Dictionary definition for overwhelmed:
1. To cover completely.
2. To overcome by superior force or numbers.
3. To overcome in thought or feeling.
Most people would say that “overwhelmed” is a feeling.
Ann: “How are you doing?”
Rose: “I’m overwhelmed. There’s so much to do!”
Actually, even though I’m sure you can probably find the word overwhelmed listed as being a feeling, I am convinced that it is not. It’s a word that indicates a state or quality of being.
No one likes being overwhelmed. It’s a suffocating sensation, and it robs us of the power to act. When we are overwhelmed, we definitely experience a sensation much like being overcome by a superior force.
Principle: We always have control over our state of “be-ing.”
We do have control, though. No matter what the outside circumstance, I do not have to “BE” anything I do not choose to be.
Suppose that you wake up in the morning, and your first conscious thought is of your “to-do” list. It is a long one today, because there is an important event coming up tomorrow, and you need to make sure that you are ready for it.
Typically, my first response would be to groan, get out of bed, and force myself to begin to conquer the things on that list. As I moved forward, I would be thinking about “hurry,” and “push forward” and “work.”
But -- if I remember that “overwhelmed” affects my state of being, I will think about my “to-do” list with a different perspective.
“There is a lot to do today. I am going to need a great deal of power. So - in order to get today’s tasks done, I am going to need to be confident, to be certain of myself, and to be cheerful.” Then I imagine plugging in to the energy sources of “confident,” “certainty,” and “cheerfulness.”
It helps me personally to actually envision this - to pretend that I am actually plugging myself into outlets that are labeled with those words. I give myself permission to to take a minute or two to charge myself with that energy. As I do that, I repeat to myself statements such as these:
I’m confident that I can get these things done.
I know that my tasks are daunting, but I have done hard things before. I can work hard, and I can be successful at this.
I will have to hurry and move fast today. I’m grateful that I have strength and energy to move like that, and it will be fun to see how quickly I can go.
Then - I move. I don’t disconnect from my power sources, and frequently I remind myself of the power that I have.
It is amazing how much these simple things can do to change your perspective from “overwhelm” to “control.”