In today’s world, we are expected to juggle careers, family life, and finances without batting an eye.
There’s so much pressure to climb the corporate ladder and bring home big paychecks (both men and women) while also baking the perfect Pinterest treats and ensuring our children are straight A students.
It’s no wonder people fall victim to the feeling of constant overwhelm.
But, what is it that causes overwhelm, exactly? And, what do you need to do to get rid of that feeling?
Today I want to take a look at what overwhelm is from a medical perspective.
It’s my hope that, after reading this blog, you’ll have a better understanding of why feelings of overwhelm occur, and what you can do to get rid of them.
Let’s jump right in…
What Is Overwhelm: A Medical Perspective
We all know what overwhelm feels like. But, what actually causes it?
In order to understand where this feeling comes from, we need to take a deeper look at the body.
You see, contrary to popular belief, the feeling of overwhelm (stress and anxiety, too!) doesn’t originate in the brain.
It actually begins in our organs with a process known as interoception!
According to Understood.org…
“Just as there are receptors in your muscles and joints, there are also receptors inside your organs, including your skin. These receptors send information about the inside of your body to your brain. This helps regulate our vital functions like body temperature, hunger, thirst, digestion and heart rate.
Interoception helps you understand and feel what’s going on inside your body. For instance, you know if your heart is beating fast or if you need to breathe more deeply. You’re able to tell if you need to use the bathroom. You know if you’re hungry, full, hot, cold, thirsty, nauseated, itchy or ticklish.”
It’s this process that allows us to perceive physical feelings from our bodies, which determines our mood.
When you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, motor nerve fibers relay commands from your brain all the way to your gut.
These signals cause sensations in your body as they communicate with your central nervous system.
The central nervous system is then what ultimately causes your body to stress, have anxiety or panic, or feel overwhelmed.
Surprised to discover that your intestines are actually what controls a lot of your emotions?
I know, it sounds crazy. But, it’s 100% true.
And believe it or not, it’s actually a good thing that our gut is ultimately in charge, as it’s much easier to manage and heal than our actual brain.
So, what do you need to do to alleviate the feeling of overwhelm? Here’s what I recommend…
Start with Healing Your Gut
As we just discussed, feelings of overwhelm begin in your gut.
For that reason, it’s important that you pay attention to your gut health in order to protect your body from unusual amounts of stress, anxiety, or overwhelm.
One of the best ways to do this is by eating a gut-friendly diet.
Taking a probiotic is also a good idea for maintaining gut health.
The feeling of overwhelm might originate in your gut, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to take care of your mental health.
Daily meditation is a great way to relax and destress.
Simply taking 15 minutes a day to clear your mind and refocus is so important for the body.
There are many ways you can meditate. I personally recommend…
- Setting aside 15 minutes of quiet time for yourself in the morning.
- Implementing daily prayer time into your day if you’re religious.
- Giving yoga a try.
- Taking a quiet nature walk.
- Sitting in a hot bath.
Take a Load off Your Plate
A lot of times, we create our own overwhelm.
The solution: consciously make a decision about what you can take off your plate that causes you stress.
For instance, does Suzy really need Pinterest-inspired desserts to be made for her classroom event? Or will store-bought cookies work just fine?
Or, do you really need to eat a gourmet meal every night? Or can your family live with eating a salad, a bowl of cereal, or some mac-n-cheese one night?
Give yourself permission to get rid of the things in life that are causing you overwhelm.
Sleep is also an important part of resting your body and getting rid of overwhelm. If you’re struggling with sleeping at night, I recommend you try out these 3 natural herbal teas to naturally help you get more rest.