Do you remember that carefree feeling you had when you were a little kid?
Life was play.
But when you grow up, things change.
Life becomes overwhelming.
Having responsibilities and adult roles is good. It helps keep society running.
There’s just one problem.
As a side effect of becoming an adult, most people live in the survival mode where life FEELS overwhelming.
I’m sure you hate that feeling as much as I do.
But here’s what I realized…
Life is not overwhelming. The burden comes from your thoughts and actions. And you have the power to change them.
As an entrepreneur, I‘ve felt overwhelmed multiple times. And it still happens sometimes. But I had to find a way out because I couldn’t stand that feeling. It was against my values — peace and freedom.
So here are the tricks I used to stop living an overwhelmed life.
Are you ready? Let’s get going.
#1: Move At Your Own Unique Pace 🐢
Breathe. Slow down.
Often, the “urgencies” you give yourself are not real crises.
And if it’s a real urgency, don’t put it off until the deadline arrives. Create an imaginary deadline in your mind to finish a task before its “real” deadline.
You don’t need to finish all other tasks today. Do the important tasks first and when you can’t get something done today, do it tomorrow so you can do it better with a fresh mind.
I know it’s intimidating to see people doing the work in hours what you do in days. But you don’t need to compete with them. You can certainly take inspiration and learn from them but acknowledge their expertise and experience.
Give yourself time to get better if you respect your craft or profession.
If you try to rush the process, you may miss out on improving your work. Remember, quality matters more than quantity.
#2: Compare Only With Your Past Self 👷
Competition can drive you or suck the happiness out of you.
Competition is a good thing when it forces you to grow but it can easily become toxic when you compare yourself to others.
The solution is not to stop competing in life. But it is to stop comparing yourself with others. Every person has different experiences, situations, priorities, age, relationships, personality, talents, skills, body, mind, luck, genes, upbringing, and so on.
Humans may look similar from the outside but there’s a lot that goes on which we never see.
So don’t feel bad if someone is better than you. It’s much wiser to be humble and accept the truth.
You are a work in progress and there is no shame in that. You only need to get better than your past self. If you’re improving, all is good.
#3: Value Your Attention Like You Value Money 💵
The internet has open doors for us we couldn’t even imagine.
Access to information is just a click away.
As much good as it sounds, it also comes with its drawbacks. Too much information gives rise to the feeling of overwhelm.
We scroll through articles, jump from videos to videos without being conscious of where our attention is going.
Here’s the thing you may not realize.
Even though the information is free on the internet, you’re always paying for it with your time and attention.
And that’s not all…
Every content you don’t want to see stops you from noticing the content you want to see.
The more hunting you have to do to find the content that matters to you, the more overwhelmed you feel because you pay additional time and attention to find it.
So treat every other content as if you paid for it. If you keep watching something in your newsfeed or inbox that you don’t want to see, block or unsubscribe from it.
#4: Stop Standing At The Center Of The Universe 🌎
In psychology, spotlight effect is a phenomenon in which people believe they are being noticed more than they really are.
The center of the universe is not a good place to be. So don’t create such imaginary scenarios in your mind.
Get rest. Let go. Take the pressure off.
Failures and mistakes are okay as long as you keep learning from them.
Social media puts pressure on you to be, look and act perfectly. But content on social media is just a snapshot of the best moments of people’s life (and that too comes with a filter).
Your life doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s how you deal with the imperfections of life that will determine the quality of your life.
#5: Call Out Humor, Gratitude, Or Connection To The Rescue 🚒
The overwhelming feelings exist in your head so it’s better to solve the problem where the problem arises from.
Ask yourself — how important is your current situation in the realm of the bigger picture of your life? Will it matter in the next 10 years or even 10 months?
Is the situation worth sacrificing your joy, peace, and freedom? If not, laugh it off, smile with a sense of gratitude or connect with a loved one.
Finding humor won’t solve problems but it will help your mind get out of fight-or-flight response.
Gratitude will help you do the same by shifting your attention to what’s good at the moment as opposed to everything going crazy in your life.
Connection with another person can help you talk out loud about your situation so you’ll feel your load getting off a little. Sometimes, all you need is an empathetic ear.
#6: Make Your Life As Simple As Possible 🧘♀️
Let go of the complications in life by letting go of the all the commitments, people and stuff in your life that don’t serve you.
They not only overwhelm you, but they distract you from the things that matter to you. And when you can’t do the things that matter to you, you feel even more overwhelmed, confused, and unhappy.
Take the confusion out of your life by having clear priorities and a clear sense of what you don’t want in life.
In my case, I gain clarity by reviewing and decluttering every weekend.
When your mind is clear, you will know when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’ to events, people, tasks, emails, offers, and so on.
Focus on one thing at a time. You will get things done faster and better without the overwhelming feeling that comes with multitasking.
#7: Switch Off Your “Work Mode” ⏰
Being focused and getting things done feels amazing indeed. But you must switch the work mode off.
If you stay half-active all the time, you will not only do injustice to your work, but you will forget how to live your life.
Your work is not your life — it’s just a part of it.
Most of the burden in life comes from work. So keep clear boundaries of when you should concentrate on work and when you should switch the work mode off so you can stay in touch with your life, health, and relationships.
Never feel guilty for your conscious off-time.
To combat the problem, I schedule meditation sessions and pay attention to my energy to take regular breaks.
When Nothing Works Out…
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” —Timber Hawkeye
Remember: This too shall pass.
Life gets crazy sometimes and instead of fighting it, surrender to it.
Be in the present. Feel the overwhelm knowing that the storm will get over.
Better days will come. And when they do, acknowledge them like never before.
And before you go…
“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” — Tyler Knott Gregson