Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Take Control of Your Life

January 6, 2017 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Being overwhelmed makes you feel that life is out of control. Stop feeling overwhelmed and regain control of your life with these tips. Take a look.

Are you feeling overwhelmed and need to take control of your life? If you're not careful, stress and anxiety can take over your life. I often find myself with to-do lists that are far too long, anxiety that is far too high and little-to-no motivation. Sound familiar? I was sick and tired of feeling this way, and I bet you are too, so I made some small changes that allowed me to feel in control of my life and stop feeling overwhelmed.

How I Felt Overwhelmed and Started to Take Control of My Life

Being overwhelmed makes you feel that life is out of control. Stop feeling overwhelmed and regain control of your life with these tips. Take a look.

I've always found the first few weeks of January stressful, especially as I transition back to work and real life. This week was no different; my home was a complete mess, and so was my mind. Boxes and holiday decorations were all over the place. I was feeling overwhelmed with everything and mad at myself for allowing it to get this cluttered in the first place. I couldn't find my keys, I had laundry piled up, I had a slew of emails that needed to be answered and I just wanted to hide. I was feeling pretty lousy. "How did I let my life get this out of hand?" I thought.

Instead of having a pity party, I realized I had a choice: take strategic action or take myself back to bed. I grabbed a box and stuffed all the things that I could recycle in it as fast as I could. It took about four minutes and all wrapping paper and crap that covered my floor was out of sight. Was my house fit for visitors? Ha, yeah right, but this activity did improve my motivation, and I felt quite a bit better about my environment.

Stop Feeling Overwhelmed: 10 Things to Do Today to Take Control of Your Life

  1. Ask yourself this question: "What small action can you do today to feel more productive?" Aim for something you can do in less than 10 minutes. How would it feel to complete this?
  2. Slow down. So many of us are rushing through life, and this is stressful. When we become more mindful, we increase confidence, make fewer mistakes and feel connected to the strides we are making. Take a few minutes to think about the areas of your life where you’ve been rushing and try to slow down and be a little more deliberate.
  3. Lower your expectations (of yourself and others). There is no way I can do everything I have on my to-do list--not even if I had an arsenal of assistants. Why? Because being creative and connecting with others comes from me.
  4. Clean up your screens. Close some tabs and clean out your inbox. Clutter on your screen creates internal chaos.
  5. Connect with people who get it. I have several friends who are feeling overwhelmed with particular areas in their life. The resolution bandwagon is annoying the heck out of them. It can be helpful and validating to talk to them when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I often get inspired and more motivated after venting.
  6. Be kinder. Self-criticism doesn't improve motivation, it leads to more stress. You're not going to be motivated to achieve something by being mean to yourself. It just doesn't work. Remind yourself of how far you have come, rather than focusing on your downfalls or what you haven’t achieved. Be nicer to yourself and see how much more motivated you feel.
  7. Reward yourself. Science shows that when we provide ourselves with positive reinforcement, we are more likely to achieve our goals. A complement, sticker, sweet treat, Netflix binge or a few minutes on social media counts.
  8. Ask for help from the right people. People want to help you. Think about a time when you helped someone--it felt good right? Your boss, your doctor, your partner, your therapist, your best friend all want to help you. Let people know you need some help.
  9. Honor your achievements. If you finally made that doctor's appointment you've been putting off for months or picked up your bedside table, don't rush to the next task. Give yourself a moment to bask in the glow of achievement.
  10. Grab a buddy. I have a good friend who doesn't pass judgment and likes to organize. I will take her to lunch or dinner after she helps me complete something I've been putting off.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and stressed try one of these tools today to take back control of your life. One small step in the right direction can help you feel more confident, less overwhelmed and in control of your life instantly.

Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2017, January 6). Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Take Control of Your Life, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

February, 8 2017 at 2:19 am

Thank you Emily for replying to my message.

February, 8 2017 at 2:14 am

My father does not support circumcisions but he really wants to be close to his grandson. So, he asked my mother and I to stop talking about the topic and just let it go. He said that "what's done is done, and there is nothing that we can do about it! We need to respect my sister's decision and forgive her mistake." A week has passed since the baby's surgery, my desire to get involved with organizations that speak against child circumcision has not changed. As soon as I complete my research on the topic, I will describe my nephew's experience in a blog. Hopefully, my words will encourage a mother to fight for her newborn's physical and emotional wellbeing.

February, 5 2017 at 11:13 am

For the past year, I have been working on the following affirmation: "I will respect other people's decisions." I am having a real difficult time sticking to it. As undergrads, my sister and I learned about child mutilation and strongly opposed it. As soon as she married a Christian man whose father is a Muslim, she approved to get her son a circumcision. She is the type of person who cries when she sees a needle, does not have a tattoo, or uncommon piercings. So, I don't understand how she could have inflicted pain on a child that she just gave birth to. The baby has been shaking and crying nonstop. I just don't understand why her maternal instincts did not kick in. I don't understand why she did not listen to her family. I don't understand why she did not stick to her values. I am mad and dissapointed with her. I feel guilty and torned inside because I feel like I did not do enough to help my nephew. I feel like I failed to protect children's rights. I did not want to meddle in my sister's marriage so I passively stated my opposition to the circumcision. Normally, that is not my personality. I honestly thought that they would not go through with it! Does she have low self-esteem issues? Does my sister and her husband have low self-esteem issues? He is an educated man. It's the twenty-first centurty! We live in America. Why did he submit to his father's peer pressure? Having matching penises does not make him more manly or a better father. More than ever, I feel like getting involved in organizations that speak against child circumcision but I also feel like I need to help my sister somehow. Any tips? Advice? or should I simmer down?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 6 2017 at 10:30 am

Hi Mercedes--- I think you have passion and that's awesome. Are there organizations you are interested in working with? Also starting a blog or reaching out to websites that could use a writer may be helpful to share your authentic and helpful advice. Remember you are doing the best you can and sometimes people don't do what we'd like but you did everything you could!

January, 10 2017 at 5:34 am


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