3 Easy Hacks To Reduce Overwhelm

3 Easy Hacks To Reduce Overwhelm

3 easy hacks to reduce overwhelm

What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed and scattered?

I used to shut down, go find a snack, watch TV or procrastinate by changing the colours on my Canva graphics 50 times.

That helped calm my mind down in the moment, but as soon as I started working on the important stuff again, I’d be right back on that train heading straight to *Overwhelm Central*.

Now, I ditch overwhelm as quick as you can say tim-buck-two using these 3 hacks.

Listen now on your fav podcast platform or read the blog below.

Hack #1: slow belly breaths
  1. Place your hand on your belly and another on your heart
  2. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds feeling your belly rise
  3. Hold for 3-4 seconds
  4. Slowly breathe out through your nose for 6-8 seconds
  5. Hold for 2-3 seconds
  6. Repeat 10x

By breathing into your belly you’re activating your diaphragm rather than using your shoulders and neck to breathe and that long exhale switches your body into parasympathetic mode (aka. rest and digest mode).

This gets you out of sympathetic mode where your…

  • breathing is shallow
  • head is spiralling
  • body is flooded with antsy cortisol which is making you feel scattered and overwhelmed.

Having that long exhale switches you back into the calming parasympathetic mode where your cortisol is lower and you have more clarity in your mind to be able to rationalise and think clearly without the haze of stress, panic and overwhelm overshadowing everything.

So have 10 long exhale belly breathes, focusing on your belly rising, to switch you into parasympathetic mode so you can feel calmer and have more clarity.

 

Hack #2: Distract yourself for 20 minutes

Literally, step away from your work and go distract yourself for 20 minutes . Put the washing out, make a snack, even lie on your bed.

After 20 minutes, come back to your work and you’ll notice your head is clearer, your more in control and way more productive.

This is because your brain can only handle and process information for 52 minutes before it’s at full capacity. Before your brain gets so full that it starts to feel tired and scattered and overwhelmed.

After 52 minutes, your brain will naturally start to daydream and you’ll catch yourself procrastinating with other mindless tasks or scrolling on social media. Which usually makes you feel stressed and you try to rush back into work.

After 52 minutes of working, relax for 16-20 minutes.

Go away and empty your brain, give it a breather so it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to hold on to all these different ideas at once, but it can actually stop and process what its absorbed and done in the last hour or since your last break. Once it’s processed the past 52 minutes worth of information, it’ll be clearer, calmer and you’ll be able to rationalise and think much easier – reducing your overwhelm.

The best way to do this is to set a little reminder every 90 minutes on your phone or laptop to tell you to have a break so you can get into your work and run over if you’re on a roll, but still get your 16-20 minute break in. You’ll be so much more productive, get so much more done, and your brain will feel calmer and clearer.

 

Hack #3: find the solution.
STEP ONE

Brain dump every thought you currently have onto a piece of paper or a blank work document.

If you’re generally feeling overwhelmed and you’re not sure why…

  • Brain dump every single thought that passes your head in a 20 minute time period. Doesn’t matter if it’s tasks you need to do, reminders you need to set or how you’re currently feeling. Jot it all down.

Or if you’re feeling overwhelmed about a specific task…

  • Write down every thought and step you need to do for that task.

Basically, every single thought that pops up, write it down. Try to completely empty your head so your brain isn’t trying to hold onto all these thoughts and reminders and to-do’s. Because when you transfer the thought from your head and into written form, your brain can let go of that thought. When you keep repeating that process, your brain gets clearer and clearer.

Experts state the mind thinks between 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day.

That’s 41-55 thoughts a minute. But most of these are useless thoughts or constant reminders, so clearing out the fluff and emptying these thoughts from your mind can reduce how many thoughts you have per hour, leaving your brain less overwhelmed and scattered and full.

So get all your current thoughts written down about a specific task that’s making you feel overwhelmed or in general so that they’re physically in front of you.

 

STEP TWO

Choose the thought or task that’s the most important to do right now.

My favourite way to do this is a method my coach taught me about the blocked hose analogy.

