In A Better You, Wellbeing

What Does Overwhelmed Mean?


Many people have heard the term overwhelming, but not every person understands the meaning of overwhelmed. The dictionary’s definition of overwhelmed is “very strong” or “in great amount.” The term overwhelming usually refers to a person’s emotions. Overwhelming emotions can be positive or negative, and they can occur for a wide variety of reasons. Some common dictionary synonyms for overwhelming are uncontrollable and irrepressible. Forceful is another overwhelming synonym. Additionally, swamped, engulfed or submerged could substitute as an overwhelmed synonym.

Trying to Define Overwhelmed

Trying to define overwhelmed from an emotional aspect is difficult, especially for a person who does not have the capacity to communicate the feeling. From an emotional standpoint, an overwhelmed feeling is one that can incapacitate a person so much that he or she can no longer move or think in a coordinated fashion. Some people have breathing problems when they feel overwhelmed by negativity. The feeling takes over their minds, bodies and souls for an undefined amount of time.

Positively Overwhelmed Definition

A positive overwhelming feeling does not affect a person the same way a negative feeling does. The positive overwhelming feeling may resemble intoxication from the best drug or the most relaxing alcoholic beverage. Again, the overwhelming feeling grabs hold of the person’s faculties, and the light from the good feelings shines brightly on other people in that person’s vicinity. The overwhelmed person may laugh or giggle. He or she may feel like hugging strangers or family members. Other positive feelings may erupt, as well. The positively overwhelmed person may desperately want to share the goodness with other people.

Anxiously Overwhelmed Meaning

An anxiously overwhelming feeling can be negative or positive. A person may feel as if there are not enough hours in the day to complete the tasks that he or she needs to perform. An individual could feel overwhelmed at work because the boss has allotted too many tasks. The worker could feel overwhelmed because of an internal pressure to be the best at a certain position. An anxious overwhelming feeling can come over brides or grooms right before a wedding. They may worry if they are good enough for each other. They may wonder if their relationship can stand the test of time. Another example of an anxious overwhelming feeling is one that comes across a driver right before a crucial driving test.

Who Gets Overwhelmed Feelings?

Everyone can become overwhelmed by his or her environment or events that occur in life. Some people are more susceptible to becoming overwhelmed than other people are. For example, a person who has a mental illness that affects his or her mood regulation could easily become overwhelmed. Examples of such illnesses are bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and depression. The individuals with the aforementioned illnesses may not have the tools necessary to avoid becoming engulfed by their emotions. Therefore, they tend to become overwhelmed when a major life event occurs.

Persons who have survived childhood and adult abuse have a tendency to become overwhelmed easily, as well. Such people may suffer from low self-esteem and confidence, and they may lack healthy coping mechanisms. Abused persons usually need therapy sessions to teach them to feel better about themselves so that they can handle the burdens of everyday life.

Substance abusers may suffer from fluctuating emotions because of their addictions. The fluctuation emotions may make it difficult for them to handle many of the challenges that come their way in life. Substance abusers may still be sensitive after they stop using drugs and alcohol because mood swings will occur.

Finally, senior citizens and very small children can become overwhelmed because they do not have the capacity to cope with situations that go against the grain of happy living. Children must learn how to cope with challenges from the adults who raise them. Senior citizens sometimes suffer cognitive decline, which can result in frustration and poor mood regulation.

What Makes People Overwhelmed?

The overwhelming definition in the dictionary does not explain the elements that bring about overwhelming feelings. The dictionary defines overwhelming by simply stating that a person has “forceful feelings.” Hundreds of situations and happenings can cause some forceful feelings. The following are a few of the most common negative events that can cause someone to become overwhelmed:

Loss of a Loved One

The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult events that people have to face. People can become overwhelmed quite easily after the initial shock wears off. A person can become overwhelmed by the memories of the loved one and the idea that they will never again see the person. Persons who have unresolved feelings about their loved one may suffer the most because of the lack of closure. Dealing with the death of a loved one may overwhelm a person for days, weeks, months or years. Most employers provide bereavement days for this very reason.

Job Loss

A job loss can hit a person like a ton of bricks. The length of the person’s employment will play a huge role in his or her level of engulfment. In some ways, the loss of a job may feel like a death. The person may spend days wondering what he or she could have done better at the job. The individual may be hurt by the circumstance surrounding the termination. The person may not know whether survival is in the future.

