When Your Heart Is Overwhelmed: 6 Ways to Manage

March 29, 2017
Has life being a bit rough on you lately? This is normal. Here are some practical tips you can apply when your heart is overwhelmed!

Life isn’t easy. Even when things are going great, you may go through times when it’s just too much. Here’s what you can do when your heart is overwhelmed.

The important thing is to not let pessimism set in. It’s natural, and even healthy, to be sad, angry, or depressed. Nevertheless, it isn’t natural to remain that way.

Here are some ways to handle these tough moments and keep moving forward. You’ll see that it’s not about magic formulas, but rather about simple attitude adjustments.

What to do when your heart is overwhelmed

1. Be generous

when your heart is overwhelmed try to help others

It can be tough to help others when you’re feeling down. Nevertheless, this is also a great time to help others. When your heart is overwhelmed, it can be easy to get into a self-centered rut. However, being generous is food for your soul.

Instead of dwelling on what you don’t have, focus on what you can do to help someone else.

We recommend giving something to a total stranger. You don’t have to give a ton of money. In fact, you don’t have to give money at all. Maybe you’ll run into someone trying to carry heavy bags of groceries or having trouble crossing the street. Give them a hand!

Helping people will show you that, even if life seems too much right now and your heart is overwhelmed by worry, you can help another person. This will make it easier to remain in peace and see the positives in your life.

2. Sit and people watch

When your heart is overwhelmed, it’s common to turn inward and only think about yourself and your problems. Next time you feel that way, try going to a park or café with lots of people passing by.

Take a seat and observe the people. But remember, we said to observe; don’t just look at them. In other words, take a minute and watch someone and imagine who they might be. Look at their face and wonder what their life might be like.

This exercise will help you live in the moment and remember how kids smile all the time and what makes them happy. You’ll also see people who look sad or angry, and maybe even witness an unpleasant situation that you can’t do anything about.

You don’t have to talk to anyone or try to solve their problems. This purely observational exercise will help you be more aware of your limits, but also of your privileges.

3. Try some self-care

Is it your job that’s feeling like too much for you right now? Is your relationship not going well? If so, step away from the situation.

However, this isn’t running away. It’s just taking time to be alone and get your mood under control. The longer you stay in a situation like one of the above, the more likely it is that someone will say something they don’t mean.

Go home, make a nice cup of tea or coffee, and take a nap or a maybe even a bubble bath. Later, you can analyze what happened and see what’s really going on. Right now is about letting things cool off.

After, you’ll see that everything will be less negative and you’ll be in a position to make better decisions.

Interested? Read more: 7 Ways to Love Your Life

4. Love yourself

Are you feeling overwhelmed because of a relationship that isn’t good for you? Does it seem like your friends have suddenly decided you’re not good enough? It’s OK. In the end, you are the one who has to love yourself.

At first, give yourself a minute to consciously love yourself. Work on creating helpful habits:

  • Keep a thankfulness journal where you write one or two things every day that makes you special, reasons you love yourself.
  • Then, set aside time every week to be alone and treat yourself to a massage or a hobby you love.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror every night before bed and say “I love you.

A lack of self-love can make you accept situations and conditions that hurt you. Thus, you shouldn’t let this happen!

5. Educate yourself

There are times when you feel overwhelmed by situations that you don’t know how to handle. For example, maybe you always end up in debt at the end of the month no matter how much you work, or you keep getting passed over for that promotion.

educating yourself is key when your heart is overwhelmed

In situations like these, it’s important to figure out if the problem actually has to do with your emotions or skills. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything. Instead, look for ways to acquire the skills you’re missing.

The answer will depend on what you need:

  • For instance, a personal finance class if you don’t know how to manage your money.
  • A class or two to learn a skill that will help you advance at work.
  • On the other hand, you could also use psychological therapy to identify and resolve emotional issues that keep you in abusive relationships.

Remember that there’s no magic solution, and sometimes you have to stop and learn something. Once you do, it’ll be much easier to move forward.

Read more: The Importance of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

6. Get inspired

Find a spot in your home where positivity abounds. When your heart is overwhelmed, it’s easy to lose direction when you don’t take the time to be thankful and get inspired.

For instance, do you want to travel to Asia? Earn enough money to buy the house of your dreams? Whatever you want to accomplish, you need to keep that as your main focus. If not, you’ll lose yourself in the process of trying to reach your goals.

Get a notebook or find a place in your room to put pictures, quotes, and anything else that will remind you what you’re working towards. This will be your inspiration board: you will be able to see your plan and the future you’re crafting for yourself.

That way, when you’re feeling like you can’t handle life, you can go there and get your ideas, plans, and activities in order.


  • Schlossberg, N. K. (2007). Overwhelmed: Coping with life’s ups and downs. M. Evans.
  • Schulte, B. (2015). Overwhelmed: How to work, love, and play when no one has the time. Macmillan.
  • Hardy, L. (2003). Overburdened, Overwhelmed. American School Board Journal190(4), 18-23.
  • Vye, C., Welch, I. D., & Scholljegerdes, K. (2007). Under pressure and overwhelmed: Coping with anxiety in college. Greenwood Publishing Group.