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What is overwhelm?

 Overwhelm most commonly means to be overcome with emotion as a result of an amount of something (work, stress, etc.) that’s just too much to handle.

Our brains are programmed so that we can either use logic or emotions, but we can’t really use them both at the same time. So, when we are stressed, our body goes into fight or flight mode and our mind can’t use logic, our thoughts are all over the place, hence creating more stress.

Often when we feel overwhelmed, the mind sees everything as important. If everything is important, we then can’t focus, we feel distracted. We find ourselves spinning plates, making poor decisions, and doing tasks without focused effort and attention- we become busy fools.

Often, overwhelm feels uncomfortable as it is uncontrollable. It rears its head as anxiety, anger, or significant irritability and worry. Doubt and helplessness also make their way into a person’s normal thought process. Physically, it can manifest when a person lashes out verbally, cries, or has a panic attack.

What causes overwhelm?

Overwhelm can be brought on by major things like war, a terrible accident or natural disaster, but it can also be brought on by more personal issues such as loss of a loved one, financial worries or even just managing day to day life.

Our work lives have become increasingly demanding, presenting us with more and more pressure and less and less time. Business owners often feel overwhelmed due to wearing many hats and taking on everything themselves.

It is easy to see why feeling overwhelmed affects so many people, according to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of the UK population have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope at some point in the past year.

You may have a lot on your plate – but there are specific things you can do to ensure that you aren’t feeling the pressure of doing it all and doing it all at once.

To get started, take a look at the big picture. It’s important to get into the right mindset before you make a shift in how you’re approaching your life and each day. Check in by asking yourself: How am I spending my time? How am I organising my life? How well am I focusing on my priorities?

Techniques to deal with overwhelm

The following are some strategies that can help you overcome overwhelm:


Personally, I love a list; I think my life is governed by lists! But they are really helpful. If I have a really busy week, it can stress me out. So, I list everything I need to do in the week.

Sometimes a list in itself can be overwhelming! So, I do another one! I write a daily list of what tasks I am going to do each day, this way the list does not feel so daunting.

You can also rate your tasks, A, B & C.

‘A’ are the tasks you should do first

‘B’ do after A

‘C’ are tasks you do if you have time

A word of warning, ‘A’s tend to be the tasks that we avoid, as they are the most important and they are probably the ones that will take the longest and push you out of your comfort zone – but it’s a good way to make sure you do what you need to do.


We all know what happens when we don’t make a plan, but a commonly forgotten tactic is to actually schedule your to-dos.

We often fill our daily schedule with meetings, appointments, and events – but where do our key tasks fit in?

Set up a plan, whether it’s monthly, 3 monthly, or yearly, identify your key tasks, schedule them by blocking in time in your calendar and then follow the plan!

Brain Dumps

I love a good brain dump, it feels so good after you have done it, however the hardest thing is starting.

But what is a brain dump?

A brain dump is when you get everything that is going around in your head out on a piece of paper. The process is simple, get a book or a piece of paper and write whatever comes into your head. Once you start all sorts of thing will pop into your head, write it all down. And when there is nothing else coming through you are done.

Why do this?

Firstly, if you have things going around and around in your head, you need to deal with them. Until you do, they will continue to take up space in your mind and they will probably wake you up in the middle of the night!

You can also look at what you have written, and if you see patterns, then you need to deal with that issue as this is important to you. If you don’t resolve whatever it is, then it will stay in your head and probably drive you mad.

By doing a brain dump you are creating space for other things in your mind. Whatever issues are at the forefront of our mind are the things that are important right now. However, these may not be the real issues that you need to deal with. Sometimes we bury the real problem as we are not ready to deal with it yet, so by brain dumping you are telling your mind that you are ready to deal with some of the bigger stuff that you have been avoiding. The stuff that you really need to deal with.

A brain dump is very cathartic, and I suggest you try it at least once. If you like it, make a part of your weekly routine.

The act of doing a brain dump will make you feel so much better; I feel clean after I have done my brain dump. However, the magic really happens when you start to deal with the issues that come up during the process.


If you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed and the previous strategies haven’t resolved this for you, NLP treatment can help. I have lots of techniques which I can use to find a way to deal with your feeling of overwhelm. Get in touch to find out more.