A Quick Technique to Switch Overwhelm into Calm

Overwhelm = Head About to Explode

If I were to use one emoji to describe overwhelm, it would be this one: 🤯. Chronic overwhelm literally feels as if your brain is going to blast off your head, don’t you agree?

In today’s extremely fast-paced world, trying to juggle all the information that is coming at you all at once is like a firefighter’s water hose being pointed straight at your face and body with no respite. And drowning seems like an inevitable option, doesn’t it?

The Impact of Change

If you’ve had to deal with any change in any format, like changing jobs, companies, relationships,  or countries, you know exactly what I mean. And if you’ve had to experience more than one at a time, you certainly understand the potential negative mental health impact, don’t you? 

It’s certainly true that “change is the only constant” and “the more uncertainty you can live with, the easier your life is”, but in reality, it’s incredibly challenging to deal with too much change at any one time. 

Working parents, especially #mastermums, are continually spinning too many plates and dealing with all the newness for their family members too, aren’t we? I’ve found, from personal experience, that I detest being overwhelmed. It immobilises me, steals my joy, and I’m certainly not ‘the best version of myself’. 

Calm Is My Grounded State

In direct contrast, calm is one of my most favourite power states, as it enables me to feel grounded, more resilient, and most critically, to remain sane! Calm means that I am operating from my parasympathetic nervous system, known as homeostasis, not from my misnamed sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ nervous system. 

And as I always say, “I am a human being, a work in progress.”

When I’m overwhelmed, I don’t have the time or mental capacity to take in more information. I need a quick, in-the-moment answer to switch how I’m behaving. I have no time to read lengthy research papers, for example. That’s why Google can be so powerful – just a few taps on the keyboard and an answer is given.

Stop, Continue, Start

I’ve created a simple way to cut through overwhelm and help you feel calm. This has worked for me, and I’m sure it will do the same for you.

And a lovely quote I heard recently to share with you: “When the winds of change come, some people build windmills and some people build walls.” What do you build, I wonder?

The instructions are simple. 

  1. STOP: What is it that you’re doing that is keeping you in an overwhelmed state? 
  1. CONTINUE: What can you carry on doing that will help move you to a calmer state? 

Breathing will help, for sure. Take a look at my simple breathing technique here: 

Check out breath expert James Nestor to find out how you can use your breath to maximise any area of your life. 

  1. STOP: Write a list of all the practical things you can do to proactively move you from overwhelm to… (fill in the blank so it’s personal to you.)

Mary B Mental Health Warning

How we speak to ourselves on a regular basis has the biggest impact on managing our overwhelm. Read my article to find out more.

‘Our words create magic; that’s why its called spelling.’

Example worksheet

The Perfect Team Exercise

Please share this Stop, Continue, Start (SCS) Overwhelm to Calm Techniques, print it out, laminate it, and share it with friends and colleagues. 

Use it in a team meeting as an icebreaker or team connection exercise. And/or complete your own worksheet to help you and your team members because, like the ocean, ‘the ebb and flow of life’ is always going to be coming at us, so we need as many tools in our toolkit to navigate the waves and not drown, don’t we. 

Here to support you

Want to learn more techniques and strategies to combat overwhelm? Please connect with me at mary@marybarrett.global. I have a ginormous calming toolkit I’d love to share with you.