Relationship Deterioration

The end of a long-term relationship or a marriage is another event that can overwhelm a person. People visualize spending eternity with their mates. Finding out that their dreams will never come true is painful. That pain can take over if the person is not careful. The person may feel unworthy of love or too incompetent to maintain a long-term relationship. Depression may begin. A happy future may seem impossible.

Financial Worries

Financial worries can cause anxious overwhelming feelings or depressed overwhelming feelings. Most people desire to have just enough money to pay their bills. Sadness, nervousness and despair can kick in when maintaining one’s home seems impossible.

Some events can cause a person to become positively overwhelmed. The following are some examples of those triggers:

A Job Promotion

A worker can become positively overwhelmed by a job promotion. A newly promoted worker will feel special, superior and privileged. These feelings may cause the person to become overly elated to the point of celebrating, which is not a bad thing.

The Birth of a New Child

The birth of a new child overwhelms many mothers and fathers. The idea that two people created a gorgeous little life is fantastic and precious. Many new parents cry when they hold their babies for the first time. Crying is an example of being overwhelmed with joy.

The Acceptance of a Deity

Many groups of people have rituals during which they pledge themselves to their deity in a ceremony. It is not uncommon for a person to become overwhelmed with positive feelings during such a ceremony. Some people claim that they feel good spirits enter their bodies during their special moment in the ceremony.

Winning the Lottery

Winning the lottery is a bonafide trigger for overwhelming feelings. A person can become pleasantly overwhelmed after hearing that he or she will never have to worry about bills for the duration of his or her lifetime.

Symptoms of Dangerous Overwhelming Feelings

A person can become overwhelmed with sad feelings, anxious feelings or angry feelings. Either of those feelings could cause mental illness and an overall unhealthy existence. Sadness can consume a person to the point of severe depression. The sadness may begin with crying and progress to fatigue and displeasure in activities that used to make the person happy. Next, the person may experience recurring obsessive thoughts about the original trigger. For example, the person may replay instances of abuse, the last conversation with a loved one, or the events leading up to a job loss.

Thoughts of harming oneself or harming another person are dangerous, and they define overwhelming sadness. Any person who feels such a way should contact a crisis hotline or visit the nearest hospital.

Anxious and nervous overwhelming feelings can wreak havoc on a person’s life. The individual may become consumed with worries about future events. The person may hide in the house and refuse to go outside. Paranoia may make the person think that everyone is out to get him or her. Furthermore, the person may experience physical signs of overwhelming anxiety such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, weight loss and the like. A professional should treat anxiety that causes missed work and failure to meet obligations.

Another feeling that can eat away at a person and overwhelm him or her is anger. Anger can come from many places. Anger can occur when an employer fires an employee. Anger can surface when an abusive party abuses a victim. Anger can manifest when a spouse or loved one cheats or abandons a partner. Additionally, anger can occur when human beings misunderstand other human beings. Overwhelming anger is an emotion that can lead to violence, manipulation, self-hatred and depression. Symptoms of anger include venomous rants, displeasure about a person or an organization, isolation, rumination and more. Everyone experiences anger from time to time. However, long-lasting consumption with anger is extremely dangerous. A person who is overwhelmed with anger will need to seek guidance to eliminate the feelings.

How to Deal With Being Overwhelmed

The first step in dealing with overwhelming feelings is realizing that one is overwhelmed. The person will have to take an honest look at his or her work life, family life and inner life. Seeking assistance from a counselor or therapist is a smart way to deal with feeling overwhelmed. Therapists and counselors can provide support and education. People who do not want to see a psychological therapist can use a different method. Talking to family members and friends about one’s feelings can be just as effective as speaking with a mental health specialist. Expressing feelings outward to someone who will listen objectively is the best method for minimizing the feelings. Other methods that a person may use to deal with overwhelming feelings are meditation and exercise. Exercise alters the brain chemistry and causes happy feelings while meditation relaxes the mind and the body.

Getting Treatment for Overwhelming Feelings

Medical specialists can assist with severe, uncontrollable overwhelming feelings. A suffering party will need to contact a provider and schedule an initial consultation. The specialist may recommend medicinal treatment in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy or an alternative therapy method. Group therapy can bring forth positive results since it involves other people who are going through the same crises.

Overwhelming feelings do not have to be the end of the world. A person can find solace through professionals who are dedicated to helping people return to healthy mindsets.

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