Feeling Overwhelmed? How To Recover Faster

Feeling Overwhelmed? How To Recover Faster

Our lives have become increasingly demanding, presenting us with ever more complex challenges at an even faster pace. So it’s not uncommon to feel constantly overwhelmed. So how is it possible that some leaders stay calm, clear-headed, and focused, whilst others feel out of control – and turn into tyrannical controllers?

In this blog post, I take a look at some of the ideas put forward by thought leaders for tackling the complexities of the modern world, alongside the techniques we can use to recover faster from feeling overwhelmed.

Too Complex To Handle

In the book ‘Immunity To Change’, Harvard Professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey discuss how the rising complexity of our world has surpassed our ability to handle it effectively. This has nothing to do with how smart we are, and everything to do with how we make sense of the world, and how we operate within it.

Similarly, in his book ‘Positive Intelligence’ Shirzad Chamine, discusses how our ability to deal with challenges with a positive mindset, both at work and in life, depends on our mental fitness. Mental fitness is our ability to deal with challenges positively rather than being consumed by negativity, like feeling overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, self-doubting, ashamed, or blamed.

When you’re mentally fit, you achieve peak performance, well-being, and healthier relationships.

Staying Mentally Fit

If we’re constantly overwhelmed, we’re not mentally fit. Many people’s typical response to ever-growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours. The result? They feel even more overwhelmed, and increasingly suffer from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating – and even lose the ability to think logically.

When we’re overwhelmed, we have a racing mind and an impaired ability to problem-solve or create. For many people, when they’re feeling overwhelmed, they find it difficult to feel positive emotions like compassion, curiosity, creativity, clarity and calm. And guess what? All of these are necessary to perform at your best.

Strategies To Recover Faster

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are three strategies you can try in order to recover faster from feeling overwhelmed:

  1. Be curious. Identify all the relevant factors that could be contributing to your sense of being overwhelmed? What are your negative thoughts and emotions (or saboteurs) and what are the facts?
  2. Prioritize impactful and energizing activities. Delegate or outsource the activities which are least impactful or energizing. Make impactful activities more energizing by focusing on them, and freeing yourself of any negative thoughts and emotions.
  3. Train three mental muscles for 15 minutes each day. Train yourself to improve your mental fitness and recover faster from a negative to positive mindset. The three mental muscles to train are:INTERCEPT negative thoughts and emotions or saboteurs.
    RESET by focusing on one thing and letting go of your thoughts.
    SHIFT to a positive mindset, and engage the ‘sage’ part of your brain.

Why Feel Overwhelmed?

Feeling overwhelmed is a great alert signal. It informs us that there is too much going on.

But staying present in those negative feelings ultimately makes us less effective and happy. It can even harm our relationships.

The great news is that we can choose to train ourselves to be mentally fit and recover faster. It is possible to shift faster from a negative to a positive mindset and achieve peak performance, wellbeing, and healthier relationships at work and in our personal lives.

Need further guidance on recovering faster from feeling overwhelmed? Find out how my coaching services can help.

Further Reading

  • ‘Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential, and How You Can Achieve Yours’ by Shirzad Chamine
  • ‘Immunity to Change’ by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey

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