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Feeling Overwhelmed? Learn to Make it Manageable.

Surinder Bal, PhD

     It’s normal for us to feel overwhelmed from time to time but sometimes this can make us feel anxious – and there’s nothing comfortable about anxiety!

     When we’re anxious, we’re worried about things we see as being out of our control or we’re worried about not having the ability to achieve a certain outcome. When this is the case, we say our control center sits outside of ourselves – things external to us need to be right for us to feel good, so we feel helpless when they are not how we want them to be.

Anxious State: Out of Control: Power Out of Balance

Internal Locus of Control​


Feeling helpless, out of control, lack strength or resources to bring back balance in life. Feeling lightweight compared to the situation, out of control, anxiety.

External Locus of Control

External Locus of Control


Regret over something in the past, tension in a current situation, worried about something in the future. Heavy burden, negatively impacting my life, dragged down. They control me.

How to Deal With Anxiety

To deal with our anxiety we need to lean into it. Think about how you want to respond to it

rather than feel a victim of it. Thi​s brings the control center back to you.

The first step is to look at the situation and evaluate it. Determine what part of this

situation you can change, do something about and what part of it you realistically cannot control. It doesn’t matter how little or much of the situation we can control, we just need to find what we can influence – this is where our power lies!

In Control: Correcting the Power Balance: Managing the Situation

Internal Locus of Control

Add weight: Building strength and resilience

Manage stress from what you can’t control by adopting healthy life strategies: enjoyable exercise, socializing with friends and family, enjoying time on favorite hobbies, guided meditation, etc.


Put things into perspective compared to other aspects of your life. 

External Locus of Control

Reduce the burden: Ask, what is in my control?

What part of the situation can you tackle? Think about your personal resources, whose help can you enlist, or what resources can you acquire to help you, etc. Then, plan for what to do and how to do it. Even small changes can be hugely effective and empowering. 


Follow through

on your plan.

Have FAITH that things will work out in their own way. Every day we put our faith in things, consciously or unconsciously, make this one intentional. Life depends on us having faith.

You’re doing all you can to manage the situation – worrying about the rest will not make it any better.

You have the choice to be in control, and you can do it – go ahead, make that decision!

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