It's easy to feel like you're facing your struggles alone sometimes, but the truth is, the vast majority of us British people are sharing similar experiences right now to a greater or lesser extent, no matter how different our individual circumstances may be.
Anyone who is struggling right now, whether it is with mental health, physical health issues, financial hardship, or doubts about their career path, can find hope and strength in the midst of the difficult times that life can bring.
In this guide, you will discover a range of tips and advice that can help anyone feeling overwhelmed by life experience find support and guidance as they embark on their own journey of personal growth and healing.
We'll cover topics such as developing confidence during uncertainty, gaining clarity through self-reflection, finding an outlet for stress relief, regaining clarity in the face of adversity, and learning how to stay positive when all seems bleak. So if you’re looking for inspiration or reassurance at a time when it’s needed most, you’ve come to the right place!
Acknowledge Your Struggles
The first step in overcoming any challenge is to acknowledge it.
Recognizing your struggles is a form of self-compassion and can help you better understand what you are dealing with. By acknowledging that something is difficult or overwhelming, you can begin to look at the situation more objectively and come up with strategies to tackle it before it becomes a chronic health condition.
1. Understand your struggles and feelings
One of the most important steps in overcoming any challenge is to understand your struggles and feelings. This can be done by identifying what you are feeling and why.
It’s also helpful to take a few moments to reflect on the situation and try to pinpoint any potential causes of your stress or overwhelm. Once you have identified the source of your struggle, it will be easier for you to come up with solutions.
2. Having a challenge does not mean you are weak or broken
Having a challenge or feeling overwhelmed does not mean you are weak or broken.
It simply means that you are human and capable of experiencing difficult emotions. Everyone is unique, and it is important to recognise that our struggles do not define us as bad people. Instead, they are an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and develop greater resilience for dealing with tough times.
It’s okay to feel scared, anxious, or overwhelmed. It’s a normal part of life, and it’s important to remember that there is always hope and strength within us, even in the darkest moments.
3. Identify any patterns in situations that evoke these difficulties
When we experience overwhelming feelings and struggles, it can be helpful to identify any patterns in the situations that evoke these difficulties. By recognising the circumstances that bring on our stress or feelings of anxiety, we can begin to work towards solutions and gain more control over our reactions.
For example, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed when faced with a certain task or project, ask yourself, "What is making this task so difficult?" Is there something I can do to make it easier?
4. Accept what you can and cannot change
It is important to accept that there are certain aspects of everyday life which are beyond our control, such as energy bills, the rate of inflation, debt burden, and the cost of food.
While it can be difficult to accept this fact, it is important to remember that we cannot always change the situation and must instead focus on what we can control. This could include finding ways to reduce costs in other areas or managing our time more effectively in order to make progress on tasks.
By recognising which aspects of the situation are within your power and which are not, you can focus on what you can do while accepting the rest.
This will help you manage your emotions and move forward in a more positive and productive way.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to acknowledge your struggles, let's dive into identifying your triggers.
Identifying your triggers
Triggers are the people, places, or things that cause us to feel overwhelmed and out of control.
By recognising our triggers and understanding how we react to them, we can implement coping mechanisms in the interim and then begin to take back control of our lives and manage our emotions more effectively.
5. Observe what impacts your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
Observing the impact of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour is an important part of understanding ourselves. It helps us identify patterns, recognise triggers, and take back control of our emotions.
When we observe the way that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour interacts with each other, we can begin to see how certain situations or events can cause us to feel overwhelmed or out of control.
A great tool for observing our thoughts and feelings is a journal. Here at OCCO London, we have developed the Morning Mindset Journal to help you reduce feelings of overwhelm and create greater clarity so you can be more successful.
6. Gather information on your triggers and struggles
Gathering information on your triggers and struggles is an important part of understanding and managing your emotions. It is helpful to ask yourself questions such as: "What situations cause me the most stress?" How do I usually react to these situations? Is there something I can do to help reduce my stress?
Having a better understanding of your triggers can also be beneficial if you are seeking professional support.
Internal (thoughts, feelings)
Our thoughts and feelings can have a powerful impact on how we approach situations that may cause us to feel overwhelmed. It is vital to take the time to acknowledge our internal struggles and process our emotions in order to better manage them.