  • Imagine you’ve got a hose and it’s blocked in various locations.
  • You need to unblock at the end closest to the water tap so the water can progress further up the hose.
  • You need to start with the task that will get the water moving the most. The one task you can do right now that will give you the most benefit and get you closer to where you want to be.

If you get this one task done, you’ll have unblocked one aspect of the hose and will be making progress and have made the biggest step in the right direction.

Rather than trying to stop the overwhelm by doing everything at once, starting 10 different jobs but only doing 5% of them and procrastinating with the easier tasks that make no difference at all.

Like changing the colour scheme on your social media posts or choosing a new font for your website.

These tasks won’t be unblocking the hose and will leave you still feeling overwhelmed and stressed with everything that needs to be done. Especially because you’re not making big progress when you alter your colours or change your fonts, even thought you will naturally gravitate towards doing them because they’re easy and mindless.

Brain dump all your thoughts, then look at everything you’ve written down and choose the one task that is the most important to do right now.

The one task that’s the first step to unblocking your hose and will allow you to make progress to achieve your big goal.

 

If you’re struggling to reduce your overwhelm, control your stress and feel calmer, let me help you.

Book a free 15 min chat and let’s get you feeling amazing again.

The Anxiety Relief Technique That Calms Your Mind And Halts Your Panic Attack

The Anxiety Relief Technique That Calms Your Mind And Halts Your Panic Attack

An Anxiety Relief Technique That Calms Your Mind And Halts Your Panic Attack

Do you wish you had a magic stick that could make all your anxiety simply disappear?

Well this one particular technique may not be magical, but it sure has the power to halt a panic attack in its tracks and make you feel calm again – quick sticks!

There’s a reason it’s my absolute favourite technique to use when I’m feeling anxious and it works everytime.

Want to know what it is and how to use it?

Then check out today’s episode by clicking play below or listening on your fav podcast platform.

 

One of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety when it’s flaring up…

…when you start to feel that unease in your stomach and the pounding in your heart, the tightness squeezing your chest or the sweaty palms and the chaos swirling around and around in your head…

…is the 90-10 method.

This technique quickly reduces those symptoms when they pop up. But even better, they stop your anxiety flaring up again later on.

This is because the 90-10 method addresses the cause of your anxiety. This technique doesn’t make you feel momentarily better. It doesn’t distract you or ground you back down. It deals with the reason why your anxiety is popping up in the first place. So you can let that anxiety go and overcome it.

The 90-10 method can be used on all levels of anxiety. Whether it’s just low level anxiousness, overwhelm or unease, or more when your heart is pounding and your thoughts are spiralling in your head.

How does this magical anxiety-neutralising technique work?

10% of the time you allow yourself to wallow in problem mode.

Go grab that ice cream, curl into a ball and cry your eyes out…allow yourself to feel absolutely miserable in the moment. Let yourself feel like crap because whatevers making you feel anxious is sucky and it’s ok to give these emotions a voice and let it out. Let those emotions free. Feel anger, irritation, sadness, anxiety. Feel whatever you need to feel.

It doesn’t mean that you’re being petty.
It doesn’t mean that you’re less than, or that you’re weak.
It just means that you’re allowing yourself to be human and to feel your emotions.

Allow yourself to feel those emotions for 10% of the time. If you’ve got an hour, sit in those emotions for 6 minutes.

 

Then switch over and 90% of the time, go into solution mode.

Solution mode is anything you need to work out why you’re feeling anxious and find a solution to it.

Sit down, find a quiet place, take a cleansing breath and then ask yourself these 3 questions.

P.S. Let the truth come out. No one else needs to know these answers, so be as raw and open with yourself as you can. There are no wrong answers.

#1. What do I need right now to feel better?
  • Is it a hug?
  • Is it to pick up the phone and tell someone a piece of your mind?
  • Is it to quit your job?
  • Is it to have a big cry?

It doesn’t matter what it is and you don’t have to do it, just be honest with yourself for what your heart is screaming out for right now.

 

#2. What was the issue that made me feel this way?

Be 100% honest with yourself. You don’t need to act on these realisations, just allow your subconscious to tell you what you need.

