emotional overwhelm
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How to Spot Signs That You Are Emotionally Overwhelmed

Financial strains, work pressures, parenting and family responsibilities are all part of the daily stresses that we face due to living in a fast-paced world. The problem arises when these pressures become too much and last too long – it paves the way for feelings of emotional overwhelm to surface.

Feeling overwhelmed is a normal response to stressful circumstances, but it can make it hard to think and act rationally and even function in your usual manner. It can feel intense and all-consuming. Needless to say, this is an uncomfortable feeling that can affect both your personal and professional life.

Warning signs that you may be feeling overwhelmed

A few symptoms that you are overwhelmed by your emotions include:

  • Having excessive reactions to seemingly insignificant situations. For example, you may panic when you can’t find your keys.
  • Feeling fatigued or physically ill but aren’t sure why
  • Struggling to focus on even simple tasks or daily routines
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Feeling sad, even during happy occasions
  • Experiencing feelings of doom, powerlessness and despair

What causes emotional overwhelm?

These feelings could be caused by stress, relationship issues, traumatic experiences or daily life pressures that build to a critical point. For many right now, living through a pandemic is a major cause of stress, and uncertainly that can feel overwhelming.

Emotional overwhelm becomes a problem when the intensity of your feelings surpasses your ability to manage them. Many people are overwhelmed by negative emotions, such as fear, guilt or anger. That said, it may be difficult for you to pinpoint why you are feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, there are many contributing stressors rather than one particular cause. Too many conflicting and negative feelings all at once can lead to emotional overwhelm.

The truth is, most of us will experience this at some point. But, it’s important to note that, if you feel this way for an extended period, you may benefit from talking to an experienced psychologist who can help you work through these feelings.

Consequences of being emotionally overwhelmed

Three main areas in your life may start to be affected. These include (but are not limited to):

Lack of self-care – feeling overwhelmed can make it a challenge to look after yourself, even your basic needs. You may skip rest breaks, forget meals and have difficulty sleeping at night. These behaviours will begin to affect your ability to think straight and in turn, may make it even harder for you to cope.

Declining health – if left unchecked, this negative cycle can result in problems with your physical health. You may start to develop chronic fatigue or unexplained pains and symptoms. What’s more, your immune system may be lowered, and your ability to fight off infection may decrease.

Social Impact – you may find that you are withdrawing from loved ones, avoiding conversations or lashing out at those around you. This behaviour can cause strain on your relationships with family, friends or professional colleagues.

How therapy can help

Speaking to a professional about your feelings is a helpful way to help sort through challenging emotions. You may learn to:

  • understand the reasons for your overwhelming emotions
  • find ways to cope using specific tools and techniques
  • address recurring problems, such as PTSD or relationship issues
  • explore ways to help you find calm and keep relaxed during stress

and much more.

With every concern that you learn to resolve, you will likely find that coping with other stressors becomes easier. Even just focusing on one issue can considerably reduce any feelings of distress. If your problems seem incurable, speaking to a therapist can help you to learn techniques to manage your life one step at a time.

Over to you

While these feelings may be a normal reaction to too much stimuli, you don’t need to live with chronic overwhelm. We can all learn techniques to help us handle our responses better. Why not book a 20-minute initial, (no-obligation) consultation with one of our therapists to find out how you can get back to being the best version of yourself?

click here to book your 20-minute initial appointment
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