9 Aug, 2022

Stop! How to Overcome Overwhelm



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“Getting knocked down in life is a given. Getting up and moving forward is a choice.” – Zig Ziglar

Feeling overwhelmed often happens when we expose ourselves to too much stress that our mind and body cannot cope with.  It is a difficult emotion to manage, and it can leave us stuck in a state or place we do not want.

Are you feeling overwhelmed right now? How are you coping with it? Do you give in to this feeling? What would happen if you continued to mope around? Where will this feeling of being overwhelmed take you? Will it take you to a better life?

Give me a few minutes of your time and listen to what I have to say about this and how you can deal with it. Let me help you triumph over this emotion so that you can have the future you want and be the person you were meant to be.


⚡️ Overwhelmed means buried or drowned under a huge mass of something

⚡️ Feeling overwhelmed comes from taking in stress more than our system can adapt to.

⚡️ There is no growth without stress. Stress is a challenge

⚡️ You can either eliminate stress or increase your capacity to take in stress.

↘️↘️ Steps to overcoming overwhelm:

1.      Be aware and look at what you are taking on, what is important vs what is urgent

2.      Be mindful of where you put your attention to

3.      Meditate and believe there is something beyond the challenge

4.      Act

5.      Become committed to who you want to be

6.      Have the courage to decide not to be overwhelmed

Important stories:

🎯 8:20 My thoughts on heart rate variability

🎯 14:43 Story of a guy who wanted to meet his Buddhist Guru

Send us a message and tell us what is your biggest takeaway about this episode. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼


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About Pete Cohen: Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading life coaches and keynote speakers. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been motivated and inspired by Pete’s presentations. He has professionally impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide, including business executives, professional athletes, and everyday people.  Pete focuses on the importance of closing the gap in our lives between where we are and where we want to be, both personally and professionally.

It’s then all about coaching you to remove the obstacles that are in your way and helping you install the habits of success.

Pete is the author of 20 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years.

Pete Cohen 0:00
Happy beautiful, amazing day it is Pete Cohen. It is the Future Self podcast. Today's podcast is called Stop! How to Overcome Overwhelm. I'll see you after the theme tune

Pete Cohen 0:34
Guten Morgen to all of you guys happy beautiful thank you so much for being Guten Morgen. Good afternoon good evening. Good and life to all of you. And thank you so much for being here. Just thought of a word. L'chaim who knows what the Korean means. That's a Hebrew word for long life. And I wish all of you a long, happy, fulfilled life. And I think in the subject of overwhelm, which I'm sure is something we can all relate to. Everyone who's listening to this podcast, at some point in their life has felt overwhelmed. But I suppose let's start off with a definition of what overwhelm is. What does it mean to you? Well, you can go along to that dictionary, and you can type it in and you'll find that all the meanings are very similar, buried or drowned beneath a huge mass of something.

