Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

One Quick & Easy Strategy To Deal With Overwhelm

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As a leader and entrepreneur, dealing with feelings of overwhelm, occurs on a daily basis.

When we are constantly pushing outside of our comfort zone into new situations, or facilitating change for our organisation, these actions lead us into the unknown.

Overwhelm occurs because of an exceedingly high demand, coupled with a sense of uncertainty. 

In today’s episode we’re going to talk about one quick and easy strategy you can use to deal with overwhelm. 

When it comes to dealing with overwhelm, many of us really do not deal with it very well.

We get stressed, we work harder; we get more stressed, and then we just work even harder. We end up in this cycle, of living our entire life in a state of frazzle and overwhelm. 

So in order to understand what we need to do to deal with overwhelm, it’s important to understand what is actually happening in your brain when overwhelm occurs. 


Your prefrontal cortex controls all your logical and executive thinking (e.g. decision making, prioritising, your ability to manage yourself and control yourself). When we are in a state of overwhelm, this part of our brain looses it’s ability to function properly. 


The other part of our brain is the emotional side (limbic system). This is the part of the brain that takes over when we’re in overwhelm. Because we have lost the part of our brain to think rationally, we become controlled by our emotions.  


When this happens, the best thing that you can do is do a pattern interrupt.overwhelm-quote

You need to interrupt stress response that is happening in your brain and in your body.

When you’re emotional brain is controlling the show, you will not be able to think clearly. You need to reduce your stress response & bring your rational brain back, before you can tackle the situation.

The best thing that you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed is step away from the situation and do an activity that I call a pattern interrupt.

So right now, I want you to think about an activity that you could create to be your go-to-pattern-interrupt activity.

And it just has to have two criteria:

1 It has to be relaxing.

2 It has to be enjoyable.

Some ideas could be:

  • going for a walk
  • talking to a team member or friend
  • doing a yoga practice with mindfulness
  • getting a massage
  • or watching my video blogs


It’s important that your go-to-pattern-interrupt activity is something that you find relaxing and interesting because as you do this and as it interrupts the stress response that’s happening in your brain.

So when you return to the situation that’s causing you to feel overwhelmed, you come back with much more energy and a recharged rational part of your brain, so you can engage far more easily with problem solving when it comes to dealing with the situation.

And your stress response is lower so now has a much more greater capacity to deal with a task at hand. 

In the comments below, I would love to hear what’s your pattern activity?

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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.