What to Do When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed
People feel overwhelmed when they have more to deal with than they believe they can handle. It often involves being overloaded with tasks and expectations. Being overwhelmed generally results in feelings of anxiety and stress.
Why Stress Is Associated with Substance Abuse
Stress is associated with substance abuse, so it is important for people in recovery from clonazepam addiction to manage their levels as much as possible. This is due, in part, to the fact that stress and drugs of abuse both affect dopamine levels in the brain’s reward center. The stress hormone corticosterone interferes with the body’s ability to remove dopamine from the spaces between cells. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports on an animal study finding that when rats are stressed, they seek out cocaine in doses that are too small to motivate their unstressed counterparts.
The researchers note that relapse to drug use in formerly abstinent individuals is rarely due to a single event. They report that many conditions, such as drug availability and substance use reminders play a role. The belief is that stress makes people more sensitive to other relapse triggers.
Dealing with Overwhelming Situations
Feeling overwhelmed is largely a matter of perspective and people may respond to the same situation in vastly different ways. This may be due to personal history as well as biological factors. An article in the journal Nature Neuroscience notes that traits such as risk taking, impulsivity and responsiveness to stress may be partially due to genetics. Dealing with feelings of being overwhelmed often involves both changing situations, when possible, and changing the way in which situations are viewed.
Tips for dealing with overwhelming situations include the following:
- Make a list of everything that is weighing on you. Sometimes it feels like there is more that needs to be done than there actually is. Often, having one unpleasant or large task that needs to be completed can make all other tasks seem overwhelming. When that one task is completed, everything else is likely to seem more manageable.
- Evaluate whether everything on the list must actually get done. What items are true obligations and what are simply expectations you have of yourself? What will happen if some of the things don’t get completed or don’t get accomplished quickly?
- If you decide that everything on the list is important, the next question is whether or not you, personally, must attempt them all. Are there things that others can do to help? If so, ask for the assistance you need.
- Often, feeling overwhelmed is due not just to the amount of tasks, but also to the feeling that they all must be done in a relatively short period of time. It is important to make a distinction between what feels urgent and what is truly important. As much as possible, deal with the most important and stressful tasks first, which will lower the psychological burden and make the other tasks easier to manage.
- Be proactive about managing your physical and psychological health. Practice relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxing. Take time to view a funny video or take a quick nap when possible. Sometimes, taking a small amount of time to recharge can prove to be a good investment and can help you use the rest of your time more efficiently.
- Invest some time in organization. Maybe it’s the calendar that needs to be organized in order to get an idea of how time is being spent and what changes could be made. Maybe it’s the home or work environment. Clutter can contribute to lost time when things can’t be easily located.
Spend time with supportive people. Sometimes, people feel overwhelmed because they worry about not measuring up to other people’s expectations. It can help to spend time with people who are affirming and communicate that they value you. For people in recovery from addiction, it is very important not to neglect support group attendance. It is easy to let that become a lower priority when time is being claimed by other things, but in times of stress it is more important than ever.
Once you learn how to identify and effectively manage stress, you can then begin to look at how to prevent stressful situation from becoming overwhelming to begin with.
Building Healthy Habits
There are things that can be done during periods of relatively low stress that can make things easier the next time life starts seeming overwhelming. The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that during times of high stress, self-control is lowered. Consequently, during these times, people tend to revert to habits, both good and bad. A researcher notes, “People can’t make decisions easily when stressed, low on will power, or feeling overwhelmed. When you are too tired to make a decision, you tend to just repeat what you usually do.” It is important, then, to build good habits that can be drawn on during times of stress. These may include things like exercise, meditation, or support group attendance.
You Can Reclaim Your Life
Are you struggling with recovering from your clonazepam addiction? Are you ready to start or resume an addiction recovery journey? If so, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. We can help you understand your options and find the treatment program that best meets your needs. We can also check your insurance coverage for you if desired, at no cost or obligation. You can reclaim your life. Why not call now?