By becoming aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can begin to recognize patterns and triggers. We can also gain insight into what we need in order to cope and thrive.
External (situations, people)
External situations and people can often trigger overwhelming feelings. It is important to recognise what external factors may be contributing to our struggles and take steps to reduce their impact.
Some of the most common triggers currently include the cost of energy, food prices, electricity bills, and inflationary pressures.
For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed with keeping up with rising costs as many British people currently are, then it will be helpful to research ways to reduce your bills, such as switching energy suppliers, increasing the energy efficiency of your home, and looking for more affordable food options.
Once you have identified your triggers and made various changes, you might find you still need some strategies to help you cope with your struggles while things change and fall into place. Have a look below at some strategies to help you cope with your struggles.
Discover Solutions to Your Problems
Finding strategies to cope with our struggles can help us manage the overwhelming feelings and take back control of our lives. There are many different strategies out there, which we will cover below.
7. Strategies for managing difficult situations
Managing difficult situations can be a challenge, but there are strategies you can use to help cope with your struggles and feelings of overwhelm. Here are some examples of strategies to help manage difficult moments:
Remove yourself from the situation.
One of the most effective ways to manage a difficult situation is to remove yourself. This can help you gain perspective, clear your head, and reduce any feelings of stress or overwhelm.
If possible, take a few moments away from the situation to take some deep breaths, go for a walk, or even just step outside for some fresh air.
Focus on your breath.
Taking the time to concentrate on your breathing can be beneficial in terms of reducing a sense of being overwhelmed and aiding in the management of anxiety. Deep breathing may also be useful for calming both your mind and body; therefore, taking the time to centre on your breath while feeling stressed might be worth considering.
Try to focus on the sensation of air entering and exiting your body as you inhale and exhale slowly.
Another helpful technique is to count your breaths, which can help keep you grounded in the present moment.
Create an invisible barrier.
This technique involves picturing or imagining an invisible wall between yourself and the source of your struggles, helping you to distance yourself from the situation and create a sense of protection.
This technique can also help create a sense of calm and clarity, as it gives you a moment to pause, reflect, and take back control.
Remind yourself that everything will be fine.
Reminding yourself that things will be okay can be an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to managing overwhelming emotions. When we feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotions and forget that this too shall pass.
When you find yourself in a difficult situation or feeling overwhelmed, try to take a step back and remember that this is only temporary. Remind yourself that you will get through this and come out stronger on the other side.
8. Practical skills such as stress management and emotional regulation tools
Stress management and emotional regulation skills are essential tools to help us maintain our emotional health and cope with feelings of overwhelm.
These practical skills can equip us with the necessary tools to better manage our emotions and navigate difficult situations in a healthy way. By taking the time to practise these skills, we can gain more control over our thoughts, feelings, and reactions in challenging moments.
Here are some examples of practical skills for stress management and emotional regulation:
Mindfulness meditation is a great way to bring yourself back into the present moment and reduce feelings of overwhelm.
Mindfulness can help us become aware of our thoughts and feelings without judging them, allowing us to observe them instead of getting caught up in them. Taking some time out for mindfulness practise each day can also help to increase your self-awareness and build resilience.
Cognitive restructuring is a technique that can help us identify and challenge negative or irrational thoughts. It involves examining our thought patterns and challenging any unhelpful beliefs or assumptions we may have about ourselves or the situation.
By doing this, we can gain greater insight into our emotions and behaviour, which can in turn help us manage our feelings of overwhelm more effectively.
Deep breathing is another powerful tool for managing feelings of overwhelm.
Deep breathing helps to relax our bodies and minds, allowing us to slow down and gain a sense of control. It can also help to reduce tension and stress, which in turn can help us better cope with difficult moments. When feeling overwhelmed, take some time out to focus on your breath and practise deep breathing.
One of the most important things we can do in times of struggle and overwhelm is to prioritise taking care of ourselves.
Self-care doesn't have to be complicated; it can be as simple as taking a few minutes each day to focus on your own wellbeing. This could involve engaging in activities such as yoga or spending time outdoors, listening to music, journaling, or anything else that helps you to relax and unwind.
Self-care is an important practice for managing feelings of overwhelm and staying resilient in difficult times.