  • Is it to call someone & set them straight about something they said?
  • Is it to change the way someone treats you & if so, how would you like to be treated?
  • Is it that you feel stuck and you don’t like the way you currently run your household or how you do your work?
  • Is it that your head feels chaotic, you feel overwhelmed, over worked and like you’re losing your sanity?
  • Is it to figure out what you actually want in life, because you’re truthfully stuck in a rut that’s not heading where you want to go?

 

#3. What needs to happen to stop this from happening again?

Start with the raw truth and then work backwards to find a solution that’s comfortable to you.

  • It may not be calling that person and telling them a piece of your mind. Instead it may be listing all the reasons why their opinion has no impact on your life and making a plan to avoid talking to them. Or maybe being the one to change the conversation with them so that when they make a comment that triggers you, you have something you can say that makes you feel better and stops them in their tracks from making you feel worse.

 

  • If you want to be treated differently, it may be writing a list of how you’d ideally like to be treated by the person or relationship that’s making you feel anxious, and noting down the things that mean a lot to you. Then bringing it up in conversation with them. It’s much easier to fix a relationship you have with a friend, partner or family member when you know what you want, rather than what you want them not to do – and they’ll be way more receptive to making a change you love, rather than trying to change something about them you don’t like.

 

  • If it’s because you feel stuck and you don’t like the way you do something in your household or at work, it may be that you need to sit down with a blank piece of paper and plan out how an ideal day looks in your house or at work. What you’d be doing and what you’d be achieving. And then look at your life and notice the parts that you want to be doing on a day to day basis that aren’t currently in your life. And then create a plan for how you could start to include it into your daily routine. Again, don’t focus on what you don’t like, introduce and start doing what you want to be doing. Focus on the positives.

 

  • If it’s that you feel chaotic, overwhelmed and like you’re losing your sanity, it could be that you need to get clarity again on what you really want. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write down absolutely everything you need to do and want to do. Then prioritise that list with what’s super important and will make a big difference in your life, all the way down to the things that don’t make a difference if they’re done or not. It could even be just finding a diary that vibes for you and scheduling your day and making a plan.

It’s finding the right solution for you.

  1. What do you need right now to feel better?
  2. What was the issue that has made you feel this way?
  3. And what needs to happen to stop this from happening again in the future?

What solution makes you feel good and that you’ve solved the issue that was triggering your anxiety and your emotions.

This technique has that beautiful combination of allowing your emotions to be heard in a safe and controlled manner because you’re giving them a section of time to scream out and rage, but then you’re also figuring out a solution to the main issue that’s causing your anxiety in the first place. You’re figuring out the answer to stop that anxiety trigger from triggering your again in the future.

This will take a huge weight off your shoulders, because a huge chunk of anxiety is a fear of the unknown, a fear of the what if and basically catastrophizing about the future – whether you can control it or not.

And a big way to reduce anxiety is to find the solution. Create a contingency plan so you have something in your back pocket if that what if or that unknown ever does happen.

You are the one in control of your life, so create solutions to fix or heal what’s upsetting you and making you anxious. It’s way more powerful and effective to feel anxiety-free for the long term, rather than letting anxiety control and suffocate you with worries and fears.

The next time you’re feeling anxious and you feel like you can’t get out of out that anxious spiral, use this method.

  • Allow yourself 10% of the time to wallow and do what you need to express your emotions in all their glory.
  • Then transition and allow yourself 90% of the time to figure out a solution to what’s making you feel anxious.

Spend 6 minutes wallowing. Then 54 minutes in solution mode asking yourself these three questions:

  1. What do I need to feel better right now?
  2. What was the issue that made me feel this way?
  3. What needs to happen to stop this happening again?

And I promise you a massive weight off your shoulders will be lifted and your anxiety will massively reduce.

Why Do I Feel Anxious? The 3 Biological Causes Of Anxiety

Why Do I Feel Anxious? The 3 Biological Causes Of Anxiety

Why Do I Feel Anxious?

The 3 Biological Causes Of Anxiety

Have you ever woken up feeling anxious with an iron grip squeezing your heart?

