In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2020, approximately 60 percent of people US are overwhelmed daily.
Do you sometimes feel like being hit by a truckload of emotions that you can’t control?
If yes! You were probably overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed, by definition, means to be flooded by emotions, thoughts, and sensations that can be difficult to manage. Overwhemness mostly takes a toll on our calmness and thus affects our mental health. Then, how to calm down when you feel overwhelmed?
Before jumping to solutions, first, let’s know why we should stop feeling overwhelmed.
We might not notice it ourselves at first, but feeling overwhelmed has a negative impact on our life. It affects our mental health by making us more prone to anxiety and depression. It also affects our physical health by causing hypertension and other heart diseases.
Being overwhelmed makes us overthink, beat ourselves up about our past, and make us feel as if the world is crumbling apart. This mindset can become very destructive in the future. So figuring out ways to reduce these thought processes is quite essential.
The first step for solving an issue is to identify it.
Here are the most common signs that might indicate you are overwhelmed:
- irrational thoughts,
- experiencing a freeze response,
- disproportionate reactions,
- cognitive fatigue,
- higher heartbeat,
- dizziness, and others.
25 Ways how to calm down when you feel stressed and overwhelmed
Now that we know how being overwhelmed affects our mental health and becomes a hindrance to our daily life. Here we have listed the top ways how to calm down when you feel stressed and overwhelmed.
1. Take deep breaths
In this world of constant chaos, we often get stressed and overwhelmed over small things. In times like these, take a step back and start taking deep breaths that can help you by increasing the oxygen input to the body, which enhances the relaxation response in our body. Deep breathing is one of the most practiced forms of mental health treatment. It is an easy and effective exercise that doesn’t depend on how long you do; even giving 5 minutes to deep breathing exercises can help you calm down instantly.
2. Make a to-do list
Often there is a lot of work we need to complete, which makes us feel overwhelmed with stress. So how to calm down when you feel overwhelmed due to your pending work? Start by making a to-do list to cover all your pending and current assignments. Organizing your work and making a proper plan is the first step toward lowering stress. Start working on your tasks and slowly reach the end of the list. Making a to-do list calms you, increases productivity, and makes your mind clutter-free.
3. Hydrate yourself
You might ask how to calm yourself down when you feel overwhelmed by drinking water.
Water plays a significant role in our everyday life. Drinking water helps you from being thirsty and feeling dizzy. Water helps provide calm to your body in an alert state. As per WebMD, water acts as a toxin eradicator in our body; it helps flush out cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
Therefore, drinking water helps reduce stress and makes us feel less overwhelmed. You can drink cold water or hot water at your convenience.
4. Appreciate what you have
Practicing gratitude helps reduce cortisol levels by 23 percent, decreasing our body’s overwhelming stress. This also helps increase positivity and happiness in life. Start by appreciating everything around you and slowly go out and express gratitude towards others. People who regularly follow the gratitude idea experience improved mood, energy, physical well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and eventually calm down when feeling overwhelmed.
5. Reduce your input
Often we surround ourselves with a lot of work which might hamper our mental peace and increase our stress levels. In times like these, it is high time to take a break, take some time off from work, and reduce the input that might stimulate your daily life to become more stressful. A physically overwhelming and stress-inducing environment can contribute to a sense of emotional and mental overload.
6. Get a change of scenario
Whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressed, try to avoid situations that might be triggering you. Try to go near nature, spend quality time with yourself, and think things through. Sort your thoughts and try to analyze the reason that triggered you to stress out, and make sure to detach yourself from it. Meanwhile, enjoy the new scenery and clear your head from all the negative emotions.
7. Listen to music
After all, who doesn’t love music?
There are multiple benefits of music. It helps provide us with calm and stimulates the release of endorphins in our brain, which causes a decrease in stress levels. Music therapy is widely used in various anxiety and stress-related uses. Just plug in your headset and fall in love with the melody.
8. Fuel your body
The fuel of our body, “Good Food,” plays a significant role in maintaining our mood and calmness. A proper diet is essential to be stress-free and have a healthy and happy life. Keeping your stomach healthy can help you with your process of achieving a stress-free and calm lifestyle.
9. Limit caffeine intake
Drinking caffeine triggers the release of fight-or-flight hormone, also referred to as adrenaline. Caffeine puts your body in a hyperactive state and makes you prone to stress and anxiety. In a hyperactive state, your emotions start taking the best of you. Limiting your caffeine intake can help you have more control over your emotions.
10. Stay positive
Learning to calm down and be positive when you feel stressed and overwhelmed can be challenging. You can start being more positive by picking one good memory from your past few days and focusing on it. It helps you by distracting you from negative thoughts, making you less stressed and more happy in life.
11. Go for a walk
Any form of physical exercise can help relieve all the overwhelming stress your body stores. You can consider these as short-term mental health goals that will bring more positivity in life. Even if you have just 15 minutes off, go for a short walk for just 5 minutes; that can help you relieve some stress. Due to walking or any physical activity, our brain releases certain hormones, such as endorphins, which help calm our minds and reset our brains into a fresh and stress-free mood. You can either walk with a friend, which might provide you social support and a partner to talk to, or go for a walk alone, which can help you organize your thoughts and provide you with quality “Me Time.”
One of the best ways how to calm down when you feel overwhelmed is journaling. Whenever you feel anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed, take out a journal, start writing all your emotions, and remember to spare no detail. This habit of maintaining a journal helps one figure out the thoughts and the type of emotions they are feeling. This helps clear your head and gives you a more positive outlook.
