Dealing with Overwhelm

Have you ever had to deal with feeling overwhelmed?

Like, where you literally didn’t know what to do next? Maybe even feeling like you’d never climb out of it?

Overwhelm puts us at our worst. Our worst at work, and our worst at home with our spouse (and if present, children).

Some people wind up lashing out and others withdraw, unable to deal with anyone or anything.

How to Fix

In order to successfully and consistently get out of overwhelm you have to understand how you process the world.

Once you know how you process you can use that information to help tame and bring order to the overwhelm.

Some people are mostly visual, some auditory and other kinesthetic (NB this is a bit of a simplification but good enough for right now).

  • Visual people are most attuned to sight and how things look
  • Auditory people are most attuned to hearing and how things sound
  • Kinesthetic people are most attuned to touch and how things feel

If You’re Visual...

Visualize everything you need to do as cards in front of you and rearrange their positions, change their colors, even make them darker or lighter in order to reduce your sense of overwhelm.

Make a point to experiment with different colors and the “four corner” positions in front of you as I’ve found these to give visual people the most bang for the buck.

For example, let everything fade to nearly invisible and float to the bottom of the imaginary board in front of you, then let the one, two or three things you really need to focus on to float up and to the right while turning a deep blue.

If You’re Auditory...

Be mindful of the sounds around you and know what works. Some auditory people enjoy silence while others are driven crazy by it! Some like jazz, some like “new age” music, some like Bach cantatas.

Surround yourself with the kind of music that helps you.

You can even try singing (or if you prefer chanting) or even making a droning kind of sound.

Consider the “sounds” of everything you have to do; then try to silence them all and see which really need attending to (or which you choose).

If You’re Kinesthetic...

Imagine everything demanding your attention as floating orbs around you and then move your arms and hands to “sweep” away or reorganize to block out the chaffe and get clear on what you actually need to attend to.

You can even use pushing and pulling motions to position orbs in front or behind you (this can be helpful to kinesthetic people in “ignoring” and “focusing” on certain things).

The MOST Effective Route

One of the most effective techniques I use and teach is a form of Qi-Gong meditation called the wash (watch this video to the end for a demonstration) because it activates all three styles at the same time.

Simply put, lift your arms gently from your sides to over your head while breathing in, then exhale and bring your hands down slowly from overhead to your navel while visualizing your brain, heart and lungs being “cleansed”. Visualize the “washing” action, feel it happen in your body and listen to your breath, in and out. Repeat this exercise at least five times or, ideally, for five minutes.


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