Pete Cohen 1:36
Isn't that interesting? Because when I hear that, I think Well, imagine if you were underneath something like rocks or something fell on you an avalanche and you will you're overwhelmed by the fact that there's a mass that is on top of you. And hopefully none of you have ever had that experience before. But I think from a mental point of view, how many of us have ever felt buried or drowned beneath a huge mass of something and I remember reading Jim quicks book called Good to Great and he talks about, if you have more than three priorities in your life, then you have none. Because the brain simply can't cope with too many things. And we know that we live in a world today with there is so much information out there. There are so many people out there that are literally trying to manipulate the way we think, the way we act the way we feel for their game as opposed to our game. I mean, that's just the world that we live in. And I'm not here to judge it. I'm just so that's it. That's the you know, the right now and I wonder how many messages you've got. I've got 1353 emails. How many messages have I got on I don't even want to look at that to be honest. Because I might start to feel overwhelmed on telegram I can see there's 307 messages and there's just messages everywhere. I've got 130 messages on Discord. It's just crazy, right? So I'm very mindful of where I put my attention and I think probably like a lot of people who have a lot of enthusiasm, like I do a lot of energy has spent a large amount of his life living in fear. It's very easy for me to be overwhelmed. And this has been spoken about for centuries. And many people talk about, you know, what's the antidote to overwhelm? Well, that's part of what I want. To discuss in this podcast today. But when we think about what has over overwhelm happened, because the fact is, if we're going to change anything, we've got to become aware. First of all, we've got to be able to step back and observe the experience of being us observe the overwhelm. You know, where is it coming from? How is it happening? That basically our nervous system manages stress, which is what we would say overwhelm is you become overwhelmed mainly because of what you're processing what you think what you feel, and your brain is trying to manage that. How does it manage it? It manages it through your nervous system. Your nervous system is ultimately your autonomic nervous system, which goes from your brain through your spinal cord and it basically controls your organs, your glands, your tissues, it's just it's amazing that we have this system all the time is trying to work for us but with this autonomic nervous system we have what some people will call the PNS in the CNS SNS, which is the parasympathetic, nervous, sympathetic, sorry, the Para, nervous sympathetic system and the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic is about rest and relaxation and the sympathetic is the flight and flight response that kicks in so we have the ability, right, this is the most amazing thing about human beings, right is that we have a choice. We can either choose to let rest and relaxation happen, and we can choose to let the fight and flight response. It's incredible that we actually have that choice, and it's part of our evolution. That's why we're here today. That's to give thanks for the systems that we have inherited. But we're living in a very different world, right? You think about how much time were the cavemen so overwhelmed? Well, they didn't have too many things that were stimulating them to think they didn't have Facebook. They didn't have TV, they were just literally it's all about survival. Life was about survival, the survival of the fittest. Well, I wouldn't say it was the fittest I would say it was survival of the people that could adapt the quickest and human beings adapted and continuously adapted, but we adapt still with these systems within us. And if we don't become aware of what these systems are doing,

Pete Cohen 5:48
we become a victim to how we've been living our life. I mean, this must make so much common sense to everyone but common sense doesn't necessarily result in common practice of understanding look, if a tiger literally you saw a tiger right now and you could see the tiger wasn't happy. What would you do? You know, chances are you wouldn't go plenty Tiger over them got time to this. Immediately the fight flight response would kick in, or actually would simply say the fight flight and the freeze response, which is something a lot of people have today. The freedom of not knowing what to do and being stuck in that place. And we've done podcasts on this when you start to ruminate. You just stuck in that gap of not actually advancing or staying where you are. But most of us I would imagine, at some point would run away. We wouldn't go and attack a tiger. Good luck. You know, unless you have a weapon of some description, you're probably going to come out worse. But as soon as you've got away from that tiger, you're not going to stay in that response. Once you know that you're safe. The the other system will kick in which is the rest and relaxation system is need to work in balance. And I think most of us know we're living in a world where we're just out of balance. How many of us in our life are there the burnout? How do we burn out? Well, because we are out of balance emotionally, physically, chemically, we were out of balance. Some people might even say out of balance spiritually depends. You know what your beliefs are soulfully out of balance. You know, you're just hanging in the air. So it was Bruce Lipton, who Lipton, who some of you have maybe heard about, who said, We can be in growth, we can't be in growth and protection at the same time. You can only do one or the other. You can't be running away from danger. Thinking about having a good night's sleep. You know, lit your you can't be doing the same thing at the same time. So you're either in one system or the other. And many years ago, I came across heart rate variability and I can't remember why I came across I think because I was sick. I was burnout in my 20s was horrendous. You know, there were days I didn't want to be alive. anymore. I was had no idea of what I was doing. I'd know I knew what I was doing. But I didn't know that I had a choice about how I was moving through the world. I only knew one speed which was fast. You know, that's the speed that I was living my life. And you can't keep living at that speed. A lot of people can do it when they're young, but there's no there's a payback for everything. And Heart Rate Variability was something I came across. And I found it fascinating in terms of what the heart was doing in between beats in terms of how you were thinking was affecting the heart rate. This was like going beneath

