With so much happening in the world today, finding yourself overwhelmed by it is next to normal. From TV news to social media, every single day we get news about something bad going on. And more often than not, this ‘something bad’ is huge. Forest fire, war in the Middle East, climate change, violence against innocents… these are not small things. So, how do you function? How do you find courage when you’re overwhelmed?
Signs You Are Overwhelmed by the State of the World
Distress, burnout, trauma
Three of the most obvious signs of overwhelm include distress, burnout, and trauma. If you notice yourself feeling more exhausted than usual, or perhaps having higher levels of trauma and distress over things happening to other people (a.k.a. things you read or watch online), you are mostly overwhelmed. Moreover, note that those who have high levels of compassion and empathy, like a mindset coach and a life coach, these three feelings can have more impact on them. Which is to say, an increased level of distress, burnout, and trauma can be more obvious on those who have higher levels of compassion and empathy than those who don’t.
That ‘why can’t I just snap out of it’ feeling
When was the last time you wondered why you can’t just snap out of this terrible or heavy feeling? If there are any changes with how easy you can recuperate from heavy feelings and bad news, chances are you are overwhelmed by it. We all have different ways of recuperating from bad news, but if you notice that it’s taking you longer than usual, if you notice yourself dwelling over some horrible article you read online or a harrowing video you watched, you are not alone in this!
Increased frustration and impatience
Another sign is that your frustration and impatience are at high levels all the time. Or at least, almost all the time. Sure, we can all be impatient and there are things that easily get to us and make us frustrated… however, if you notice you’re becoming more and more impatient, it’s most likely caused by overwhelm. Also, if you’re frustrated over small things, that’s another clear sign too.
How to Deal with Overwhelm and Find Courage
Know that it’s real
One of the best ways to deal with overwhelm and truly find courage in your life is to know that overwhelm is real. Acknowledgement is a big deal, and it can take time for us to process things that we observe. That said, if you notice that the state of the world is negatively affecting your emotional well-being, begin to practice acknowledging that it is real. Overwhelm is real and it does have an impact on all of us. This takes courage and time.
Acknowledge the existence of trauma
Overwhelm and trauma usually go hand in hand, but we have the tendency to draw a line between them. Acknowledging the latter is so much harder than acknowledging the existence of overwhelm itself. It's good to acknowledge trauma and its effects as well.
There are mainly two types of trauma we experience when we’re overwhelmed by terrible global events - direct traumatization or when the terrible things happened to you directly, and vicarious traumatization or the kind of trauma experienced by empathetic people after long exposures to other people’s pain.
You’re more prone to the latter if you’re a front-line social worker, first responder, a journalist, humanitarian worker, or, you guessed it, a life coach. By acknowledging the existence of these two types of trauma, by saying to yourself ‘I am traumatized,’ you are one step closer to finding courage.
Be informed and don’t let yourself sink in it
Being informed is key here. It’s so easy to let ourselves drown in overwhelm. It’s so easy to think when we feel too much, think too much, we’re hopeless and it’s going to be a major struggle to crawl out of this feeling. Thus, being informed on the signs of overwhelm is one of the answers on how to find courage when you’re overwhelmed.
Do not let yourself sink in the heaviness. Do not let the feelings of distraught take control of your life. It's okay to feel the weight of these thing, but not to let it overcome you. With proper information, reading more and more about overwhelm and finding courage, by talking to friends about it, exchanging knowledge, you’ll find it easier to manage your thoughts and feelings with the proper tools and support system.
Know that both hopeful and distressing things exist and are equal
Another great answer on how to find courage when you’re overwhelmed if to know that both hopeful and distressing things exist. And that they are equal. The thing is, when distressing things happen, we tend to focus on it and it alone. Everything else melts away, including our positive thinking.
To let go of overwhelm, one thing we encourage people to do is to constantly remind themselves that good and bad things exist and that both are equal, even when you feel like the bad things are somehow heavier. By constantly reminding yourself of this, you will slowly ease the overwhelm and will find the courage to move past it and not just function but thrive.
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