Many of us suffer from deep states of sadness and feeling overwhelmed with the different worries and stresses in our lives. The feeling of being overwhelmed is something that I have personally suffered from and found my solutions in Islam.

We often hear about a person, that he is very depressed and feeling overwhelmed with life, how do you deal with being overwhelmed?

  • Firstly, Islam deals with this problem with a universal solution of connecting to the Creator.
  • Secondly, the best way to overcome stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed is to depend on Allah for the solution.
  • Thirdly, take steps to organise the things that you are overwhelmed with, so that you have a plan of action to deal with your worries,
  • Fourthly, take action in managing your stress and overwhelm.
  • Fifth and finally, turn to Allah and seek His aid to ensure that you get your solution.

Now you might think that sounds a little idealistic, maybe even formulaic, or even unrealistic. But that’s one of the major problems I actually faced myself, our thinking creates the problems that we feel.

There’s much more to this than what I’ve just mentioned above and in this article I will explain. I’ll share multiple ways that you can manage your stress and overcome the various types of overwhelm that people experience. Bear in mind, I’ve had my own struggle with overwhelm and these are the practical ways that I’ve used to deal with it myself.

Now, that doesn’t mean you will find every answer, but I’m confident that some of it, if you practice it, it will help you to overcome your overwhelm and feelings of stress insha’Allah.

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Understand Overwhelm and Stress

Okay, so it’s important to understand first of all, where the overwhelm comes from and why you feel it. Allah the Almighty says in the Quran:

“And we will try you with fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and the loss of fruits, so give glad tidings to the patient one.”

Surat Al Baqarah 155.

So is important to understand that life is not a place where you will feel constantly happy or constantly sad or constantly overwhelmed or constantly any feeling that you experience. In life we go through ups and downs in our feelings, so sometimes you’re very happy, other times you’re less happy. Sometimes you’re very stressed, and other times you’re less stressed. All of these feelings serve a purpose in helping us through life. Allah informs us in this verse that we will be tested with fear, hunger, loss of our wealth, loss of our lives (loved ones or even your own life), and loss of fruits or provisions and the benefits that we have in our lives. If you look at your life, you find that most of your worries and anxieties and all those feelings of uneasiness that you experience in the pit of the stomach comes from the fear of possible loss. And the loss of these things are universal to all of humanity.

So, the first thing to understand is that everyone, not just you and I, feels this fear. So the feelings of uneasiness comes from our fear of loss.

The second thing to understand is that Allah says at the end of the verse give glad guiding is tidings to the patient, persistent ones. The words patient one here implies a person who will remain steadfast and persistent regardless of the fact that they feel this fear of loss. In the verse following this Allah says:

“As for those who are afflicted, they say, indeed we belong to Allah and we will return to Allah.”

Quran Surat Al Baqarah 156

Allah is teaching us here that when you feel this fear, when you feel this sense of overwhelm, then connect yourself to your Lord. Depend upon your Lord and remain patient. When you say “inna lillahi wa inna ilahi rajioon”, Indeed I belong to Allah and indeed, I will return to Allah, then you are submitting to whatever Allah has decreed in your life.

You won’t become ungrateful or start to despair and feel that you are alone in the world. No, instead you will feel as though you are connected to your Creator, to whom you will return and so you put your complete trust and reliance in Allah.

Overcoming the feeling of being overwhelmed is determined by your dependency on Allah.

You see, if you tell yourself, I can handle anything and I will just persist and continue regardless of how I feel because you are relying on Allah, then you are connecting yourself to your Creator.

This goes back to the remembrance of Allah, which is the fundamental ingredient for a happy life. The Dhikr of Allah is the most beneficial activity that we can do daily, that will help us to get through anything that we have to face in life.

Feeling overwhelmed with too much responsibility?

Everyone has a different level of responsibility in their lives. So the way to deal with your responsibilities is to be absolutely clear as to what you must do, and what is a would be nice to have. Dealing with the overwhelm of too many things to do, is a very common thing in the society today. Because we are being bombarded with constant requests, most of which do not serve our life’s purpose, and usually they’re not even in our own interests. That’s not to mean we should be selfish, rather we need to be clear about what other things that are an absolute must in our lives.

As an example, I have the responsibility of fulfilling my role as a teacher to my students, I have the responsibility of raising my children as good Muslims and contributing members of society, I have the responsibility of being a dutiful son to my parents, I have the responsibility of managing my family with my wife. These are all essential elements of my life. So they are must do’s.

However, I also have many other things, people, and what looks like responsibilities in my life, calling out for my time and my energy. An example of this is social media, where you are being messaged or added to a message, and because we’ve become habitual users of social media, we feel as though we need to respond.

