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7 Ways to Avoid Being Overwhelmed by Needs

There are two places I see many of us human beings oscillate between. One is a disconnection from the world and all of its problems; the other is a realization of the world’s problems to a point of overwhelmed over-engagement. Because of this, people often eventually choose to again disengage.


My choice is still be to be engaged, but finding a path to avoid being over involved and overwhelmed has been a tricky one. Instead of shutting off compassion, I have had to learn to use tools that keep my life in check. Sometimes I slip off the path, but by and large I have maintained a long season in ministry by using these tools.


  • Pick your cause. Thinking we can be all things to all people is actually a form of pride. So, be a better person and limit your ministry. Even doing one thing well can make a huge difference in the lives of many. And when other needs come up (like the value of a compost in your backyard) if you can’t do it, remind yourself of what you ARE doing.
  • Ask for your Higher Power’s help. This is important enough that it should be number 1, but if you have no focus, it’s hard to know what to ask for help with. There’s no way I could do any of the good things I do without humbly asking for help, I am certain of this. So, make sure you don’t try this alone.
  • Ask for other people’s help. Sometimes doing good as a team is a lot more life-giving (and fun) than doing it solo.
  • Learn how to practice containment; separating yourself from your cause. There are healthy ways to disengage without totally disconnecting. Meditation is one example, a hot shower, a night of games with the family and so forth. Make sure you learn how to create and MAINTAIN a space for you to have a break.
  • Recognize the power of the Lie; embrace Truth. Many times it is the Lie that will try to tell me that I can’t, that I’m ineffective, or that its pointless to even try. The Lie can cause self-pity to encompass any of us who are unaware of its cunning baffling power. However, once aware of how this voice works to trick us out of healthy good, and by relying on truth and evidence to the contrary instead, this power usually vanishes and people experience freedom.
  • Take it One.Day.At.A.Time This is one of the most valuable principles the 12 Step programs have taught me. The only thing that matters is what I’m supposed to do right now. If I slow down; simply focus on that, and not the mountain of weeks and months ahead, I calm down and have more energy to complete the task.
  • Have a Break Down. In my opinion anyone who is trying to make a difference in this world needs an occasional meltdown. Find safe friend(s) you can totally lose it with that will listen, validate you and AVOID trying to fix it for you. Once you are allowed to get that out, you’ll likely feel less overwhelmed.


Jennifer Dawn Watts, MA specializes in the areas of self care and spirituality, as well as many others. For more information on Jennifer and  her work, click here to link to her full bio page.