5 Things You Can Do When You Feel Overwhelmed!

“Here at the Autism Treatment Center of America®, we truly understand that parents often feel overwhelmed with their everyday life, especially when having a child on the Autism Spectrum. As part of your Son-Rise Program training, you will hear us repeat the importance of your attitude, both in your daily life experiences as well as being a cornerstone of your Son-Rise Program for your child.

“Here are 5 tools as reminders and shortcuts for those times when you do feel overwhelmed:

1. Notice when you are feeling overwhelmed and pause! Take a moment to direct your attention inward, maybe just focus on your breath, and allow yourself to have just a little ‘space’ around this present moment and notice how that is a good-feeling place. This small action of shifting your attention into the present moment will ‘free’ you from overwhelm. Moreover, you can remind yourself you can do that shift of attention again in the future!

2. Ask yourself a (non-judgmental) question: ‘Hmm, I wonder what I believe in this moment of feeling overwhelmed?’…if you uncover your belief, you can ask the follow up question: ‘Why do I believe that?…this is a powerful way to unstick yourself from that experience of feeling overwhelmed…as everything we feel, say, and do, has a chosen belief which fuels it. For example, if I am believing I am failing as a parent, then the emotional experience of that thought will be discomfort.

3. The feeling of overwhelm comes from a judgmental belief. You can remind yourself that being non-judgmental (of yourself or others/situations) is powerful, not passive… and you have the ability to choose a comfortable feeling experience rather than overwhelm … even as you then go back to whatever you were doing.

4. Another useful question you can ask yourself: ‘What is something I truly want in this moment that I do have control to create?’ Often, overwhelm comes from a belief or an experience of helplessness/powerlessness. This question reminds us where all of our power lies: within the present moment and within our response to what is happening.

5. Maybe the moment of overwhelm is an opportunity to remind yourself: there is no wrongdoing…there is nothing bad…these are just judgments either others are using, or I am using to scare myself. What is most important: I love my child and I can love myself too!

“Remember: you are an amazing parent/caregiver/supporter. You are doing wonderfully…not perfectly. You are not meant to be perfect. Life is not perfect… and we don’t want it to be, because then there would be no adventure!”

Written by Suzanne Pruss, Son-Rise Program Teacher

One Response

  1. Ariane Armstrong says:

    This was very helpful as at the moment as I have been feeling very overwhelmed. Got a lot going on at home and friends being demanding so having to set boundaries which I find hard to do. This advice has helped me examine my beliefs around boundaries, where my vulnerability is coming from and changing my thinking around it, giving myself permission to set boundaries in order to put my focus where it is needed most, with my family. Thank you, great timing!

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