We end up spending hours on social media wasting time and before you know it, the things that are Must Do’s in your day-to-day life you’re falling short in. Because you can’t make time for everything, you spent hours watching YouTube or responding to social media posts, or just reading other people’s posts so you lost crucial time.

The Best way to manage overwhelm of responsibilities is to manage your time. If you manage your time by organising it between the things that you must do and the things that are a nice to have, but not essential, then your time will become much more effective and you will become more efficient in actually dealing with the things that really stress you out.

How to cope when you feel overwhelmed by fear?

This problem of being overwhelmed by fear is directly connected to what you are thinking about. Now, that might be because you are constantly watching the 24 hours news, or you’re reading about the news. If that is the case, then my advice to you is go on a news fast. That’s right, abstain from reading or listening to or watching the news for 30 days and you will see the positive transformation that occurs in your life. The news is a highly destructive, fear-instilling and a waste of time. I’m not saying you should have our head in the sand, but if the news is that important, trust me, it will reach you through the people that you know.

But what if you fear something very real?

That statement, fearing something very real, is actually just another thought which, if you manage by ignoring, your life will become much easier.

What if you feel overwhelmed with guilt?

But you don’t know what to do? If that sounds like you, then there is a very simple solution to this. Once again turn back to Allah, but in this instance you want to Repent and make Istighfar for whatever it is that you feel guilty about. Repentance and constantly turning back to Allah the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, you will slowly but surely resolve that guilt. Now, that doesn’t mean that it will just disappear overnight. No, it means that you have to be persistently turning back to Allah, and you have to seek repentance positively expecting that Allah will forgive you. And once you’ve done that, then you have to forgive yourself.

Forgiving yourself is a very important thing otherwise the guilt will eat you up. And if you ask Allah for forgiveness, but you don’t forgive yourself, then you are not being positive in your expectations of Allah as the Most Merciful, and that he will forgive all sins.

What if I feel overwhelmed by sadness and depression?

Now this relates back to your connection with the Creator and your sadness and depression is once again connected to your thoughts. Whether the thoughts are positive or negative. Whether your thoughts about Allah is positive or negative.

The likelihood is that if you are in a constant state of sadness, you are repeatedly overthinking and focusing on negative thoughts. You see, whatever you focus on will become your reality. So, if you focus on negative thoughts continuously, then your mind will fill up with negativity and with that comes the feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, fear of loss and ultimately depression.

Depression is a psychological problem, but the problem begins with what you focus on. If you focus on only positive things, then your mind will become filled with only positivity. I mention that because the positive mind frame is the complete opposite of a sad depressed mind frame.

Just think about a time in your life when you felt grief-stricken, you were constantly in a state of sadness. Maybe because of a loss of a loved one or some major stress that you had to go through in your life. Now at that time, how often did you think about positive things in your life? The likelihood is that you didn’t think about anything positive very often. If you spent most of the time focusing on thoughts that upset you, then  everything was negative. And so, you remained in that state until you slowly started to change your thinking.

Depression is deeply connected to all of those negative thoughts. Combat the negative thinking and you can combat this feeling of being overwhelmed by sadness. Simply put, change what you are thinking about.

This is why I say the solution is connected to remembrance of Allah. Because when you remember Allah, you will remember that He is the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, the One who provides Sustenance and wealth, the One who protects us, the One who is in control of everything. When you know that Allah is all of this, then you will begin to rely on Allah instead of relying on yourself and that will give you a sense of confidence and peace insha’Allah.

It may be that you are an overwhelmed mum? which is something connected to a medical state such as postnatal depression. This type of overwhelm or feeling of sadness it is connected to a medical reason. And it is without a doubt a very difficult situation for anyone to go through. However, I just want to remind you that in the verse of Surat Al Baqarah that we mentioned above Allah says in this verse, Give glad tidings, or good news to the one who is patient and persistent. And when afflicted by anything, Say to Allah I belong, which means connect yourself back to the creator.

Yes of course you have to take the means to deal with your situation, which could be listening to your doctor’s advice, but ultimately if you rely upon Allah, create a positive expectation of Allah, you will find your solution. Allah will give you a way out because He swt says:

“And whoever fears Allah(God-conscious), then he will make for them a way out.”

This is positive thinking of your Creator.

As I said at the beginning of this article. This is not a complete list of ways to get yourself out of overwhelm and sadness or the feelings of being lost. However, if you take some of these ideas and apply them to your life and remain patient and persistent in practising them, then I’m confident that you will find your way out of any problem, just like I have and do whenever I feel this problem coming on. This is a part of life, to feel this uneasiness can be a blessing because it pushes us back to our Creator.

Stay Strong, you can do this.

FREE 7 Day Course 21 Ways to Get Close to Allah Become the Best You with this Quranic guide

  • ​Quranic guidance on Optimising Your Life
  • ​Become the Best version of​ your​self this Month
  • ​Learn how to deal with Problems with Confidence