Pete Cohen 8:24
your resting heart rate. Now I have a very rest I have a very low resting heart rate. My resting heart rate is about 50 And that's because I'm pretty damn fit to be honest, you know what I've exercised all my life and I times checkups and stuff they said if you got a heart problem because they don't often see too many people in their 50s that have such a low heart rate. Well, that's a sign of fitness. But then there's a sign beneath that sign of kind of what the rhythm of the heart in between the beats and heart rate variability. There's a whole that's called Heart Math. It's a bit of brilliant and I really got involved in this and I like many things. I practiced it for a bit and then stopped. I got many athletes to do it because we knew rest and relaxation for athletes is as important as training right. And the athletes that don't rest hard I'm remember reading about Michael Phelps, you know one of the greatest athlete of all time, I think he's got more gold medals than anybody else that literally would sleep for nine and a half hours every single night, but he would train every single day. And most of us are training every day in some way. We might not be training physically and if we're not training physically, we're going to have a problem because what we'll talk about that in a minute, what we got to do is get the brain to see what the body is doing. And that's why Heart Math is a great tool that you know there's there's an app you can get and you can you can train yourself, to focus on your heart and to calm yourself down and to activate the part of your nervous system that is responsible for rest and relaxation. But you've got to get the brain to see what the body is doing. Because when it comes to feeling overwhelmed, which we can call stress, you've got two choices. You can either eliminate the stress or you can increase your capacity to deal with the stress or you can learn to do both. You know because I think a life without stress would be boring. You know think about this. If I said to all of you, Hey everyone, you can have a holiday How long do you want? You can have a holiday How long do you want you can have as long as you want, how long do you want tell me long as you want you can just tell me how long you want. How long do you want? You know some people might go out and three weeks, four weeks, some people two weeks some people might say the rest of their life. But how long would it be if to say you know what, I'm bored of this. Why? What would you need? What would you want? Most people would want some sort of stress, some sort of challenge. And I'm going to throw out the biggest challenge to all of you in in knowing that. Nothing. There's no growth without stress. Just look outside it. You know, yesterday we were bombarded by winds. You know Can the tree can the grass still grow with that stress? Can it grow with freezing temperatures, extreme hot temperatures, that our ability to grow really is about our ability to deal with stress, but we have to increase our capacity to it. It's I don't think you're ever going to eliminate stress completely. But you can definitely eliminate the illusions that we create in our mind. And this is really important because we know that we don't change when we're told what to do, right who likes to be told what to do. Go tidy your room. Excuse me. Who are you to tell me to tidy my room we change when our perspective changes. And to know what the mind does the mind is a trickster. The mind the mind plays tricks on us. We know that right now your mind could be playing a trick on you right? thinking oh, I don't need to listen to this anymore. I'm gonna go somewhere else. I'm gonna go and look for something else. What are you looking for? When you're scrolling and you're just you're just distracting yourself? What are you looking for? And if you did find what you were looking for, what would that be? Would it be a holiday in Malibu? Or maybe for a bit but then what? Where do you want to grow? Where do you want to advance? Where do you want to dominate? What's the territory you want to occupy? So to be able to overcome overwhelm? The first step is you've got to become aware and if you're in a challenge, which is extremely overwhelming, which many of us face in life, is to believe that there is something beyond this even though you're not might not necessarily see it? Because we are not designed to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders right you know that and when we when we try to take on more stress than another system can adapt it. We feel overwhelmed. That's what that's what really overwhelm is. And I speak to people all the time. That's how I feel overwhelmed. Is that like, let's just stop for a second. Let's just stop and look.

Pete Cohen 13:12
And what are you taking on? You know, the CBC say that 80% of diseases are stress related. And if you listen to the podcast, you know, you hear me say be the change that you want to see in this world. You know, Ghandi said that he said and if you can't be that change, get out of the way and support the person who carob so today I wrote down why don't we be the calm for others, be the change for others.

