Modern life can be challenging at times. While it has created possibilities that were never available to previous generations, it has also created a new set of challenges that our elders never had. There are multitudes of options for almost anything that you want to have or what you might want to do. Then there is social media which is constantly showing us what we are missing in life. This creates a disturbing feeling of confusion and decision-making fatigue. You are constantly entangled in the game of “catching up”. When this fatigue reaches its peak because of some challenging life situation, most of us start “Feeling lost”. This is one of the most common emotions when you are feeling overwhelmed with life.
When you are feeling stuck or anxious like this, you have a tool that can almost instantly transform your emotionally muddy waters into a beautiful clean waterfront! We call this tool the “Q Dimension”. In simple words, it is time for you to turn to some important questions which can instantly give you direction and next steps to overcome overwhelm.
What kind of questions do people ask themselves when feeling overwhelmed?
Remember what your mind was thinking about when you were feeling overwhelmed the last time. Usually, the questions are like …
“What have I done wrong?”
“Why is this happening to me?”
“Have I made all the wrong choices in my life?”
These or other similar questions cloud your mind when you are feeling stuck or lost. They create a narrative of failure in your mind. We call these the “self-defeating questions” or the “disabling questions“.
If this is happening to you, first thing is to take a few deep breaths. Get yourself away, even if for a few minutes, from the gadgets and the rush around you. If possible even do a few powerful affirmations. Once the mind is a little calm, it is time to think about some of the following powerful questions.
16 Powerful Questions to ask when Overwhelmed with Life
1. Why am I getting so overwhelmed?
For you to be able to think about all the next questions that we will cover, this question is the starting point.
This question may point you in the right direction. It may lead you to the root cause of your overwhelm.
This question, in a way, makes you accept that you are overwhelmed. Just the acceptance of your feelings can dramatically improve your control on them. It has a calming effect on you.
You may also extend the question to – “Why am I getting so overwhelmed now?”
This can take your attention to the trigger events that may have caused your anxiety. Most of the time these are events that deeply disturb your inner core. Events like some sudden loss or some things which you deeply expect to happen in a specific way, happening in completely another way. You get the drift .. now just follow this direction.
2. Do I really have a lot on my plate or is it just my feeling?
Overwhelm can happen because of 2 reasons. You need to think about which one is true. One reason is when you have too much work or responsibilities to handle. And the other is you simply getting a feeling that you have too many things to handle.
When you have a lot on your plate, you need to start prioritizing. You need to think of systems and processes that you need to establish so that you can handle your workload smoothly. There is a lot written about the topic of productivity on the internet. Some intelligent searches can quickly bring you the starting points you need.
However, if your overwhelm is only because of you “feeling” that you have a lot to handle, then it is an emotional issue. This happens mostly because of a lack of emotional clarity. If that is the case, here are 15 things you can do to overcome your emotional overwhelm.
3. What are the top 2 or 3 things that are contributing to 80% of my overwhelm?
When worried or anxious, anything that you think about tends to create some more anxiety. However, in reality, the situation may be far less difficult. So, this is a very important question to ask yourself. Asking this takes your attention to the things that are really bothering you.
Whenever you are anxious or worried or stressed out, if you think calmly, you will realize that it is just 1 or 2 issues that create your overwhelm. They cloud your thinking. They paint a negative picture of the situation which otherwise maybe not be so bad.
Once you are able to identify your top 2 or 3 concerns, you will be in a much better position to handle them.
One other way to ask the same question is to ask – “What is the biggest challenge in my life as of now?”
4. Which 2 or 3 things, if removed, can make my life far more easy?
When you are overwhelmed you are generally trying to do many things at once. It destabilizes you since you seem to do so much but are not getting anywhere.
If you look closely, this means your prioritization is not done correctly. So one of the ways to start prioritizing is to think about 2 or 3 things that you can get rid of from your responsibilities or activities.
The question that you want to think about is – will removing those things take away a substantial burden on your mind and help you focus on things that are more important?
Once you identify these things, there will be 2 possibilities. The first possibility is that you will realize that those things did not really matter that much to you. The second possibility is, you will find a way to outsource those things if they still seem important. Finally, you will be in must strong position of control over your life and work.
5. What are the top 2 or 3 most important things for me right now?
This one is straight and simple. And it is one of the most important questions to ponder upon too!
Answering this will suddenly help you become clear about your top priorities. It will show you what is most important. It will clarify what matters most to you.
Being clear on your top priorities paves the way to you being able to act. It gives your next steps while overcoming your overwhelm.
6. What can I control now?
Often during our confusion and anxiety, we tend to control those things which are in essence outside our reach.
These are things we simply cannot control. Things like the behavior of others around us, the weather, the challenges that come our way, and the things not happening the way you want.
The more you try to control them, the more anxious you will become. The final result is almost always a big failure.
Smart people always focus the most on the things they “can” control!
These are the things like your emotions, your skills, your behavior, your resources – overall your mind, body, and your response to what you face.
When you focus on things you can control, suddenly you will find what you can do. This tends to take down your stress levels measurably.
7. What can I do next?
This question is the sequel to the previous question we discussed.
When you think about what you can do next, you will think about things you can control in an overwhelming situation.
One big advantage of asking this question is, you will instantly become a lot more positive. Now your focus is shifted from all the things going wrong to all the possibilities you have.
