When Life Feels Like Too Much To Handle, Try This

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Stress Management Techniques For When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed & Unhappy

Too much stress can make you overwhelmed and if you want to know how to be happy in life, it's time to learn how to manage it.

I’m often asked that if you make the decision to choose to be happy and follow all the strategies of living a life that feels nourishing and fulfilling, will that equate to never feeling stressed or overwhelmed again? And, honestly, the answer is no.

RELATED: What Happens To Your Body When You Ignore Stress For Too Long

Life was never meant to be perfect.

But the thing is, when you do find the path to choosing your happiness and find stress management techniques and strategies that work for you, those overwhelming moments of stress are more easily traversed, thanks to knowing the kind of action steps to take when you begin feeling out of sync.

Here are 6 steps to be happy when stress makes you feel overwhelmed.

1. Get moving

In learning how to deal with stress and feelings of overwhelm, the first action step is simple: go for a walk. It’s an approach to exercise that almost anyone can do. And there’s no equipment necessary. All you need is a decent pair of shoes and somewhere safe to take a stroll. This can be around the block, at the mall, or on a treadmill somewhere.

Our thoughts often shift us from managing things smoothly to feeling overwhelmed. So, by moving your body, you’re forcing yourself out of your head and into your body. There’s also something especially grounding about putting feet to the pavement, as if you’re sending those frustrations into Mother Earth.

2. Go to the page

Taking pen to paper is one of the action steps to take to deal with feeling overwhelmed. And the best way to deal with those thoughts and emotions is to go to gratitude. Your hand and brain seal the message with your soul that, even on the worst of days, there is goodness in your world.

In a small notebook or on a stack of index cards, simply write down three to five things you are grateful for. Do this every day, so that it becomes a habit — kind of like a stop, drop, and write moment.

I won’t go into the science of it here in this blog post, just know that gratitude will rewire the way your brain processes your thoughts. To make science work for you, do this daily as a morning or evening routine. Do this as a practice and see it as a ritual — a sacred act for your own soul.

3. Take it to the mat

There’s a reason why mediation is a hot topic when talking about managing stress. That’s because it works. Scientists have found that folks who meditate regularly have lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

Meditation is one of the best action steps to take to deal with feeling overwhelmed. You can do this by sitting and breathing or downloading an app. And, when you make meditation a part of your life as a regular practice? It can help you better control how you respond to stress. That means you will feel overwhelmed less often.

RELATED: How To Make It Through The Day (And Life) When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

4. Make a coffee date

Sometimes the best solution to feeling overwhelmed is to spend time with others. So, when you are feeling overwhelmed, one of the best action steps to take is to call a friend and set up a coffee or lunch date.

Yes, I know you’re busy. And, yes, I know it can feel challenging to coordinate schedules with your friends, who are likely just as busy as you.

However, when you feel overwhelmed, is there anything that sounds better than having a good laugh? And sharing tales of the day with someone you trust? So, text your BFF and schedule that time stat!

5. Plan something fun to look forward to

One of the best books I read last year was Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam. In her research, she found that planning something you are looking forward to doing or experiencing allowed the anticipation — and pleasure — to build. Sometimes, even more than actually having the experience.

So, when you are feeling overwhelmed, another one of the action steps to take is to plan something fun. Maybe you can’t take a vacation right away, but you can plan your next vacation. Or purchase a ticket online to that movie you really want to see next week. Or even plan a nice dinner after work tonight.

This also allows you to focus on something else, not just what’s causing you to feel overwhelmed right this moment.

6. Crack your own code by brainstorming a list

It’s hard to deal with feeling stressed or overwhelmed often because sometimes the feeling just happens upon us. One of the best action steps to take is to prepare yourself before it happens. So, rather than waiting when overwhelm arrives, take some time to brainstorm a list of what helps when you’re feeling calm and relaxed.

This is cracking your own code because, the thing is, my darling, you know yourself best.

The next time you feel overwhelmed or totally stressed out, you’ll have go-to actions to take.

When you take action, it helps you move out of your head (and swirling thoughts) and into your body.

Darling, you can find the path to loving your life. And, know that the moments of feeling stressed out and overwhelmed don’t mean that you’re screwing up. It simply is the reminder that you are a human being having a very human experience.

By knowing some action steps you can take, then, my dear, that allows you to have more better days than bad days.

RELATED: How To Totally Master The Art Of Being Happy In 6 Steps (Or Less!)

Debra Smouse is a life coach and author who has been published in Time, Huffington Post, MSN, Psychology Today, and more. She knows that the path to loving your life begins with an uncluttered mind. Snag a free workbook with life hacks on how to love YOUR life.

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This article was originally published at Debra Smouse.Com. Reprinted with permission from the author.