Pete Cohen 13:43
I feel so powerful is so profound and this is another reason why the practice of mindfulness meditation is so important because when we practice these things, we have the opportunity to go beyond our overwhelm. We have the opportunity to go to a space within us. Well, there's something more so if you've ever felt or gone through anything difficult in your life, have you ever been aware that there's more to you than just that experience? Look, think of your brain if and its capacity to manage stress, like I can empty I've got a big vat of water here and once again, it's half full or is it half empty? You heard that story of the guy that wants to meet his Buddhist guru. So he travels to China and he goes to this remote area and he has to climb up this mountain for like three days and he finally arrives into this cave and he's met by his guru and they sit down they start talking to each other. And the guru interrupts this man and says, Would you like a cup of tea? And the guy's going in his head and it's a bit rude. You just interrupted me mid flows. Okay. So the tea comes along and the guy carries and talking and talking and talking. Then the Guru is just pause the tea into the cup and literally just keeps pouring and pouring and pouring till the cup fills up. It goes over the cup onto the table and onto our on the hot water. The boiling water goes on the guy's leg because what you're doing what you're doing, you're burning me. And the guru says, Listen, you will like the cup. You're so overwhelmed, over consumed by everything that you think you need to know that there's no space for something else. And just to become aware, is so important. So in terms of how to overcome fear because you know, with this vat of water right now if I went into a tap and poured it up and just kept pouring and pouring and pouring it, there's only a that jar only has a certain capacity, it can only take so much. And that's the same with us. Can we increase our capacity? I think yeah, of course we can. We can that's why we train. Again, that's why we created some one start one. This challenge to people get better you can decide what you want. To stop doing. And you can decide what you want to start doing that over time would result in the world seeing a better version of you. So as a this is the this is the three things I really want to share with you which is the when you're feeling overwhelmed, just start off by just assessing the age just to assess the situation. Be curious about it. Don't judge it. Don't analyze it. Don't stress it it just acknowledge the circumstances. You know, it's like her Deepak Chopra talk talking about this or Chopra however you choose to pronounce his name that he says Who who is the thought, who's having the thought. Because if you're observing the thoughts, are you not the thought that there's a thought happening as if you are watching yourself having that thought as a real heightened sense of awareness to realize, okay, Where's that coming from? To be able to become the person that you need to be in order for you to see what you're doing to yourself, and you acknowledge the circumstances rather than trying to run away from it and this is why working with a coach or working with someone or being around like minded people to help you make sense of the experience of going through the s is that to strategize that there's many different strategies to to deal with stress. I mean, look, one is definitely to breathe because we can only do one thing at a time. You know, it's like saying to people, hey, look up to the sky and feel depressed. Or whatever I said is to people look up and feel down and people look down. I didn't tell them to look down. They just know that that's how to feel down. You got to look down to feel down I mean, it's your look up everyone look up right now. Unless of course you're driving or operating machinery. Look up and feel depressed. Or feel overwhelmed. It's impossible. I mean, surely, someone can do it if they worked hard enough at it. But there are such simple answers. Just like breathing if you became aware of your overwhelm and you just took a moment to follow your breath.

