Do you ever feel overwhelmed by life? I think we all do from time to time. Things go wrong, and we panic because we are no longer in control. You can’t cope with life problems—too much is happening, you can’t handle it. You feel everyone is pressuring you, even though they may not be—you feel lost or you’re weighed down by other people.
These are strange and frightening feelings, and you’re not sure what to do about it. It’s common to feel so overwhelmed sometimes, to the point where you feel like everything is too hard. It can be difficult to work out why you are feeling so hopeless. Identifying the things that are contributing to the feeling will allow you to work out how to deal with it and get a bit of relief. That’s where it’s good to have a close friend who will listen—no judgement. Just a good friend who will let you talk out your feelings.
Sometimes life goes too fast, and we can’t keep up. Have you felt that way? Do too many problems stare you in the face? Do you find yourself with too much to do and not enough time and energy to do it? When that happens we feel trapped—and no-one wants that!
Why do we feel overwhelmed? Some things are common, like:
- We may have a feeling that the magnitude of the task at hand is too big to handle.
- We’re put in the position of having to do things we’ve never done before—we are out of our comfort zone.
- We get caught up in circumstances where we don’t know what to do—a situation especially aggravated when we have had no training to deal with it and there appears to be no plan.
- We may have the fear of failure.
All of these feelings have one thing in common: fear.The core of being overwhelmed is fear—being afraid of the unknown and lacking confidence in our abilities to deal with the unexplored and unfamiliar. But we don’t need to let fear and anxiety freeze us. There are principles we can apply that will help us get a grip on our feelings of anxiety and not let them gain control over us.
Watch Your Health
One way to gain the upper hand when you’re feeling overwhelmed is to watch your health. Usually that anxious, defeatist sensation comes over us when we are worn-out. We need to know that exhaustion can have a major impact on how we see our tasks at hand. Most of the instances of being overwhelmed that I’ve seen have come when someone was extremely tired or even exhausted.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, trouble seems much larger. Our modern way of living places many demands on our time, and it’s easy to neglect our health. Be sure to make time for rest, relaxation, exercise and sleep, and eat a balanced diet. You’ll be surprised how much better you can cope with life’s challenges.
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Break The Task Down
We can learn to manage the thing that is overwhelming us. We tend to look at a project as one big unit, instead of a batch of small parts. Yet by mentally taking apart the task, we can avoid feeling overwhelmed at its magnitude. Here is a simple suggestion: work out a way to break the task down into small, doable parts. Then take it one little piece at a time. You can handle life better this way. It is important to break large jobs down into smaller ones. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither are other large projects.
When faced with a major task, don’t worry or become anxious about it. Realise that it will take time. Lay out the tasks and schedule each day’s work. Set smaller goals and actually work toward them. If the job is still too intimidating, break it into even smaller bits and extend the schedule. This approach makes many jobs much more manageable.
Look For Alternatives
Sometimes we must seek out alternatives. If you find you have too many responsibilities, remove those that are not as important. Ask yourself: Do I really need to do this? You may find you are spending considerable time and energy—and too much worry—on things that aren’t necessary. Concentrate instead on the essential. Make those things your priority.
You may need more help from family members, co-workers, managers or supervisors. Thoughtfully examine your situation, consider potential solutions and present your case to them.
Seek God’s Help
When life seems to overwhelm us, we have God’s promises that he will work with us to see us through. Talk things over with him in prayer. Such communication with God is helpful in several ways. Prayer helps us focus on what is most important. It enables us to have clearer minds. Prayer resets the mind—lets us mentally start over—and allows us, with God’s help, to find alternative ways to deal with our challenges.
Ask God to help you evaluate and properly set your priorities. Sometimes we need to learn a lesson about taking on too much. We should learn that lesson quickly. Otherwise we’ll unnecessarily overburden ourselves. Applying some of the advice in this article should make it easier. Remember that fear lies at the root of much of our anxiety, and we shouldn’t allow it to immobilise us.
Consider Paul’s words in Romans:8:31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And Jesus reminds us that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew:19:26). With God’s help, we should be able to cast aside fear and anxiety. We should be able to focus on what is appropriate and possible—and then do it.
Thank you for being the God who never sleeps. Thank you for always being here for me, even when I’m not always here for you. Thank you that you are love and that you want the very best for me. Thank you for your promises and that you never change.
I am feeling totally overwhelmed. Please help me. Help me to rest in the fact that you know what is best for me. Forgive me for turning away from you and trying to control the outcome in situations in my life.
The Bible says that you are not the God of confusion but of peace. Help me to rest in your love and to feel the peace which surpasses all understanding. Help me to feel your love and comfort. Help me to be still and know that you are God and that you will take care of me, just like any loving parent takes care of their children.
Your Word says to cast all of our anxiety on you because you care for us. I turn all of my burdens and concerns over to you. Please guide my every step and help me to be attentive to your loving direction.