My knee-jerk reaction when this overwhelm came up was "fighting" the sense of overwhelm. I quickly became consciously aware of trying to push these feelings away and stopped myself in my tracks. I know very well that pushing away or "fighting" feelings DOES not serve me in any positive way and does not have the affect my mind thinks it will. I have so many methods in my self-help arsenal for positively handling negative emotions and being able to use them requires the first step of noticing I was trying to deny or fight my emotions that I didn't want. I do a lot of emotional processing and self-awareness work so it only took me a few seconds to notice. That's after years of practice. My old self would not have even noticed at all that I was pushing away my emotions.
The next step was choosing to do the very OPPOSITE: I welcomed the feeling of overwhelm. I welcomed my mixed bag of feelings. I did this literally, and out loud. Sometimes I just say it in my head, but these feelings are intensely strong so I felt I needed to put more energy and intention into it. With these feelings fully being felt in my body, I spoke: "Feelings of overwhelm, there you are, I welcome you!"
It seems so counter-intuitive at first to welcome something you want to experience LESS of, yet it's exactly the ONLY thing that allows you to NOT be overcome by any negative emotion you'll ever experience. And here's why: the tendency is to want to push away uncomfortable emotions when they arise. This is just a natural reaction of the human mind, and is reinforced by societal conditioning (which is a whole 'nother post in and of itself!). A few examples of this kind of societal conditioning: the belief that its not manly to cry; avoiding talking about negative emotions or events that bring up strong negative emotions; the belief that its not acceptable or "womanly" for a woman to get angry or act angry.
The problem is that when we try to push away negative emotions, we then create resistance within ourselves. We create resistance to what is actually happening in our mind and body. We are resisting our actual experience. This resistance keeps us stuck in the negative emotion we don't want to be experiencing because we are preventing the expression of it. The expression of it can only happen when we fully feel what we feel, and is literally the mechanism of release of that emotion from our being. The problem intensifies when we resist our feelings so fully that we actually push them into our subconscious mind and we then lose awareness of them. They become stuck or held at a level in the mind and body where it becomes very difficult to access them. While we believe we are experiencing less discomfort by not allowing ourselves to feel the full intensity of the negative emotions we have, we are in fact increasing our discomfort because we are trading short-term gain (not feeling the full intensity of expressing our emotions) for long-term pain (holding onto those negative emotions at a lower level of consciousness, and having them arise to be expressed over and over again until they can be fully expressed).
When I first felt the overwhelm and was unknowingly pushing that feeling away, I could feel my sense of helplessness increasing, and I could feel that feeling of "victim-hood" rising. I know this feeling is far more disempowering than the overwhelm itself for me. Welcoming my overwhelmed feeling was what allowed me to choose to NOT go into the downward spiral of feeling like a victim, but to instead to choose to reconnect to my intuition and faith and to take empowered action on my own behalf. I made a few phone calls - to AAA about towing my car, to a friend I could talk to who could help me connect to all my feelings, and a garage I trust to look at my car. This bolstered my sense of empowerment, which increased my energy and motivation, led to several sudden insights, and to me funneling TRANSFORMING that abundance of energy that started out very negatively into an extremely positive and productive day. I got far more done in the remainder of my day than I normally would have. My focus was razor sharp. I even felt energized enough to tackle my first blog post - this one!
Processing and expressing negative emotions can be very simple yet it's not always easy. It does become much easier with practice, and you can get to the point where you can express and be released from a negative emotion or emotions in seconds. I can help guide you through this, elaborate on the steps and coach you on how to internally process your emotions. Emotional work is one of the things I love the most in my healing practice. You don't have to fear your undesirable emotions. You can learn to turn them into fuel for productivity. You will actually start to appreciate them and value them as equally valid as any life experience.