How to Manage When We Feel Overwhelmed

A woman swims in the sea at dusk

When you experience emotional overwhelm, it can feel all-consuming. For the many people who will face this feeling at some point in their lives, it entails being completely overcome by an intense and unruly emotion that something is too challenging to manage and overcome.

When confronted with this feeling, it can be difficult to think and act rationally, and even function in a normal way. Needless to say, the experience of being overwhelmed is uncomfortable and the causes can span across your personal and professional life.

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Should You Schedule Your Anxiety?

I am a worrier. I fret over little things, like my never-ending to-do list, and over big things, like whether global warming will render the earth uninhabitable for my grandchildren.

I worry at night before bed. I worry while washing the breakfast dishes. I worry when things in my life are stressful — and when they aren’t stressful, I brace myself, expecting the worst to transpire at any minute.

I’ve always been this way, and I’ve grown to accept that this is just who I am, for better or worse. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy being someone who worries like this.

Too much anxiety is not healthy for anyone, especially when it takes over your life, or makes you unable to function. Anxiety can also take a huge toll on your physical health, resulting in symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, respiratory disorders, and even heart disease.

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Why Feedback Makes Us Anxious

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For some, the end of the year is a dreaded time — performance review season. Even if you don’t work in a professional setting that holds annual reviews, you know your aunt will have some feedback about how you’re living your life at an upcoming holiday gathering.

And receiving that kind of criticism — good or bad — can make you anxious.

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Why Pursuing Your Passions Can Increase Anxiety

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We all know truly passionate people in our lives. They’re the ones who fully embrace their calling, vocation, or dream and pursue it daily with a mixture of enthusiasm and discipline. There’s the all-star athlete who balances a rigorous training, practice, and game schedule. Or the food blogger who carves out time late after the kids have gone to bed to dive into recipe preparation, writing, and photo editing. And there’s the activist who’s passionate about helping others and logs long hours at a homeless shelter after a full day at the office.

When we’re passionate about an activity, cause, or talent, we’ll do whatever it takes to devote ourselves fully to it, which is exactly why the admirable work of pursuing our passions can slowly ramp up symptoms of anxiety.

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What’s It Like to Lose Someone to Suicide?

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My adult life could be easily divided into two very distinct segments: BAD (before Adam died) and AAD (after Adam died). To anyone who doesn’t know me or Adam, that may sound a bit dramatic; I was only 24 when he died, which is a very early age to have your life virtually divided in half. But his death had a profound effect on me.

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Can Anxiety Make You Depressed (or Vice Versa)?

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Anxiety and depression are intricately linked, which is why the same types of therapy and the same classes of medications are often used to treat both disorders.

In my practice, I have noticed that many clients that have self-diagnosed as depressed are actually experiencing anxiety. Similarly, many clients who identify as anxious are often depressed. Here, I will explain the connections between anxiety and depression, and why one can lead to the other.

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Why Are We So Afraid to Feel Happy?

A woman with smeared eye makeup holds a piece of paper with a smile on it in front of her face

Many people struggle with the fear of success, fear of closeness, or fear of happiness. Let’s say your father suffered from depression and ranted about the workplace being a dog-eat-dog environment where everyone has to watch his back.

As a child, you, like all kids, want to think of your father as intelligent and perceptive. You listened to him and thought that his worldview made sense. Even if you later realized, as an adult, that your father was a very negative and depressed person, his impact on your own worldview may be very difficult to change.

Although it isn’t rational, many people subconsciously steer themselves away from experiences where they feel good about themselves, or where they end up feeling happy. But why is this and what can you do about it?

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How Childhood Attachment Styles Influence Your Adult Relationships

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If you have noticed that your intimate relationships have been stressful or unfulfilling, it might be time to think about your attachment style. Attachment style derives from your earliest experiences with your parents.

Knowing the effects these parenting styles have on you as a child helps you better understand the roots of potential relationship issues, and where to begin when addressing these issues — whether on your own, or with the help of a therapist.

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