Or maybe you’ve randomly felt anxious in the afternoon despite the fact there’s nothing to be anxious about?

Or have you experienced anxiety for days or weeks at a time even though what made you feel anxious in the first place is now long gone?

You’re experiencing this anxiety because of the biological drivers of anxiety. The hormones and brain chemicals that produce an anxious response in your body and mind. The racing heart, tight chest, sweaty palms, struggle to take a deep breath and the chaos of thoughts going round and round in your heart.

It’s the type of anxiety that your mind is struggling to rationalise through, even though you know you’re totally OK and there’s nothing to be anxious about.

When you’re body is swimming in these hormones and brain chemicals such as glutamate, adrenaline and histamine, your body and mind can’t help but feel anxious.

The problem is, why has your body made them in the first place? And why isn’t your body getting rid of them?

If you want to know the answers, then today’s podcast episode is a must for you.

I’ll be diving deep into why you’re making these 3 hormones and brain chemicals in the first place and how to get rid of them so that you can ditch the anxiety and embrace the calm again.

Download the podcast episode from your fav podcast platform or hit play below.

Today’s episode we are talking about the:

biological drivers and causes of your anxiety

What does this mean?

It means the biological chemicals, hormones or neurotransmitters that your body creates when you’re feeling anxious.

But here’s a little secret: they can also cause you to feel anxious.

#1. Thoughts & Beliefs

I talk a lot about your thoughts and subconscious beliefs triggering an anxiety cascade. You might see, hear or think of something that triggers a subconscious belief in your mind, which activates places like your amygdala in your brain (aka. your fear centre), and this recognises that situation you’re in or thought you’re having as ‘holy heck – this is scary, I don’t like this, run the heck away’.

BAM – your body launches an anxiety response and you get the pounding heart, tight chest, struggling to get a full breath, feeling sweaty and negative thoughts going round and round in your head.

These thoughts and beliefs are one kind of anxiety trigger. They’re the most common anxiety triggers experienced in the world. Those beliefs you’ve collected throughout your life are all designed to protect and save you. So if your brain and belief deems something as scary, it will trigger an anxiety response in your body and mind to make you get away from it as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, not all the beliefs you’ve collected in your life warrant an anxiety response, but it’s happening subconsciously at the moment. Luckily, that belief can be rewired – but that’s a topic for another day.

#2. Hormones & Brain chemicals

The second cause of your anxiety, are these hormones and brain chemicals called neurotransmitters which made in your body.

Because without even having an anxious thought or belief to make you feel anxious, you can still feel anxious because your body is swamped in these hormones and neurotransmitters. These hormones and neurotransmitters were made from a different signal, something else in your body told them to be made – like you experiencing hayfever or not sleeping – and so these hormones and neurotransmitters were made in response to your hayfever and lack of sleep, but they still carry out an anxiety response in your body too.

These hormones and neurotransmitters don’t discriminate. They get made, and they’ll do everything that they’re supposed to do. So yeah, they’re responding to your hayfever and lack of sleep, but they’re also going to make you feel anxious. Because that’s their job.

So even without an anxious trigger – you still end up feeling anxious.

Sucky, right?

  • This means you can wake up feeling anxious and you have no idea why.
  • Or maybe anxiety decides to hit and your heart starts racing in the afternoon…and you have no idea why.
  • Or even when your anxiety flares up for a reason but then it seems to last for days or weeks before you feel like your calm self again, despite the anxious situation having long gone.

This feeling of anxiety in your body and mind is driven by these hormones and neurotransmitters. And usually in someone who feels anxious like this – these neurotransmitters and hormones just hang around way too long. Way longer than they’re supposed to.

The good news is, there are ways to get rid of these hormones and neurotransmitters that are causing your anxiety. When they’re not there, your body and mind won’t be feeling anxious anymore. Halle-freakin-luyah!

 

What are these hormones and neurotransmitters that make you feel anxious and how can you get rid of them?

1. GLUTAMATE

You may not have heard of glutamate before, but I bet you’ve heard of GABA. Well, these two are neurotransmitters or brain chemicals and they work like a see-saw.

