Sound familiar? It’s just all too common for people now-a-days. Anxiety and stress is an epidemic that is sweeping the world because of the society that we live in. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all work 6 hrs a day 4 days a week like some countries in Europe.
But for the rest of us, we need to come up with a simple 5 step strategy for overcoming overwhelm.
5 pillars of mood & mental health
Good mood doesn’t just happen automatically but it can be learned. Why is it that some people are so resilient in a crisis situation but other people just feel crushed and want to curl up into a tiny ball so that the problem disappears.
It turns out that there are 5 aspects or pillars to put into place for good mood and healthy mental health that can help you get out of overwhelm
Below is a diagram of what supports mental health.
The 5 pillars of good mood or mental health are medicine, nutrition, exercise, mindset and beliefs (don’t close your browser because you saw the word ‘medicine’, it’s not applicable to everyone). It is a holistic way of supporting mood and mental health. Individually they are excellent at supporting mood but together form a rock-solid way of supporting mood and mental health
Let’s go step by step on how we can put together a strategy to overcome overwhelm. This strategy requires you to have a diary and journal.
5 Step Strategy for Overcoming Overwhelm
Step 1 – Improve your Nutrition
In the blog post ‘How Nutrition Improves Mood and Mental Health’, there was a list of foods that help support mental health. The first step is to write in your diary what you eat for the week. After the week is up, review it.
What do you notice about what you are eating? Are you eating lots of junk food? If you are cross it out. Replace your diet with fresh fruit, vegies and lean protein and take special attention to include some of the foods listed in the blog post on nutrition and mood and mental health. Re-write what you eat and put it in your diary. Start eating this from now on.
Step 2 – Increase Exercise
In the blog post ‘How Exercise Improves Mood and Mental Health’ we looked at all of the different exercises that you can do. Find your favourites.
Now put it in your diary and schedule time in for exercise. Include incidental exercise like taking the stairs instead of the lift.
You may not feel like exercise. But then ask yourself, how desperate are to change? If you really want to change, you’ll make it happen.
To turn exercise into a habit, you need to exercise regularly, like every day. If you have trouble doing it, start with mini-habits. Start with the very least that you can do and build up. For instance doing one push up every day. Or putting your exercise gear on to go out and walk to the end of the drive way and back again. Do it every.single.day to form the habit and as you build up and spend more time exercising, you won’t have to think about it anymore.
Step 3 – Mindset
In the blog post ‘How a Positive Mindset Improves Mood and Mental Health’, we looked at how mindset can affect mood and mental health. We looked at how to change mindset.
In your journal write out all of your negative thoughts. Then strike it out and replace it with the positive thing that you want to replace it with. In your diary write down the new thought to have as a daily reminder of what you want to think for the day.
Step 4 – Beliefs
In the blog post ‘How Beliefs Affect Mood and Mental Health’, we looked at all the negative beliefs that we have of ourselves that we formed as a child.
In your journal write out your negative beliefs. Strike them out and write ‘it is a lie’. Now write out the new beliefs that you want to have. Write the new belief as an affirmation and every night write it over and over again so that you have filled up two pages of your journal. Put the affirmation in your diary so that you have a constant reminder of the belief.
Step 5 – Medicine
Step 5 isn’t applicable for everyone. If you don’t need to take medicine that’s great. But if you are suffering from overwhelm I encourage you to speak with your Doctor. If you are taking medicine, keep taking your medicine.
There is a thought/belief-emotion link that we talked about in the blog post ‘How Beliefs Affect Mood and Mental Health’. If you get stuck in the loop it’s hard to get out. The only two ways of getting out is by tackling thought (step 3) or beliefs (step 4) or though medicine.
Other Aspects of the Strategy
There are additional steps that you can take to add to the above strategy. They are listed below.
It is so important when you are suffering from overwhelm that you spend time in self-care. Do it every day. Write down a list of ways that you self-care and make time for it by schedule it in your diary. Some self-care ideas are having a candle-lit bath or getting a massage.
Be kind to yourself
When you’re in overwhelm it’s really easy to beat yourself up. You’re so stressed out at work that you keep making mistakes. You feel like a failure and your resilience is low and you’re hard on yourself.
But do you know what? Nobody’s perfect and a month or two down the track, no one’s going to remember what you did wrong. So I want you to write in your diary: ‘Nobody’s perfect’
Find activities that make you feel good
As well as nutrition, exercise, mindset and beliefs, there’s so much that can make you feel good. Such as going to the movies, hanging out with friends or going to a nice restaurant.
Write down a list of things that make you feel good and make time for it by scheduling it in your diary.
Something else that can make you feel good is the feeling of gratitude. Be grateful of things that have happened to you. It’s so easy to get caught up in life that we do not see the good in the world. So every night in your journal write out at least two pages of all of the things that you are grateful for.
It’s common to feel overwhelmed over a problem that you are faced with. On a normal day the problem wouldn’t be an issue but because you are so overwhelmed there doesn’t seem to be a way out.
Write in your journal any problem that you have. Just write about it and how it makes you feel. Often times when you write it out the problem no longer looks that big anymore. Take that problem and write down ways that you could potential solve that problem.
You now have a strategy that you can take forward with you into the future. You now have things written in your diary and you know what to write in your journal. By having everything in one place and being able to see it every day you will eventually start rewiring the brain and making a new super highway.
You now have the simple 5 step strategy for overcoming overwhelm. It is a long term strategy that won’t happen over night but will in the long term. Things like overwhelm can’t be overcome in a few days because they are so ingrained into you. But over time the overwhelm will subside and you will have new thoughts and ideas about yourself and an increase in resilience.
This article is for reference only and does not replace medical advice. If you are suffering from anxiety or mental health issues please see your doctor.
Kristin is a NLP Practitioner and Health Coach helping people with mood and mental health. She has bipolar disorder. In the past she had an attempted suicide and two nervous breakdowns. But through technques to improve mood and control emotions she hasn’t had any symptoms of mental illness for 10 years. Now she teaches her method to other people so they can also get over overwhelm.
To work with her click here
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