Help! I am feeling stuck and overwhelmed!
Question: There are a few important aspects of my life over which I have very little control. It is eating me up because it is an important aspect of my life. I have tried to analyse the situation and do whatever I can. Now what do I do?
Answer: It is indeed frustrating and overwhelming to deal with situations that don’t work out in a particular way especially if there is nothing much you can do about it. Other people’s behaviour or actions, loss of a job or relationship, natural disasters, major illnesses etc. are some of the things not in our control. There will be many issues that keep challenging our equilibrium in life and each of us have to find a way to deal with them. While there is no magic formula, listed below are some suggestions that might be useful.
So then how do we get perspective on the problem? Here’s one strategy that might help you. Make a list of things that are under your control and those that aren’t in your control. Very often we dwell too much on things that are not in our control and get stressed and overwhelmed. Instead focusing on things in our control is very empowering. And while doing so we may well find some solutions to deal with issues not in our control too and this could come in the form of changing our response to these.
Question: Due to this situation, I am not able to focus on anything else in my life. It is easy to say, “Just accept things as they are”, but it does not make sense to me. Please help!
Answer: Of course there may be certain aspects that you absolutely cannot do anything about. It is certainly difficult to accept things as they are and ignore issues. The best way to deal with this is to first acknowledge that the issue may be a struggle and not fight it. Just be mindful of all your emotions and remain present to them. Next ask yourself how best you can deal with the situation. It may not go away but the intensity may well get altered. Deep breathing is another way to deal with frustration. Because when we feel overwhelmed our central nervous system is on high alert to deal with ‘danger’ and rational thinking flies out of the window. So taking a few calm breaths will let your body know you are not in danger and your rational, logical part of the brain will kick in.
The next step is to be aware of your thoughts. Be an observer of your perceptions, belief systems and judgments. Because this we can certainly control. When we get a panoramic view of the problem by moving away instead of zooming in and fixating, we get a better perspective.
As Victor Frankl said – “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
So while you cannot take control of certain aspects, you can certainly take control of your worries and take action with the above strategies.
Expert: Ms Sukanya S, Consultant therapist at Columbia Asia hospital and an independent practitioner, stress management coach and content writer