13. Use your senses
Our human mind is a marvelous creation that can think of hundreds of possible scenarios for one situation. Those 3 AM thoughts that run wild and make us feel anxious are mostly about the future and past but not about the present.
Focusing on your sense helps you feel grounded in the present and helps make you less overwhelmed and stressed in life. There are many techniques to focus your senses.
One of the most used methods is the 54321 technique. In this technique, you need to become mindful of your breath. After taking small deep breaths, look for five things that you can see, four things that you can feel or touch, three things that you can hear, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste. This simple yet effective exercise helps you feel grounded in the present and reduces stress levels.
14. Change your mindset
Sometimes we overthink our situation and stop looking at the bright side of things; this habit creates a more stressful condition. In such cases, take a break and look at your situation with fresh eyes and a newer and brighter perspective.
Being pessimistic affects our mental health by increasing a lack of confidence and creating overwhelming stress. That is why practicing optimism and changing your mindset are crucial to knowing how to be happy in life and have better psychological health.
15. Start meditating
Our body activates two types of nervous responses depending on its need. In case of a stressful condition, it triggers the sympathetic nervous response. To counter it, there is a parasympathetic nervous response that helps decrease our body’s stress. Meditation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous response, reducing our bodies’ stress.
Meditation for stress and anxiety is considered one of the best answers to how to calm down when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Even meditating for 5 minutes is beneficial for us in the long run.
16. Laugh more often
As we say, laughter is the best medicine. One of the best ways to calm down when you feel stressed and overwhelmed is through laughter. Laughing releases endorphins that help reduce stress levels and maintain calm in our bodies. You can laugh from watching a funny video, sharing a joke with friends, watching stand-ups, or reading something humorous. Basically, anything that makes you laugh is good enough to make your day.
17. Count to 10!
In case of sudden frustration and increased anxiety. Counting from one to ten, along with deep breathing, helps calm your mind and even helps with anger management.
18. Sleep it out!
Sleeping doesn’t mean that you are trying to escape your problems. It is, in fact, a refresh button in your life to help you gain a better and fresh perspective. Ideally, it is advised to sleep for at least 7 hours. Getting proper sleep enables you to be more productive and calm in life.
19. Practice self-acceptance
Many people will advise you to stop complaining, blame you for feeling that way, and call you a buzzkill. And due to this, you might start denying what you are feeling. You might think that whatever you are feeling is wrong or is making you weak. But the fact is that you are not. So start accepting whatever you are feeling and never deny it. Denying and ignoring your feelings will not help you; they will gather up inside, making you feel more miserable, and then you will have to face it all at once.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Acknowledge your feelings and accept that you are feeling overwhelmed and having negative thoughts. Be non-judgemental towards your thoughts. Doing all this will help reduce stress.
20. Organize your workspace
Make your workspace clutter-free; when cluttered all around, it makes us anxious and stressed out, but once you organize your workspace, it won’t just give you peace of mind but also increase your productivity. The less clutter you see, the less input you will get from the external stimulus. This helps increase calmness and decrease stress.
21. Relax your body
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a technique where you can release all your tensed muscle groups, leaving your body more relaxed afterward. Anyone can do PMR, and it’s possible to do it anytime. You can even fully release all the tension you’re feeling in your body ‘virtually’ in seconds with practice. This technique can help you feel more relaxed and calm.
22. Set time limits
Managing time is one heck of a task. Sometimes we keep doing a simple task for hours when we could have done it earlier. To avoid this form of work, we need to learn how to set time limits for every task so that we will feel motivated every time we complete a task. This makes your work seem less hassle-free. Break a big task into different parts and allot time accordingly.
23. Avoid multitasking
You might think that multitasking is good and helpful in completing tasks earlier. But in real life, it takes more time. It makes it harder for you to get things done, but multi-tasking also increases your stress. Stop trying to do multiple things at once. Just focus on 1 task at a time.
Similarly, don’t jump from task to task. Complete one task before you start another one.
24. Complete an easy task
If you feel overwhelmed by your work and can’t focus properly due to all the build-up stress. In times like these, go for completing a short and easy task that can act as an instant mood booster. Add these tasks to your to-do list and strike it off when finished. This is helpful because when we have a sense of accomplishment, we can shake off the overwhelming stress, and it helps in increasing motivation too.
25. Consult a therapist.
If you’ve tried many coping mechanisms for feeling overwhelmed and still feel overwhelmed, consider speaking to a therapist. Therapy can help you identify what’s causing you to be overwhelmed and offer coping strategies that can work best for you.
Mental health awareness is crucial, and the right platform for mental therapy can be difficult, but you need not worry; here, we provide you with the top 5 easy-to-use and affordable sites for online therapy for mental health issues.
Sometimes, our emotions become heightened, making us feel overwhelmed and stressed. The above-mentioned ways on how to calm yourself down when you feel stressed and overwhelmed provide you with specific methods that you can easily implement in your life and make your life a bit easier by making you calm and happier. However, these practices cannot cure the feeling of being overwhelmed. These techniques can be considered mental health-building exercises.
Happiness also plays a major role in reducing stress and anxiety in an individual; sometimes, in life, it becomes hard to be happy. Here we provide you with the top ways to be more happy in life.
To know more about self-care and mental health topics, subscribe to Your Mental Health Pal