Loving Yourself When Feeling Overwhelmed

woman facing backward sits alone on rock beside green grass looking at river
by Dr. Margaret Paul

In our stressful society, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to feel inundated with all we need to do and besieged when too much is coming at us at once.

It’s my experience that overwhelm comes from two different places:

  • If you are a highly sensitive person — which means that your nervous system is more sensitive to stimuli than about 85% of the population — it’s fairly easy to feel overwhelmed. Being highly sensitive is something you are born with and not something you can change. High sensitivity is a wonderful gift, but it can also be quite challenging. To learn more about whether you are a highly sensitive person, you might want to read Elaine Aron’s books on high sensitivity, or take her HSP test, which is available on her website. People who are highly sensitive frequently have a very hard time when too much is happening at once. When this is happening for me, even if the things that are happening are wonderful and exciting, my nervous system gets frazzled. I need to stop and breathe and attend to one thing at a time.
  • If your wounded self is in charge rather than your loving adult, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Our wounded self can’t manage to deal with the stress of life, so without a loving adult in charge, we can feel immobilized by what life throws at us. This would be like expecting a child or adolescent to manage the big challenges of life.

What does your wounded self say to you when a lot is coming at you at once?

  • There’s not enough time — I’ll never get this done.
  • I’ll never get caught up.
  • Why even bother — this is too much for anyone.
  • Why do things always end up being my responsibility?
  • This is making me too tired — I just can’t do it.

And it’s true — the wounded self can’t do it.


The Loving Adult Can Do It…

I cannot manage the stresses of life without being connected with my spiritual Guidance. It’s my Guidance who helps me to stay calm and centered in the midst of my nervous system feeling overloaded and in the face of the bigger challenges of life.

In order to feel safe, my inner child needs to know that she can count on me as a loving adult to show up in challenging situations. She now knows she can count on me because I’ve practiced and practiced for the 10,000 hours it takes to get really good at something!

Loving yourself when feeling overwhelmed takes a lot of practice. The more you practice Inner Bonding and develop the neural pathways for your loving adult, the easier it will be for you to show up as a spiritually connected loving adult in the face of overwhelming and challenging situations.

It is unrealistic to expect yourself to be able to manage the big stresses of life without having developed your spiritually connected loving adult self. Just as a baby or toddler needs a loving parent to help regulate their feelings, so we need our loving adult to regulate ours.

The more you practice Inner Bonding in your everyday life when things are not overwhelming, the easier time you will have managing situations when you feel besieged by life. Maintaining your centre and equanimity in the face of stressful situations IS possible, but not without the practice to develop your loving adult who can access spiritual help at the moment you are being challenged.

As you practice Inner Bonding, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to manage the stresses of life without feeling too overwhelmed.

To learn more about stress see: Discovering Self-Love

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3 thoughts on “Loving Yourself When Feeling Overwhelmed”

  1. Deborah Fairfull
    Deborah Fairfull

    Thankyou Margaret for sharing such an insightful article about dealing with feeling overwhelmed. Something that we can all experience from time to time. A beautiful message in how to feel calm and centred when dealing with life’s inevitable challenges.

  2. Rhea Kohli

    I think everyone should read this article. It is something we all forget to do and it’s really important to stop and re-evaluate how we see ourselves and the world. Thanks for sharing!

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