When emotions begin to overwhelm us, it can feel like normal functioning is impossible. From the interactions with your closest relationships to mundane tasks at work, an inability to process can leave you feeling paralyzed, emotionally drained, and psychologically blocked. In this headspace, it might feel like you’re simply subservient to these feelings. However, there are methods you can use in these situations, to regain control, and come out from under it.
So many of us are afraid of feeling. This is a problem when we have to deal with fear, anger, pain and sadness. The truth is feelings can’t kill you, but how you deal with them or not can.
Start by accepting what you can’t control. You’re not going to be able to control everything. Acceptance is a lot like the concept of “picking your battles.” In an emotional position, your body's instinct is to resolve whatever is happening. What happens when there are things you simply can’t resolve, fix, control, help, etc.? You need to be able to accept these things so that you don’t become overwhelmed by problems to which there are no direct solutions for you.
Instead, you can focus your energy on the steps that are practical for your development. Want to go beyond what's listed here? Click here.
Take a small step.
In the beginning, we mentioned the feeling of being paralyzed by your emotions. When we’re overwhelmed, any task or responsibility can look exponentially more difficult. Psychologically, it may just look like there’s no way out of your current predicament. In order to reverse this crippling phenomenon, it’s important that you prove to yourself that you are in fact able.
Start by taking small steps. Depending on the emotions you’re facing, this will vary. You might be able to reach out and schedule time with a close friend to just talk. Maybe you just need to find some motivation through simple tasks, like cleaning your home or getting out of the house for a walk. Take small, consistent steps, and you’ll find it far easier to move in no time.
Use grounding techniques.
There are methods developed by professionals to help an overwhelmed individual to regain control in moments when emotions have become too controlling. A common technique would be the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Name 5 things you see right now, then 4 things you can hear right now. Finally, find and touch 3 things with a texture, smell 2 things for their scent, and get one thing you can drink.
You want to remove your brain from the frontline of these overwhelming emotions and put it in the present, by focusing on what is real and in front of you right now.
Listen to your heart
Deep down, you probably know what you need. Oftentimes, we sacrifice what our heart truly wants for what’s easy, but really what we’re doing is denying our purpose, identity, and priorities.
Your “heart” communicates distress when we’re avoiding and hiding from these needs, so a great first step is just to listen to these inner signals. Writing out your thoughts and emotions will allow your mind to better process them. In this act, you should be able to find more clarity and direction.
Take some time.
Putting a cast on your broken ankle doesn’t mean that you can just leave the doctor’s office and run a marathon. Time plays an important role in all forms of healing: both physically and emotionally. Don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to “passively heal” if you haven’t taken the proper time to begin the “active healing.”
Working through overwhelming emotions is a process personalized to your own journey. When things feel impossible, remember and utilize these methods. Consistent, proactive decisions can be the difference between a life controlled and life in control.
Remember, your spiritual practices will keep you grounded and help you process and release difficult emotions. Ensure you are committed to daily prayer and/or meditation.
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Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so glad you found your way here.
I am at home in the difficult spaces of peoples’ lives, willing to listen and to support those who work to grow themselves. I am a trained coach and have consulted with churches in conflict. Not your stereotypical minister, I embrace the Gospel with joy and laughter as I seek to help those around me grow in faith and understanding, always striving to leave people better than they came. An agent of wholeness, I create a safe space for people, especially those who have been marginalized, where they can understand how ridiculously loved and valued they are by God/Higher Power/Spirit, and to experience the difference that makes in life.
I started the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast to share the stories of people who have faced life's most difficult challenges, to inspire you to lean into and overcome your own. It's helpful to know that you're not alone in your struggles and to see how others have navigated similar circumstances. You can listen to it here.
Here's what I can do for and with you.