Take time for reflection and planning
When feeling overwhelmed, it is good to take some time out to reflect on your experiences and plan ahead. This can help you gain greater insight into the source of your struggles as well as work out how to best move forward.
Try taking a few minutes each day to reflect on your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours in order to gain a better understanding of yourself and the situation. Then, use this insight to create a plan of action for how you can move forward in a positive way. A tool that is very helpful for doing this is the Morning Mindset Journal; it's worth checking it out!
9. Seek help
It is important to remember that you don't have to face overwhelming feelings and struggles alone, whether that's providing a warm space for your family or simply keeping up with the regular costs of living.
There are many different types of non-professional and professional help available that can provide you with the support and guidance needed to navigate difficult times.
Family can be a great source of support during times of overwhelm and struggle. They can provide practical help, such as helping out with tasks, or emotional support.
It is important to remember that family members are often more than willing to help, so don't be afraid to ask for assistance. However, please keep in mind that it is acceptable to take time away from family if necessary, as being around some people when feeling overwhelmed can be difficult.
Friends can be an invaluable source of support during times of overwhelm. They provide a listening ear, emotional understanding, and practical help. Friends can also provide a much-needed distraction from overwhelming feelings and struggles by engaging in fun activities, such as playing sports or going out for coffee.
General practitioner (GP)
A general practitioner (GP) is a doctor who provides primary health care and who is usually the first port of call when seeking medical advice or treatment.
GPs can provide help with managing mental health issues such as overwhelm, stress, and anxiety and can refer you to other specialists if necessary. They can also provide advice on lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise that may improve your wellbeing.
Often known as mental health services, therapy and counselling can provide a safe and confidential space in which to explore and process overwhelming emotions, thoughts, and behaviours.
Therapists and counsellors work with people who are having a little wobble through to people battling more serious mental health conditions. They can provide guidance and strategies to help you manage your struggles more effectively, along with simply a safe space to have a chat.
If needed, they can also refer you to other services such as support groups or medical professionals.
Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of strategies to help cope with your struggles, let's look at how you will be able to move forward and develop a new perspective on these challenges that once held you back.
Develop new perspectives on life's challenges
Developing a new perspective on life's challenges can be incredibly empowering and is the best way to move forward.
We have outlined below some ways for you to develop new perspectives and move forward.
10. Explore alternate ways of thinking about and responding to struggles
Exploring alternate ways of thinking and responding to struggles is a key step in developing new perspectives on life's challenges.
When feeling overwhelmed, it can be easy to become stuck in the same negative thought patterns and responses. Instead, taking time out to explore different ways of thinking and responding can help you gain a new perspective on your struggles.
For example, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by a certain situation, try to take a step back and ask yourself how you could view the situation differently. Alternatively, you could find mental health content on the likes of Instagram that can help prompt different thoughts that you otherwise wouldn't have thought of.
11. Identify what is within your control
It is important to remember that not all struggles are within our control, but we can always choose how we respond to them.
Identifying what is within your control can help you focus on the things that you can do to manage and cope with your struggles, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the things that are beyond your control.
12. Make use of books and articles written by people with similar experience
Reading books and articles written by people who have experienced similar struggles can be hugely beneficial. Not only do these provide practical tips, but they also provide comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your struggles.
Books, blogs, and articles written by people with lived experience can help to normalise difficult feelings and experiences, validate our own emotions and experiences, and provide a source of inspiration to help you move forward to a happier and healthy space.
13. Connect with online communities
Connecting with an online community about health can be a great resource for getting in touch with people who are going through similar struggles, which in turn can be incredibly beneficial.
It can provide an outlet to express yourself and your feelings, as well as the opportunity to gain advice and support from those who understand what you’re going through. Moreover, these online communities can provide a sense of solidarity knowing that you are not alone in your struggles.
Frequently Asked Questions
After reading through the above, you may still have questions. Here, we’ve answered both simple and complex queries regarding this topic to help ensure you feel supported. Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about this issue:
What can I do when the pressure of life feels too much?
When the pressure of life feels too much, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that there is help available. It can be helpful to take time for yourself and do something calming such as taking a walk, reading, meditating, or doing yoga.
Talking to someone about your feelings can also help—either a friend, family member or a professional. Identifying what is within your control and focusing on the things that you can do to manage and cope with your struggles can also be beneficial.
