How INFJs can deal with overwhelm

Can I ask you a question? How overwhelmed are you feeling right now? Go ahead and give yourself a rating on a scale of 1-10 of your "overwhelmedness." On this scale:

→ 10 equals, "I'm so overwhelmed that I'm near my breaking point."
→ 1 equals, "I'm not overwhelmed at all. Everything is peaceful and under control."

What's your score?

If you're currently in the 1-5 range, that's fantastic! Way to go! (Oh, and what's your secret? Haha...just kidding!) You might want to hold on to this email if you ever find yourself pushed over the 5 mark.

If you're living in the 6-10 range, I first want you to know I've been there, on more occasions than I'd like to admit. I understand that you may be dealing with a set of absurd circumstances. Before you get too discouraged, read on, my friend, read on. Help is on the way!

Why do INFJs get overwhelmed?

1. You feel the weight of wanting to make a difference.

As an INFJ, you're driven by the desire to help others. You want to right wrongs. You're interested in figuring out why things are the way they are and then working on a solution. You'd prefer to fix the heart of the issue rather than throwing a band-aid on the issue. This can feel overwhelming and paralyzing. You also focus on what might happen, so you plan and prepare for these scenarios. This is a lot of responsibility we put on ourselves, isn't it?

2. You have high expectations. And that's an understatement.

I've written to you before about your high expectations, but it's worth pointing out here again. It's easy to get overwhelmed by your own expectations. Add to that the overwhelm you feel when others drop the ball and don't meet your expectations. High expectations, along with perfectionism, can make you feel overwhelmed, sad, and disappointed.

3. Both of the above (and more) can cause anxiety.

Feeling like your purpose is to make a difference, and wanting to do it really well, is enough to generate anxiety in your life. That bar you're reaching for keeps moving, doesn't it? Also, anxiety makes it difficult to focus on anything...except the anxiety!

How can you kick your overwhelm to the curb?

1. Focus on what you can control.

You can't control that your mom is an alcoholic. You can't control that your dad has cancer. You can't control that your brother is a pathological liar. What can you control in these situations? You can only control your response. Can you choose to put up boundaries? Absolutely. You can also choose to take care of yourself despite your circumstances. If you don't take time to care for yourself, you won't have enough energy for anyone else. What things can you mentally let go of because they're out of your control?

2. Only do what only you can do.

You tend to work alone, don't you? Or at least, you prefer it, right? I thought so. Think about what's overwhelming you right now. Is there anything someone else can do? Think about that. I know you may be reluctant to give up some responsibility for fear that no one else will do a good job. By trying to do everything, some things are suffering, aren't they? Spend your energy on the things that only you can do.

3. Get clear about your values and start filtering everything through them.

Do you know what your top 5 values are? These are the things that are most important in your life. Start using them as a filter for everything. Run all decisions, choices, projects, and to-dos through this list. What things can you let go of right now because they don't actually fit your list of values?

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