In times of stress, we typically hyper-focus on the problem or “threat” we believe we’re facing. That fear can trigger the feeling of overwhelm, quickly turning a small, insignificant anthill of a problem into our own personal Mt. Everest. Recognize that fear is what triggers your overwhelm. Our ancestors relied on that fear instinct for their most basic need: survival. Most of us don’t fear for our survival today; the closest many of us get is watching “Survivor” on TV.
However, like our ancestors, our brains are still hard-wired to watch out for danger. Even though we no longer have to fear being someone’s dinner, that instinctual fear is replaced with fears such as losing a job, letting someone down, or guilt around not keeping up with your to-do list. What tends to trigger your overwhelm? What is the fear underlying it? If you knew you wouldn’t die, or lose your job, or let someone down, how would you prefer to feel? What could you remember about your strengths and capabilities to know you can handle what you’re facing?