surely be the source of the strong emotion you're facing. Next, actively take steps to find how to deal with the emotion. If you're feeling overwhelmed about homework, try to manage the time spent on each assignment, and maybe even ask another student or teacher for extra assistance. Meditation is also a good way to help clear your mind of negative thoughts and emotions. And most importantly, take a break! If things are feeling a little too much, you are allowed to step out for a while until you are okay again. Never force yourself into negative headspaces, doing so can be very detrimental to your mental well-being.


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