Handling overwhelm is for the most part a mind game! And this article is to help you win it 🙂
8. Is there anyone whom I can speak with about this?
Feeling lonely is one of the common effects of overwhelm. You tend to feel like a loser. Or you may find it hard to think clearly by yourself.
Whatever the case may be, the best way out is to have a word with someone you trust.
Each one of us has someone we can go to, without getting the feeling of being judged. All of us have someone who understands us deeply. So why worry about what they will think about you if you share your challenge with them? Social connection is “the medicine” you need right now.
Remember, all of us have or will face these kinds of situations in our life. To be vulnerable is natural and in many ways good for us too.
If you are in doubt, listen to this Ted Talk!
9. Is this worry helping me now?
This is a simple one and still very insightful.
When overwhelmed we tend to worry more. We tend to worry about the things that don’t matter much to us.
Our energy levels go down. Our willpower gets a hit. We become more instinctive and tend to have jerky responses. This can create even more unwanted situations.
If you want to stop this negative spiral, just ask yourself – is this worry helping me or hurting me?
It stops your wild ride of emotional swings. Brings awareness and most of the time you will find that you quickly need to change your focus, from your worry to what you can do!
10. What can I do now to take control of my emotions in this state?
Taking the control of your emotions is almost always the first step when overwhelmed.
Here is a classic mistake that most of us do when faced with this situation.
We tend to try and control our mind – with – our mind! Just think about this carefully. When overwhelmed, your mind gets somewhat out of your control. Now this same thing you are trying to use to control itself!
This leads to us creating loads of unnecessary extras stress.
Here is a secret for you:
When you want to control your mind, Use your body!NeedleMover.me
It is proven in medical sciences multiple times that when you control your body you tend to get control over your mind.
Ancient practices of yoga, pranayama, and meditations come from this realization.
So when confronted with anxiety, they are the best tools to gain control.
11. If my friend is facing this, what will I tell him?
Imagine if what you are facing happened to your friend. Now, what will you say to him? What will you think about him? What according to you should he do?
When you think like this, suddenly the burden of self-expectations and imagination is off!
Now your mind is directed to think about the right perspective and potential solution to your situation.
This is what we call being “third party” to your own self! Try this and experience its magic.
12. Are my problems temporary or long-term?
Overwhelm can happen because of short-term situations or long-term issues.
Short-term and long-term issues need to be dealt with differently. If it is a short-term issue, you may be able to even bypass it. You may be able to do what Indians famously call “jugaad“. But those are temporary solutions. Those are quick fixes.
If the problem is long-term, then you need to carefully get to the root of it. Something fundamental has gone wrong and needs to be fixed. You need to accept first that it will not have an immediate solution. But that does not mean it has no solution! All you need is self-belief. And you need to think carefully about your blessings so that you can gather the energy and motivation that you will need for the long term.
This will bring the necessary clarity to your dilemma.
13. What are the things I will love doing even if I am not paid for the same?
This question helps you become crystal clear about your priorities.
As we discussed in the 5th question, knowing what matters to you most is the starting point of bringing clarity to your life.
Overwhelm many times happens because of unclear priorities. We are racing in multiple directions at once. Our energies are getting wasted on the things that don’t necessarily matter to us.
So figure out your calling or what you deeply seek!
14. Is achieving 80% of what I want, good enough for me?
This question is for those who are driven to achieve perfection. Being a perfectionist can cause inaction and stress. If you want everything to happen to perfection, it is a problem for 2 reasons.
One – perfection is simply an idea of an individual. If you talk to 5 different people you will find 5 different views on perfection in any activity or endeavor. So you may be unnecessarily spending your energy and resources even when what mattered has been achieved already!
Secondly, perfection poses a challenge for you. Perfection is generally the highest degree or level of achievement that is there in doing a specific thing for you. This means it will stretch you every time you want to achieve it. Now think carefully – if you want to achieve perfection in anything you do, what will happen to you? How much stress will you create in your mind even before you start doing anything? How much the thought of not achieving your perfection will always make you stop even before you start?
The emotional need for perfection is usually linked with procrastination or analysis paralysis.
That said, if you think of 80% of your desired results, it is quite possible that they are good enough to take you ahead in your life or profession. What if you completed 80 squats instead of 100? Is that good enough?
Ask the same question about anything you wish to do or achieve.
15. What are the things I can say “no” to?
Simple things like social media browsing or other such distraction may be hampering your quality of life or performance dramatically.
If you are unsure, just try staying away from some of these distractions for a day or 2. See how you feel and how you do things.
Most of us have found our quality of life or work improves when we do that. It brings focus and much-needed concentration.
So this question is to figure out our dangerous distractions!
Don’t forget – If you are overwhelmed, it means you want to do more and somehow you are unable to do it!
16. Am I the only one facing this?
This one is an enabling question. It makes us look around. It makes us explore if there are others who have faced similar challenges.
The biggest insight it tends to give us – nothing that we face is really that different from what others have faced.
This gives us a sense of relief. This helps us connect. This helps us forgive ourselves. And this brings calmness.
In conclusion, when you feel overwhelmed with life, go to the questions that enable you! If you want to explore more check out these articles.
1. 15 Strong signs showing you are feeling overwhelmed with life
2. Feeling overwhelmed with life? Learn the powerful “Game of Steps”