Guess what human condition has been on the rise for the last decade (I personally think its long but I am providing what has been documented)? Think on it for a minute because it is truly one of the hidden sources for many of our issues encountered on the path of being happy whole and gracious. Still not sure what this condition is?
The answer is universal at some point in all lives – feeling overwhelmed. How do we cope with feeling overwhelmed?
In our fast-paced always-on society, it’s clear feeling overwhelmed is a universal struggle. So too is the self-inflicted pressure we put on ourselves. Perfectionism – defined as “as a combination of excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations” – is officially on the rise. Our growing perfectionistic tendencies have also been identified as a key driver of depression, anxiety and stress across all ages.
When we feel overwhelmed from both external and internal pressures, it’s like we’re signalling to our brain that our demands outweigh our resources. Our brain interprets this as danger, and we risk triggering the ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ stress response. If it goes on long enough, we might start experiencing physical symptoms of anxiety, as well as increasingly low mood and energy. The key to preventing this is to develop our mental wellness skills.
Without mental wellness skills, we may find ourselves resorting to our natural instinct: to do nothing and withdraw (remember: it’s called the ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response). Recognizing our tendency to freeze is the first step in developing our helpful response strategy. Once we recognize we’re in the stress response, we can mindfully choose what we do next.
This week I would like to offer some insights into four key areas I found most useful in my own journey:
Peace and Love, Jim