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5 Things to Do When You’re Beyond Stressed



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A few months ago, after decades of solo entrepreneurship, I took a job as a freelance writer.

I knew there would be an uphill learning curve, but I believed that a certain amount of stress would be good for me. In fact, studies show that some amount of stress is healthy, for many reasons.

Fast forward to a snapshot of me at the end of day one of my new job: I was camped out on the couch, so completely wiped out that I could not muster the energy to get up and make myself a cup of tea. My mind was a puddle.

A conversation between my husband and me went a little like this:

“What do you want for dinner?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “Whatever.”

“Would you like a glass of wine?”

I nodded.

“Red or white?”

“Um, I don’t know.”

“Are you okay?”

I wasn’t okay. And I wasn’t just stressed out after a busy day. I was completely overwhelmed. I sat immobile for several hours, presumably watching television, but not really seeing anything. I felt frozen, mute, and completely checked out from the family activities going on around me.

I had been excited about the opportunity to learn and grow, and I’ve never minded getting in a little over my head. But I’d taken in far more than I could digest for one day. Perhaps there should be a condition called “mental indigestion”, for that describes how I felt.

Overtime, I got the hang of this job, and the overwhelm shifted to something more manageable—something that I would simply label “stress.” In that state, I was able to make good decisions, know what I needed, ask for help, and communicate it all with effectiveness and clarity.

But overwhelm is a whole different ball game. You can’t “positive self-talk” your way out of this state. And you can’t follow through with any of the usual advice that applies when we’re stressed, such as delegate, prioritize, ask for help, or set boundaries.When you’re overwhelmed, you might also feel:

  • Ungrounded
  • Unable to make decisions
  • Unable to think/see clearly
  • Forgetful
  • Scattered
  • Disconnected from your intuition and heart center

When you’re overwhelmed, your mind is like a kite flying loose in the air, handle and all. Telling yourself to “calm down” or “do something” or whatever else you might say to yourself is akin to demanding the kite fly in a straight line.

There doesn’t seem like much you can do but hope that circumstances change. But, if you can at least find the wherewithal to identify that you’re in an overwhelmed state, you can bring that kite—and your mind—back down to earth.

Here’s how to start.

1. Create a safe space

First, know that a state of overwhelm is not the time to make important decisions about things that matter, like relationships, or jobs, or opportunities. It’s also not a good time to set boundaries, or speak your truth to someone. This is because overwhelm separates our minds from our bodies. Thus, any decisions you make or words you say will be disconnected from your heart and gut. You might very well come to regret them later.
Instead, it’s time to create a safe space for yourself, just as you would for an out-of-control toddler. One way to do this is to create self-care bookends that become unbreakable habits.
By self-care bookends, I mean establishing a fixed morning and evening routine. They do not need to be long, fancy, or complicated. They just need to be repeated regularly, no matter what happens during the day.
Some examples:

  • Begin each morning with a gratitude practice (list out things you’re grateful for). In the evening, spend 15-minutes doing mindful breathing.
  • Start your day with gentle stretching. End each day with a relaxation practice.
  • Journal your intentions for the day each morning. Close your day by listening to some calming music.

(If you’re in a state of overwhelm and choosing from those three is too much to ask, do the last one.)
The idea is that even when you’re in a state of overwhelm during the day, there’s a place and time when it all comes to a stop. Now, your mind cannot travel any further away from your body. You just might find that you’ll be able to reach up and grab that handle.
When is the best time to create self-care bookends? Ideally, when you’re not in a state of overwhelm. That way, even when you’re zoned out from overwhelm, you simply move through your routine, as habitually as you would brush your teeth.

2. Use the Ayurvedic principle of “opposites heal”

According to Ayurveda, the science of self-healing, overwhelm is a symptom of an unbalanced Vata dosha. Vata dosha is made up of the elements of Air and Ether, and as such is cool, light, and dry by nature.

To bring yourself back into balance, you can use the principle of Opposites Heal. This means that you bring in the qualities of warm, heavy, and moist. Think root vegetables, warm soups, a soft blanket, hot bath, or sitting by a fire. These choices will have the desired effect of warming and grounding your mind.

“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.” ―Andrew Bernstein

3. Reduce sensory input

Overwhelm is a state of being “overloaded”—too much sensory input and not enough time to digest it all. We are not computers; we are not meant to simply store information. We need time to digest and rest.

When you’re overwhelmed, it’s time to reduce the input through all five senses. Some examples:

  • Taste: Choose simple foods and meals over complex tastes
  • Sight: Turn down the lights
  • Sound: Move away from noisy, chaotic environments
  • Smell: Use essential oils in the bath, or even a favorite scented candle or lotion
  • Touch: Slip into comfortable clothing or curl under a pile of warm blankets

4. Let someone take care of you

For those of us who consider ourselves strong and capable, it’s hard to ask for help. But now more than ever you would benefit from letting someone else take over for you—whether it’s ordering or making dinner, canceling an appointment on your behalf, or checking off some other small task to lighten the load.

5. Be gentle and patient with yourself

When you’re in a state of overwhelm, be extra gentle with yourself. Don’t criticize yourself for not being able to make decisions, or for needing help. The very nature of being overwhelmed makes it nearly impossible to settle into your body—particularly the heart, gut, and emotional centers—where the best decisions and boundaries are known and can be communicated clearly and effectively.


You might not be able to motivate your way out of a state of overwhelm. But you can take your power back by creating self-care boundaries, using the Ayurvedic principle of Opposites Heal, reducing sensory input, letting others help you, and generally being patient and gentle with yourself.

Day by day, you will start to notice that you can think more clearly, and you will soon know what decisions and boundaries need to be made and set in order to reduce the overwhelm you experience over time.

Keri Mangis is an author and freelance writer/speaker. Her work has appeared in Elephant Journal, Addicted2Success, The Good Men Project, Mindful Word, Thought Catalog, The Edge Magazine, Essential Wellness, and others. She writes about culture/society, spirituality, personal growth, transformation, and empowerment. She is the award-winning author of Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness. Learn more about Keri’s journey here.

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The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.



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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.



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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.



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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma



Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.


Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:


1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.


2. Persistent Pain

Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.

4. A strong need for control

It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
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