Pete Cohen 18:38
Of course, the overwhelm might come back, then you can always go back to your breath because we can only do one thing at a time. We only human beings, we we are terrible at multitasking. And that's what we're often doing when we're overworked when we're feeling overwhelmed, but just doing too many things at one time. And that's about the strategy. What's my strategy? Everyone needs a strategy, right? Everybody needs a support network. But often the support network just supports people as they are not as they want them to do. Do you want to be? And then the third is to act you know what what could you act on? Now with stop one start one, you know what, stop stop taking on too much. You know, what we do is we teach you to have a relationship to your future self, which might seem bizarre to a lot of people but you're going to become your future self. But I'm not talking about your future self tomorrow or next week or next month. I'm talking about the future maybe in six months or a year or five years. Who can guide you if you start listening to that version of you who will say stop taking on too much. Just do one thing at a time. start communicating with your future self. Stop keeping this to yourself. Data support network, stop ruminating about all of this. Start exercising I mean exercise. I exercise just before I did restarted doing this, you know, just like half an hour why? Well it boosts my mood it breaks down stress hormones, it increases serotonin and every cell of my body is charged by it. Stop pretending stop, get a coach. Find it again. I've already said it but get a support. So in terms of giving you something think about this AASA says strategize an act. And unfortunately this is work. This is something we need to take responsibility for. No one can do this for you. But it will be one of the greatest things you do is how you manage the situation that you're in and it's so bizarre saying this because when something massive flashback to when I was 19 and I played a lot of football to a high level, got a groin injury. I was teaching aerobics in the gym I was working in and I started getting this horrendous groin pain and I had went to see the top groin specialists in the country. They wanted to wire my pelvis together. And there was something in my head that went in and maybe there's another way. So as kind of as a last resort I went to acupuncturist called Mike eat off in Cheltenham, where I lived and I never forget he was just a beautiful man. He was so kind. We became really good friends. And I just remember him saying to me once that you know a great life is your ability to manage what's going on. But how do we manage that? Well, we got it practice. So we're ready for what's coming. Good, bad, indifferent. Think about that. Take time in and write down. When do you feel overwhelmed? It's got to break that pattern. That's why people often smoke by the way. Often people smoke because they feel overwhelmed. They go outside, they smoke now it's not the smoking. That makes the difference. What makes the difference is they're stepping away and they're actually breathing. They just happen to be taking in some dangerous chemicals into their body every single time. So now's the time for us to assess in an in a new way to acknowledge the circumstances say You know what, it's okay to strategize to act in a different way. Because if you don't act in a different way, you'll keep acting in the way that you've always acted and you'll keep getting what you've always got. Because you've always do what you've always got. We've got so then you can start to when you can start well what's important now write that word down when what's important now, because ultimately there's only one competition right? I think that's the one we have with ourselves. It's it's it's not a bad idea to look at what other people are doing and be inspired by others but not to compare yourself necessarily to others to be inspired by you know, if you're in an environment that supports you, which is what we have created in what will become a global movement and stop one start one. People who are curious they want to know last night we had a zoom call with people that are on on the program and we were asking everyone, what are your stops? It was amazing to hear some of these stories of what people are actually doing. And the fact that other people would listen to what other people were saying. But what we got to do, I think is what's important now and Stephen Covey talks about this and in terms of what's important versus what's urgent. I think a lot of the time we just get caught up in what we think is urgent. We're just the stress response is running all the time rather than hang on what's important.

Pete Cohen 23:38
Right now you you have 100% my attention, because this is important to me, this isn't urgent. So there's a fire. You need to go and deal with it. All the stuff we did we think is urgent, often isn't. It's just waking up to the fact of what really is important. And I would say what's important is knowing who you are, knowing what your virtue. We look at a great human being a great human being I would say they know who they want to be. They know who that person is. And they know that the shoes they need to bring into place to be that person. And we were talking about definitely courage and self control. And optimism, awareness. Know what we stand for. And this is the thing I really want to share with you who are you seriously committed to becoming? Because once you become committed to becoming more than what you are becoming better than what you are, you know that you're healthier, you've got more energy, you've got more vitality again, I was watching a video with Deepak Chopra talking, you know the guy 72 He looks like he's 40 Because he's he's reinventing himself. He's not buying into some outdated ideas, and he realizes there's more to life than perhaps what he's experiencing right now. And I quote this a lot, Viktor Frankl everything can be taken from man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms which is to choose one's attitude, in any given set of circumstances to choose one's own way. And as Winston Churchill said success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. So when I want to just finish up, Mr. Talk about something we talked about in a previous podcast is about courage. It takes courage to decide not to be overwhelmed and to take to step back from your thoughts and realize there's always a choice. I think courage is humanity at its finest. The courage to move through fear, the courage to train, you know, when we look at it, there are two elements to it, the willingness to act and the ability to control fear. And courage means to heart. It comes back to the heart just like I spoke about in the beginning. Heart rate variability. Courage means heart. That's what it means. It comes from the same word as heart and its origin. Just like your heart pumps blood to your vital organs, Courage vitalizes all other virtues. Are you ready to become more of a greatest person? Are you ready to show the world what you're all about? You've only just got started this this journey to becoming the best version of yourself. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and for listening to the podcast. And I can't wait. Take a moment to think about what was your biggest takeaway from what you've just heard?

Unknown Speaker 26:44
Let's flip the coin

Pete Cohen 26:45
This is how we do so take a few take a few moments. Time is now big smile on your face and say so what the best is yet to come. What's the biggest takeaway from this podcast? Please subscribe to share it with the world the Future Self podcast. Six years old 400 episodes. We are consistent. Thank you so much.


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