On one side of the see-saw you have glutamate which is your excitatory neurotransmitter. It’s the one that stimulates your brain, makes it buzz like crazy, has your thoughts swirling round and round, makes you feel frazzled and is the one responsible for making you feel anxious.

  • Glutamate is your anxiety neurotransmitter.

On the other side of the see-saw is GABA. GABA is your calming neurotransmitter. It calms your mind, makes you feel really good and cosy and safe. The medication Valium and other benzdiazpines tell your brain you have more GABA, so this is why they’re used in anxiety to make you feel calm.

  • GABA is the absolute queen at reducing your anxiety.
#1. The thing is, you need glutamate to make GABA.

Glutamate is still essential in your brain, but it’s like how your bedroom only needs 1 or 2 lights on to be able to see in your room at night. Glutamate is there to carry out some function (it helps with memory and learning), so you want a small amount of it so you can see in your bedroom when it’s dark.

But imagine if every square inch of your bedrooms roof and walls were covered in a light bulb – like 50 lightsso when you turned your lights on at night, you’re blinded by wayyyyy to much light. It’s too much and too blinding.

This is the same thing if you have too much glutamate in your brain. If you have too much, your brain is wayyyy to stimulated and it makes you feel anxious.

#2. The other bummer is glutamate can cause oxidation and inflammation in your brain.

When your brain is inflamed, you can’t make your serotonin neurotransmitter. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and calm as well. So too much glutamate means not enough serotonin and an extremely stimulated and anxious brain.

How can you get rid of glutamate?

Glutamate makes GABA, so why isn’t your brain taking all that glutamate and turning it into GABA?

Well, this could be because you haven’t got the cofactors needed for glutamate to turn into GABA. The key cofactors being:

  • zinc
  • vitamin B6 (and you especially want the vitamin B6 to be in pyridoxal-5-phosphate or P5P form)

Without enough zinc or vitamin B6, glutamate can’t go anywhere and GABA can’t be made. So you end up with too much glutamate, not enough serotonin and not enough GABA. The perfect recipe for an anxiety cocktail.

So my challenge to you is to reduce how much glutamate you have in you brain.

How do you do this? Make sure you’ve got enough zinc and vitamin B6 to allow your glutamate to turn into GABA. And wa-laa – a beautifully calm and anxiety-free brain.

 

2. Adrenaline or epinephrine 

You might also know adrenaline as one of your stress hormones. Y’know, the one that gives you the racing heart, the tightness around your chest, the sweaty palms and armpits, feeling hot and bothered, racing energy through your veins, struggling to get a deep breath, the sticky glob in your throat, and the panicky thoughts. Do those symptoms sound familiar?

Adrenaline puts your body into the fight or flight response. The same response you go through when you’re anxious.

Adrenaline is beautiful if you need to run away from a tiger or get out of the way of a car zooming down the street. It’s not so great if you’re just lying in bed.

Adrenaline is released into your body when you’re feeling anxious, because your body see’s that anxiety situation as scary and is trying to do you a favour by giving you the juice to run away from the scary trigger.

It’s a life saving response – you have just evolved that you aren’t running away from tigers and lions as much anymore. Instead your life is filled with overwhelming to-do lists, a job interviews, first dates or exams which all trigger the same adrenaline fuelled fight or flight response.

The thing is, we want this adrenaline to stop once the anxiety trigger is gone.

  • To-do list written down – you should feel calm.
  • Job interview finished – you should feel calm.
  • Scary situation gone – that anxious feeling should be gone.

But when you’re still feeling anxious despite the overwhelming to-do list, exam or job interview having been long gone – this is where adrenaline becomes a problem.

What’s happening, is you’re body isn’t getting rid of that adrenaline.

Instead, your body keeps recycling it again and again and you continue to feel frazzled, uneasy, overwhelmed and anxious even when your mind is telling you it’s ok to feel calm now.

Why isn’t your body getting rid of that adrenaline?

It may be because your enzymes that break down adrenaline aren’t working at their best. The most important enzymes that break down and get rid of adrenaline are COMT and MAO. These two enzymes are responsible for breaking down your catecholamines in your body, and adrenaline is a catecholamine.