How can I practise self-care during times of stress and overwhelm?
Practising self-care during times of stress and overwhelm is essential. Self-care can take many forms, but some key activities to consider are:
• Eating healthy and nutritious meals
• exercising regularly
• Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation
• spending time in nature
• setting aside time for hobbies and leisure activities
• spending time with friends and family
• Taking breaks from work or school if needed
These are just a few, and you may enjoy some of them more than others, which is fine. It's simply what works best for you and what you need.
What is a healthy way to talk to me in tough moments?
Talking to yourself in a healthy and constructive way is key to managing tough moments.
We may not always be able to change our circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them. It is important to approach yourself with kindness and understanding rather than self-criticism or judgement.
When faced with difficult situations, it can be helpful to take a step back and ask yourself, "What can I do to manage this?" or "What can I learn from this experience?"
This helps you shift your focus to the things you can change rather than dwelling on the things you can't. Practising self-care and seeking support when needed can also be beneficial in challenging times.
It is also important to remember that it is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed at times, and these feelings can be an indication that we need to take time for ourselves. Making time for rest and relaxation can be hugely beneficial in helping us to manage our emotions, boost our energy levels, and reduce stress.
Are there any ways to reach out for help when I’m struggling?
Reaching out for help is an important part of managing struggles and feelings of overwhelm.
Talking to a trusted person, such as a family member or friend, can be incredibly beneficial in providing support and guidance. Additionally, there are many professional services available to provide assistance, such as mental health professionals like psychiatrists or psychologists, online counselling services, helplines, and the charity Mind.
Seeking help from these resources can be hugely beneficial in helping you manage your struggles and find strategies for dealing with stress.
How can I keep negative thoughts from overtaking my life?
Negative thoughts can be difficult to manage, but there are some strategies you can use to keep them from overtaking your life.
Firstly, it is important to acknowledge and accept that negative thoughts are a normal part of life. It is OK to have them, and it doesn’t make you a bad person or mean that you are not capable of overcoming your struggles.
Secondly, it is important to challenge and reframe your negative thoughts. Rather than letting them take over and become overwhelming, try to focus on what you can do at the moment to cope with these thoughts. It can also be beneficial to practise mindfulness, which involves being present and observing your thoughts without judgement or attachment.
Finally, it is important to develop an action plan for when negative thoughts arise. This could include activities such as taking a walk, listening to music, or doing something creative.
These are all ways to help manage negative thoughts and prevent them from overtaking your life.
How do I find strength in difficult times?
Finding strength in difficult times can be challenging, but it is possible. The key is to focus on what you can control and take things one step at a time.
Firstly, it is important to practise self-care and make sure that your basic needs are met. This means eating well, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
Secondly, it is important to focus on the things that you can control and take action. This could include setting realistic goals and making plans for how to achieve them, breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces, or seeking support from loved ones or professionals.
Finally, it is important to remember that difficult times don’t last forever. It is OK to feel overwhelmed at times, but it is also important to focus on the things that bring you joy and make sure that you’re taking time for yourself.
How do I know if a friend is suffering?
It can be difficult to tell if a friend is suffering, as they may not feel comfortable discussing their struggles. However, there are some common signs that can indicate that someone may be struggling, such as:
- Demonstrating sadness or hopelessness
- Excessive worrying or fearfulness
- Withdrawing from social activities and avoiding contact with friends and family
- Alterations in sleeping or eating habits
Poor concentration, a lack of motivation, and low energy
If you are concerned about a friend’s well-being, it is important to talk to them and offer your support. Showing that you care and are there for them can be hugely beneficial. Encourage them to seek help from professionals or charities such as Mind, which can also be beneficial.
Life can be overwhelming at times, leaving us feeling powerless and without guidance.
In times of emotional pressure, it is important to understand how to access your inner strength, bounce back from struggles with resilience, and recognise when it is time to seek support.
Knowing how to do all these things can be key in helping manage bouts of anxiety or depression throughout life’s journey. By acknowledging the struggles we face and learning how to work through them, we can find peace and clarity even in the toughest of times.
Here at OCCO London, we are on a mission to help people like you be more productive, organised, and more importantly happy whilst striving to achieve your goals.