All of us would know of that one guy at workplace, or that one friend, who is always overwhelmed with everything that happens, and is constantly fighting imaginary demons just to survive. This person is constantly in a state of dilemma and is clueless as to how to take some of the most important decisions in his or her life.
The bad news is, it is not that guy alone who is in this state, everyone acts this way at some point of time or the other. It is just a lot easier to see it in other people than in our own selves. Statements like “I can’t do this!” “This is too much for me.” “I can’t deal with this right now.” “This is not my problem!” are symptoms of this disease of being overwhelmed.
The good news is, being overwhelmed is a disease – and can be healed. Because it is not something caused by anything external, the solution for it is also not tough to find because it lies in our own selves.
“I have too much to do and I cannot get it all done”
If we take the time to look at the nature of the inner chatter, we can summarize it as this: a constant repetitive drone of “I have too much to do and I cannot get it all done”.
By believing that it is right to think this way, we allow ourselves to become numbed, beaten down, cowed by its noise and paralyzed into inaction. Inaction can never lead to transformation or any solution. Inaction is not peace. Inaction is withdrawing from life itself.
As we so often see, one person can feel overwhelmed while another person can be at ease in exactly the same situation. We can deduce from this that it is not the situation that creates the feeling of being overwhelmed, but the internal space of the person, including the internal dialogue, doubt and confusion, that causes the feeling of being overwhelmed in the face of a challenge.
Don’t be fooled!
Once we have established that it is not the external world that causes stress, but the internal one, the next step is to own up to our creations!
Instead of following the pattern that we see around us all the time, blaming the external world for our overwhelm, take responsibility and acknowledge sincerely that the inner space is creating all the havoc you are experiencing. This acknowledgement shifts your focus from trying to fix the external to focusing on the real cause of the issue, that “the world as we see it is a reflection of our inner space.”
This one step will create a paradigm shift in your view of self and the world. You will see how we cunningly weasel our way out of owning our inner turmoil by shifting blame to the external world.
Question Your Thinking
The feeling of being overwhelmed cannot be fixed by changing actions alone. It is the thinking pattern that is in need of a paradigm shift.
When life gives us what we define as “too much” it is the mind that perceives it as stress, life threat, challenge and many other things which make us feel like we are under a survival threat. This sense of survival threat freezes all our creative thinking capacity until we end up being like a deer in front of headlights, not able to think straight, not able to take any intelligent decisions.
The paradigm shift needs to happen in this perception of life situations as a life threat itself. Whenever life gives us more than we imagined, it is only to remind us of one thing: we are not the small identity we carry about ourselves, we are a lot more than that. We all carry certain ideas about ourselves and how much we can do. But all these ideas are based on our own doubts about ourselves, and hatred for ourselves. Hence, all our ideas about “how much we can handle” in life are misplaced and myths.
Whenever life gives you challenges that shake you by the root, only one thing needs to be remembered: Life is expanding through you. Many times, the “challenging” life situations are actually an answer to things we have been praying for, and wishing for, but when they arrive, we see them as life threats instead because we always have certain ideas about how things should happen in our lives. It is these opinions that need to be dropped.
Any ideas about Life that make you withdraw from life will only bind you more and more. Any ideas that make you participate with Life, will liberate you more and more.
Simple Exercise to Stop Being Overwhelmed
In the region between your heart and the navel, is a space called the “ananda gandha”. This space is your connection to the whole of Cosmos and the divinity in you. Bring your awareness to this region for a few minutes. Take a few deep inhales and deep exhales. Now, with every inhalation and every exhalation, drop all your ideas, opinions and judgements about yourself and life into this vast emptiness of the Cosmos.