#47: Stress and Overwhelm

Today, we continue improving our emotional granularity (or ability to correctly identify emotions) using Brene Brown's book "Atlas of the Heart." And, since emotions aren't inherently "good or bad," we take a look at what the feelings can be telling us. The focus of todays episode is stress vs overwhelm

Using Brene's example from working in a restaurant, stress is when you're "in the weeds." It's when your environmental requirements are felt to be beyond your ability to cope well. And it's all your perception. The solution can rely on thinking still: changing perception and/or delegating tasks.

Overwhelm is when "you're blown." It's when you are at the point when you're not thinking well and unable to come up with a solid plan. It's when you're feeling unable to function. The solution here, from Jon Kabat Zinn, is some non-doing time- letting the brain rest or engage in play for a period of time. And then, after the disconnect, it's go time.

Best Health has a useful process:

  • Capture it - write down every task you can think of.
  • Chunk it - group your tasks and to-dos into larger chunks (helps you see more clearly).
  • Choose it - start with activities that strengthen you, that you’re looking forward to. Just pick SOMETHING to start with.
  • Take action - Just begin. Action is the antidote to overwhelm. Just starting can reduce anxiety.
  • Focus - stay in the moment rather than getting swept up in the rest.


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