Differentiating Stressed from Overwhelmed – Why is this important?

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Free Chapter of the MINDSET ZONE Book

“When we use ‘stressed’ and ‘overwhelmed’ as the same, we lose a container for when things get really overwhelming—when we feel upside down and underwater.”

– Ana Melikian

Have you ever noticed how drinking your morning coffee from your favorite mug makes that experience magical? In her book, Atlas of the Heart, American researcher and storyteller Brené Brown writes about how naming emotions is important. Words, according to Brené Brown, are like containers that shape our emotions. The right or wrong word gives a different feeling for our emotions and experience the same way drinking from our favorite mug or a styrofoam cup changes our experiences with coffee. Applying this logic, I believe understanding the difference between “stressed” and “overwhelmed” can make all the difference in our lives and expand our possibilities.

In this episode, I highlight the difference between “stressed” and “overwhelmed” and explain how understanding their difference can empower us. I share an excerpt from Brené Brown’s Atlas of the Heart and describe her research on emotions. I discuss why we tend to overuse the word “overwhelm” and how using “overwhelmed” and “stressed” interchangeably impacts us. I also outline some steps you can take when you feel chronic stress or overwhelm and underscore the importance of learning more words to describe your emotional life.

Ana Melikian

This week on The Mindset Zone:

  • Understanding the difference between “stressed” and “overwhelmed”
  • Why we tend to overuse “overwhelm”
  • The etymology of “overwhelm”
  • The disadvantage of using “overwhelmed” and “stressed” interchangeably
  • What to do when you feel chronic stress
  • Why we shouldn’t force anything when we’re overwhelmed

Resources Mentioned:

Related Episodes:

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