Feeling overwhelmed is a common problem that can strike at any moment. As demands roll in from all directions this productivity-killing monster often rears its ugly head. At first, it’s not so bad. We feel busy, challenged, maybe even a little excited that we have so much to do.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably know this feeling all too well. You’re running on all cylinders trying to build your business. You have a long to-do list that seems to grow longer every day. You just don’t have enough hours in the day.
Feeling overwhelmed can result in negative emotions such as anxiety, worry or irritability. And it can increase your stress levels, which could lead to even more serious issues with your mental or physical health.
While you can’t add more hours to your day, there are a number of strategies you can use to help you stop feeling overwhelmed, and we would like to share three tips with you to overcome overwhelm.
1) Take a Deep Breath!
In the 1970s, Herbert Benson, a Harvard Medical School physician developed a technique called the relaxation response. This is a state of deep rest that helps to change your response to stress e.g. reduced heart rate, blood pressure, the rate of breathing and muscle tension.
You can use a number of techniques to induce the relaxation response, including mindfulness, tai chi, yoga, deep breathing, etc.
Deep breathing, which is also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a simple but powerful technique for dealing with stress. You can practice diaphragmatic breathing lying down, sitting or even standing up. Once you’re comfortable with this technique, you can do it anywhere.
2) Do a Brain Dump!
One reason you might be overwhelmed is that your brain feels overloaded with information. You might be mentally juggling a long list of tasks or you may have negative thoughts spinning around in your head.
One of the best ways to clear your mind is to write things down.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed because your head is filled with all the things you need to get done, then try this simple exercise -
Get a piece of paper and spend 10 minutes making a list of everything that you need to get done. Don't try to evaluate or organize every task, you can do that later. For now, just get those tasks out of your head and onto paper.
This simple technique can help to reduce the feeling of overwhelm. Your brain doesn’t have to keep juggling all these tasks and deadlines anymore. You've cleared your ‘mental RAM' and captured all those thoughts in a safe place.
If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, you can use a similar technique to help you get rid of that ‘head trash'. Grab another sheet of paper and write down all your negative thoughts. And when you're done, throw it away.
It sounds like a silly exercise, however, in 2012, a study published in Psychological Science showed that writing negative thoughts and then throwing them away can help clear your mind.
There’s something magical about writing things down.
3) Less is More!
David Segrove said: "Do three things well, not ten things badly" and I couldn't agree more! Choose three things that you have to get done every day - anything else that gets done then is a bonus.
As entrepreneurs, we have no shortage of ideas. We have a long list of things we want to do today and enough ideas to keep us busy for years.
It can be frustrating when you realize that there just isn’t enough time for you to do everything in the day or in this lifetime. And that creates overwhelm.
The first step to dealing with this is to accept that you’ll never get it all done. We know that’s hard to accept, but it’s a reality. Once we acknowledge that, we feel less stressed because we have less resistance to trying to do to all - and focusing on three main things every day, give us a sense of accomplishment, especially if we get more than the three things done!
I hope you will implement these tips whenever you feel overwhelmed, you surely have nothing to lose!
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