You don´t need to wait for tragedy to strike before taking a closer look at the life you´re leading. You can do it right this moment.
Feeling overwhelmed robs your life of pleasure, joy and the satisfaction you feel at a job well-done.
Who wants to live a life like that?
But how do you know when overwhelm has got a strangle-hold on your life?
Take a look at these 5 crucial signs and see how they may be manifesting themselves in your life – and stressing you out, in the process.
Do you wake up each morning, feeling anxious and dreading the things you need to do? If so, you´re probably in a state of overwhelm before you even start your day!
Dread is essentially anxiety wrapped up in resistance.
You feel torn between having to do something and the fear that you won´t be able to do it. And the more you resist, the more anxious you feel.
Allowing dread to run your life is a dangerous habit to get into. Because when dread´s in charge, nothing is fun and everything becomes a chore!
We all have situations in our lives when we are faced with things we´d really rather not do – doing your taxes is a perfect example.
But when procrastination becomes a way of life, overwhelm often has a major part to play.
Together with dread and resistance, procrastination has you putting things off until the very last minute, until you find yourself backed into a corner.
The more you resist and delay, the more overwhelmed you feel.
And the more overwhelmed you feel, the more distracted you become –grasping at straws; trying to do anything that makes you feel like you are doing something!
But your brain knows the difference and doubt creeps in, then fear takes over and the cycle begins again.
While feeling like you have too much to do can cause you to procrastinate, being bombarded by life´s demands can have you jumping into frenzied action. You feel like you are running out of time and you need to hit that accelerator and get more done.
You struggle with slowing down and enjoying the moment. You just want to get it done so you can move on to the next thing.
But when all you do is rush, rush, rush, mistakes happen; mistakes that cost you time and effort, and rocket your stress levels sky-high.
When you´re living in a state of procrastination, resistance and distraction, saying “no” to new demands or opportunities you feel could be your salvation can be really hard.
So, you take on more, hoping a new start is the answer. Or you get excited about a new project, hoping it will be more fun and profitable.
The problem is…
Old habits die hard.
All too quickly, the excitement and anticipation fade and you´re back to feeling confused and overwhelmed – only now you have even more stuff on your plate that needs to get done!
And that´s where avoidance comes in…
When you´re feeling overwhelmed, with too much to do and no clear objectives, chances are you´ll opt to avoid the things that seem difficult in favor of the easy stuff. At least then, you can check things off your “to-do” list and feel like you´re making progress, right?
In reality, though, you feel stuck. And you feel guilty. Because the important stuff doesn´t just go away. It hangs there over your head, day in and day out.
I know overwhelm may seem to be a new modern day epidemic and you may feel like you have no choice but to live your life scrambling from one day to the next, hardly able to catch a breath.
But the truth is you always have a choice.
And while you may not have chosen to let overwhelm take control of your life, you most certainly can choose to become more aware of your emotions and how they shape the quality of the life you are living.
Check back next week, when I´ll share my 5-step plan for getting (and staying!) out of overwhelm with you here.
William Holt is the go-to coach and trainer for executive women wanting to transition to coaching as a way of sharing their professional expertise with the world. He is also the creator of the Holt Coaching Method as well as the founder and leader of the LinkedIn Group - Executive Women´s Growth Forum.
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