So your body has been told to make adrenaline in response to something that triggers your anxiety, but then you can’t break down and get rid of that adrenaline – well then that adrenaline is going to keep telling your body it’s in fight or flight mode and make you feel anxious long after the anxiety trigger is gone.

Unfortunately, anxiety isn’t the only thing that triggers your fight or flight response.

Anytime your body feels stressed, you release adrenaline to produce a fight or flight response. And stress doesn’t just mean your perceived stress such as running late or being stuck in traffic.

Stress can be caused by:

  • arguing on the phone
  • comparing yourself to the glamorous lives on social media
  • having a million things to do
  • when your body is too hot or too cold
  • when you’ve slept terribly
  • when you’re sick
  • when you stub your toe
  • there’s inflammation in your body

Your body launches a stress response to things in your life and to biological things happening in your body.

Even if you don’t have anything making you feel anxious, if your body launches a stress response, that adrenaline floating around in your body can be making you feel anxious for seemingly no reason at all.

Even worse, if you’re not getting rid of that adrenaline via your COMT or MAO enzyme pathways, then that random feeling of anxiety will linger for a long time.

Another key sign of a sluggish COMT enzyme pathway, is that you easily feel anxious or buzzing after caffeinated drinks such as coffee, coca cola or green tea. This is because COMT breaks down the catechol found in these caffeinated beverages, so if COMT isn’t working well then you’re easily stimulated when you have them.

How can you get rid of adrenaline?

Even if your MAO or COMT pathway aren’t working very well?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you sorted.

There are 3 main ways to get rid of your excess adrenaline:

  • Vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 is an essential cofactor for MAO to work well. If you’re B2 deficient, your MAO enzyme pathway is gonna be sluggish and slow to get rid of your adrenaline.
  • Magnesium. Magnesium is an essential cofactor for COMT to work well. If you’re magnesium deficient, your COMT pathway is going to be sluggish. And the common issue is when you’re stressed, you actually pee out a lot of your magnesium you stored in your body so stress itself makes you more likely to be magnesium deficient, and you need that magnesium for COMT to work well to get rid of your adrenaline.
  • Gentle exercise. In the cave man days, running away from that lion was using up their adrenaline so at the end of the chase, they weren’t on an adrenaline high anymore. Doing 20 minutes of walking morning and night is much better at clearing adrenaline than a 1 hour gym session.

 

 

3. Histamine

You may not have heard of histamine and anxiety being connected, but oh boy histamine packs a real doozy.

You see histamine is also a neurotransmitter found in your brain. Histamine in your brain is essential to make you feel alert, help with learning and your memory. But too much histamine causes too much stimulation in the brain and you become super alert.

Excess histamine in the brain has been associated with increased anxiety and depression.

Why are you making so much histamine in your brain?

Well, histamine is at the very top of your stress cascade. Anytime you’re stressed, histamine is one of the first molecules to be made.

Yay for running away from a lion. Boo when you’re simply feeling too hot or feeling frazzled.

Why isn’t your brain and body getting rid of histamine?

Well that all depends on the enzyme HNMT in your brain. HNMT is what breaks down the histamine in your brain, so that your histamine levels come back down again and you feel calm once again. If you’ve ever taken a drowsy antihistamine such as Phenergan or Polaramine in Australia, you’ll see the drowsy and calm effect reducing histamine has on your brain.

How do you get rid of the histamine that’s causing anxiety?
  • One step is making sure you have enough vitamin B6 as it’s the cofactor needed to help make HNMT in the first place.
  • But the most important is supporting your stress levels and being mindful of anything that makes you feel stressed so that you’re not making excessive amounts of histamine in your brain in the first place.

 

And there we have it, your 3 biggest biological drivers and causes of anxiety.

The next time:

  • You’re waking up feeling anxious
  • You’re feeling randomly anxious one afternoon
  • Your anxiety is lingering for days or weeks

It’s more than likely one of these biological causes triggering your body and mind to make you feel anxious. Even when nothing is around that makes you feel anxious in the first place.