Positively Overwhelmed

Bought a car! Bought a house! Got engaged! Graduated school! Achieved a goal! Traveling! Having a baby! It’s your birthday! All of these accomplishments are worthy of and encouraged to be celebrated. However, they can also bring on feelings of overwhelm. 

Overwhelm is a multifaceted emotion. You can be overwhelmed with feelings of joy and gratitude! Or, as it is more often used today, overwhelm can feel like stress and anxiety. 

I recently found myself struggling with overwhelm, feeling heavy, and weighing me down even though I was overwhelmed with some of the above-mentioned exciting novelties of life. This then turned to guilt for not being grateful enough or happy enough for the wonderful gifts life has provided me. Which then turned to shame when I tried confiding in a trusted loved one who lovingly did their best to try to solve my overwhelm by reframing it as gratitude. And that’s how I found myself in a shame spiral.

This blog is not here to tell you how to fix feeling, what I have deemed “positively overwhelmed” (although I will give some tips below). It is here to let you know you are not alone.  It is valid to feel overwhelmed with too much good stuff. Feeling like you are drowning in a sea of abundance is okay. 

Dichotic feelings can be challenging to understand, but that doesn’t make them any less true. You can be struggling and still be grateful. Allowing myself to feel the overwhelm and accept the dichotomy of my emotions is where I found grace and space to ground myself in reality and truly heal. 

As promised, here are some tips that may help you cope with being positively overwhelmed: .

  1. First, and most simply, feelings are meant to be felt. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted to sit with the overwhelm. Yes, that’s right. Take a seat and invite overwhelm to sit next to you so you can have a chat on the reasons it has shown up.  What does it feel like in your body? Are your palms sweaty? Does your chest feel heavy? How do your feet feel? Slowly scan your body from head to toe and notice what is showing up, free from judgment or the need to change it.
  2. Journaling on what comes up for you can help you get whatever thoughts have come up for you.  Writing it tout also helps different parts of your brain begin to fire differently so that being overwhelmed feels easier to handle. 
  3. Next, overwhelm can make you feel out of control, so take a moment to reflect on what is within your control each day. Do you have control over brushing your teeth? Do you have control over the food you eat? Because when you remember you are indeed mastering different parts  of life, your body begins to relax. 
  4. You can also have control over the way you move. Movement is a wonderful way to release any emotions stored in the body. So put on your favorite song and dance through the overwhelm. Let your body show you where overwhelm sits so you can booty shake it out. 
  5. Finally, if you need more support, reach out to a therapist to help you sit in, cope with, and build a better relationship with overwhelm. We all need help from time to time.
Remember, overwhelm is a multi-faceted emotion and if you are willing, it may be just the reminder you need to slow down and honor where you are on your journey today.