People in various careers and professions can be vulnerable to overwhelm – especially with the personality trait of high sensitivity. Coaches and psychologists offer suggestions to help deal with it.
This image is from the book Naming and Taming Overwhelm: For Healthcare & Human Service Providers by Sarri Gilman.
Many creative people are highly sensitive, often more introverted than extroverted, and possibly gifted and intense. These traits can sometimes lead to emotional challenges including anxiety and overwhelm.
How can we help ourselves and others better manage this kind of unhealthy stress?
Michaela Chung writes about this topic: “When you’re an introvert like me, you spend a lot of time feeling overwhelmed.
“Who can blame you? Introvert overwhelm is a natural side effect of being an introvert in an extrovert’s world.”
Psychiatrist Joseph A. Annibali notes how highly sensitive people may have evolved during human history, and some of the positive aspects of the trait:
“Easily overaroused individuals would be better able to detect and warn of potential danger, better monitor animals and other humans, and more able to pass along cultural wisdom.”
Read their suggestions on coping in article How To Deal With Overwhelm.
Chung is author of The Irresistible Introvert: Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World.
Overwhelm can be based on having too much input to deal with, and so many inner and outer ideas and sensations.
Heather Dominick is a coach and mentor for Highly Sensitive Entrepreneurs.
She writes: “One of our many Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur (HSE) Strengths is the ability to be Visionary.
“The Shadow side of this awesome Strength is massive distraction.”
Read more and hear audio podcast in article How to deal with distraction and overwhelm as a highly sensitive person.
Here is an excerpt from the podcast:
How to deal with worry
“Worry tries to convince the mind that it has some value, but in reality it has never solved anything.
“To disrupt the worry habit you need to not only interrupt it, you need to replace it with something productive to establish a pattern change.”
See more in HeartMath article “How to Disrupt Worry”
Biofeedback and neurosignaling devices can support physical and emotional health by helping you meditate, relax more deeply, relieve anxiety and stress, and enhance focus for creative work.
Read more and see videos in article:
Biofeedback and Wearable Tech for Stress, Meditation and Fitness
Worry and anxiety can fuel overwhelm
Paula Prober specializes in counseling and consulting with gifted adults, youth, and families.
In an article she notes:
“Perhaps you thought that if you were smart, you wouldn’t be a worrier. If you were smart, you’d know all of the answers.
“You wouldn’t have to be anxious because you could think your way out of any problem.
But, she continues, “Your very active rainforest mind is able to dream up so many things to worry about. Less complex minds may worry less because there isn’t as much thinking.
“With you, there’s lots of thinking. And if you’re highly creative? Watch out. Even more worries.”
From my article Gifted, Talented, Creative, Anxious.
Prober is author of Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth – “Do you long to drive a Ferrari at top speed on the open road, but find yourself always stuck on the freeway during rush hour? Do you wonder how you can feel like ‘not enough’ and ‘too much’ at the same time?”
Therapist Sharon M. Barnes works with creative, sensitive, intense, intelligent people.
She comments about some of the qualities and challenges she sees in her practice of many years:
“Creativity and creative expression can be fun but can also be a great burden. Creative ideas show up whether we have time to pay attention to them, or do anything with them or not.
“They also often arrive in tandem or multiples, and the creative person has to choose which idea gets to see the light of day.”
See more in article Emotional Health for Creative, Gifted, Highly Sensitive People.
This idea of too many ideas “arriving” to deal with reminds me of this amusing ‘I Love Lucy’ scene:
Sharon Barnes asks in an article on her site:
“Do you feel stretched too many directions at once?
“Have too many demands on your time and energy?
“Get impatient with your CASIGY (Creative, Acutely Aware, Super-Sensitive, Intense and/or Gifted You-s) body because it is so sensitive, so reactive?
“Get tired of having so much creativity that no one person could EVER carry out all your ideas?”
“Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed when life gets hectic-and that’s much too often?”
She continues, “Is creative expression essential to your sense of well-being?
“Is daily time alone crucial to your inner balance? Do you quickly get overwhelmed when there’s lots of noise and activities going on?
She assures us that our “creativity, sensitivity or intelligence are gifts that the world sorely needs, not anomalies to be obliterated.
“It IS possible overcome your overwhelm without losing your creativity or your sensitivity.
“You can heal yourself from the effects of the things that overwhelm you, truly thrive instead of just survive, and yes, even achieve your creative, sensitive hopes and dreams.”
The First Step to overcome your overwhelm is to recognize what is going on.
Barnes notes, “As elementary as this sounds, we often try to skip over it. It is essential to admit it when you’re overwhelmed.
“It’s crucial to stop pretending that you’re keeping up, doing fine, going along smoothly through life, when you’re not-and admit it as soon as possible.”
Read much more in her article “Seven Steps To Overcome CASIGY Overwhelm” posted MAY 18, 2018 in the blog section of her site: