I’m feeling overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed? Find out some of the reasons that people get overwhelmed, and use them as a guide to figure out how you can face the real problem. If you’ve tried it and nothing works, there might be something else going on.

This can help if:

  • You can’t cope with life problems
  • Too much is happening, you can’t handle it
  • Everyone is pressuring you
  • You feel lost
Back of girl with pole on shoulder

Reasons people often feel overwhelmed

It’s common to feel so overwhelmed sometimes, to the point where you feel like everything is too hard. It can be difficult to work out why you are feeling so hopeless. Identifying the things that are contributing to the feeling will allow you to work out how to deal with it and get a bit of relief. Remember– it’s just a feeling and is likely to pass.

Some of the big reasons people get overwhelmed:

  • Someone is always on your back, and you don’t know how to deal with the situation
  • There’s a situation that you’re afraid of and you don’t know how to face it
  • You’re over-committed and feel like you’re in over your head– trying to get too much done
  • You don’t know what’s happening around you, and it’s getting you down

You’ve got to face it

When everything seems so endless, feeling overwhelmed is normal. Don’t worry– you can face it. You just need to figure out how to tackle problems and cope with things that aren’t going your way.

  • Figure out the real problem: Not what somebody else did or is doing, but what the real thing that’s overwhelming you is.
  • Figure out what you can change: Look at the problem realistically. What bits of it can you change? Remember, one of those bits might be the way you’re thinking about it.
  • Figure out how you will do it: Write down or type out all of the things you can do to make that change happen. Then scrap the unlikely ones, and give yourself a couple of things to try.

If you can’t change it, sometimes you have to accept it– and that’s not easy. Get some information on coping skills and how they help or try meditation out to see if it helps you focus your thoughts a bit.

If nothing is working

If you often feel overwhelmed, and none of these tips make a difference, there might be something more serious preventing you from feeling able to cope. Sometimes people get caught in a habit of negative thinking or being down on themselves, and need more help to get out of it. Learn about anxiety and depression- two of the more serious problems people often deal with. It can be hard to know where to find the right support you need. ReachOut NextStep is an anonymous online tool that recommends relevant support options based on what you want help with. Try ReachOut NextStep to learn about the support options available for you.

If you want to hear from others, watch this 3 minute video about how young people cope with feeling overwhelmed.

If the way you’re thinking is getting in the way of you living your life, see if someone can help you learn better ways to think!

What can I do now?

  • Try writing down all the things you have to do.
  • Learn how to break tasks down into manageable goals.
  • Get help from others where possible. 
  • Get personalised support for when you're feeling overwhelmed with the ReachOut NextStep tool.
Last reviewed: 15 April, 2016
Did you find this article helpful?

You have already rated this article

Add a comment

Read the commenting guidelines: keep ReachOut.com safe and respectful


  • ClaytZ86    (1277 days ago)

    Thank you, Sophie. I have signed up to the forums, and hopefully someone replies. But I still feel like no one listens... But I appreciate that you took the time to reply. I may call the hotline later, depending on how I feel. I just feel like crap at the moment.

  • Sophie-RO    (1285 days ago)

    Hey Claytz, remember all the help options we've suggested before (http://au.reachout.com//All-about-loneliness) - when you are feeling overwhelmed or like you can't cope any more, that's the time to get in touch with suicide call back service www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

  • ClaytZ86    (1289 days ago)

    And what if you can't change. And it's just the way you are? I can't cope anymore, because I feel like there's nothing I can do about this condition that ruins my life everyday (and there's no cure).