Here at Integrative Psychiatry in Austin, we take a unique approach to mental health concerns. Many of our clients struggle with being overwhelmed. In today’s blog post, we’re sharing a few thoughts on the subject. If you’re looking for holistic psychiatric care, contact our professionals today.


Monitoring and Mindfulness

Bringing awareness to a situation is one of the most powerful first steps to change. If we are not aware of a habit or thought of ours, then it has power over us. Us beginning to have power involves us recognizing it and recognizing its qualities. These qualities involve how certain thoughts “feel” like, how we can accept feedback when someone points those thoughts out to us, engaging in pre planned behaviors to cope. 


Try Breathing Exercises

Breathing is one of the simplest ways to relax, and there are many different techniques we can try!  One basic breathing exercise is to simply count to four as you inhale, hold your breath for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of four. You can also try alternate nostril breathing, which is said to help balance the left and right sides of the brain. 


Build a resource list

When in the moment of being overwhelmed, our prefrontal cortex, the part that is responsible for thinking, goes offline. As a result a lot of behaviors that we engage in when we are overwhelmed, are a reaction to our environment and are not well thought out. We can plan for those times as to how we are going to recognize certain patterns of thoughts or behaviors that we regularly engage in. Also at that time building a list that can help with the intensity of our behaviors is useful. It will not be useful, for example, to try meditating when our emotions are at a level of 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being completely overwhelmed and 1 being in a calm state). 


Remove yourself from the environment

One of the first things that can be useful is to remove ourselves from the environment that is causing the thoughts or the behavior. If we are alone and getting overwhelmed, being around people can help. Similarly if we are escalating and getting mad at someone, then removing ourself from the vicinity of that person can be helpful. 


Take a Break!

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it can be helpful to take a break. This doesn’t mean that you’re taking a vacation from work or responsibilities, but rather that you’re taking a few minutes (or even an hour) for yourself. Try meditating, reading, or spending time in nature. Or, if you need to take a break from work, try taking a walk around the block or listening to calming music. 


Change your state

It is often a common mistake that people try to think of a solution when they are overwhelmed. As mentioned above our problem-solving depends less on our thoughts more on our body’s state. So it becomes important to learn more about our states and how to change them. 


Get Moving

Exercise is another great way to change your state! Not only does it get your body moving, but it also releases endorphins, which can make you feel happier and more relaxed. If you’re not sure where to start, try going for a walk or taking a yoga class. If you have access to a pool, swimming is also a great way to relax your body and mind. 


Address the polarization

We strive to find the whole in the fragmentation of ourselves and the world around us, with the goal of helping our patients live happy, healthy lives.We live fragmented lives in a fragmented world. By fragmentation we are referring to the black and white, yes and no, presence and non present polarizations that we live with. We strive to achieve one pole of a character. Like we strive to be “good” and we measure ourself based on that polarization. Polarization invariably leads to tension and distress. We try to figure out which extreme to be at. The working to get away from the “bad” and move towards the “good” can cause tension. This tension can be useful but if this tension is too much then we can start to become overwhelmed. Recognizing this will cause us to soften our attempts of “not being good” and “being good” which can result in improving out coping ability. 


Schedule Worry Time

If you find yourself constantly worrying, it can be helpful to schedule worry time. This means that you set aside a specific time each day (or week) to worry about things that are bothering you. During your worry time, allow yourself to fully focus on your concerns and brainstorm possible solutions. However, make sure that you don’t spend any other part of your day worrying about these things! This will help you to relax and feel more in control. 

We hope that these tips will help you to start feeling more relaxed. If you’re struggling with anxiety or stress, please contact us. We can help you develop a treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs. Contact Integrative Psychiatry in Austin to schedule an appointment. If you’re interested in taking your healing journey deeper, learn more about Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy with our sister clinic, Blossom