This is a guest post written by Karin Brauner, a psychotherapeutic counsellor.
Have you ever been in a situation when you feel like you can’t keep your emotions under control? Like they have taken over, your thoughts are all over the place and making a sensible decision is not going to happen? You just want to hide for a while or make the problem magically disappear. You’re talking to people near you at that point, but they aren’t understanding what’s happening to you. Why you’re so upset and speaking like that? What is going on? Nobody can help you at that point, not even yourself. You have dealt with stuff like this before, but this time it’s different. This time you’ve lost it all. Lost the ability to cope, to think, to breathe, to ask for help even.
I’ve been there, we’ve all been there. It’s horrifying, unempowering and well, overwhelming! So how do we work through and out of the situation? The situation has ended and now we can look back at what happened in a more rational way. What could we have done differently? Is there anything we could have done differently? The answer might be a resounding NO, and that’s fine because when we are in overwhelm, anything rational is out of the window. The good thing is, we CAN do something to PREVENT situations like this from happening to us again.
Here are some strategies to develop in your life so that emotional overwhelm becomes more manageable and less horrifying when it shows up again:
Rely on your friends and family
A strong support system means that we aren’t alone and won’t feel alone. Just knowing that people are there for us if and when we need them is a reassurance that gives us confidence and a feeling of safety. Even if they can’t really do anything to help, just having that hug or that presence next to you at a time of crisis will make a huge difference. Sometimes they can take care of the practical stuff while you recover from the strong feelings that might leave you unable to think or find the solution you need. It is a sign of strength rather than weakness to rely on others!
Keep active and fit
Keeping yourself busy with hobbies, and other activities such as pilates, yoga, going to the gym, going for walks, will help give you the physical strength and also the confidence that you can deal with different situations. Plus, exercising makes us feel good, doesn’t it? It’s initiating it that we might find more difficult, let’s be honest!
Feed your body and your mind
Eating healthy meals that we enjoy is also important because this will give your body and brain the energy and nutrients it needs to cope with what life throws at you. Reading personal development books or attending therapy or groups might be something to consider as this will help you think about things in different ways that might benefit you in times of crisis and overwhelm.
Stress management – meditation, quiet times, journal
Meditating and having quiet time is something I personally enjoy. These times let me recharge and get ready for what’s coming. Whether it’s having a think when I’m in the shower or walking to work, or resting on the sofa, it’s revitalizing and necessary for me to carry on and face the world again! Writing helps some of us get those overwhelming, sometimes judgmental and negative thoughts out of our head and on the paper. Try it and let me know how it felt to get them out of your system in a way.
Seek professional help
As a psychotherapeutic counsellor, it’s something I would automatically recommend, right? Well as a human being I would also recommend it, having gone to therapy myself as part of my training and as part of my life in general! I believe everyone should embark on a few sessions at least – it doesn’t have to be for years – to get more awareness about themselves, who they really are, who they want to be, what makes them tick. Professional help might also mean getting the support of a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a life coach, the list goes on!
Emotional overwhelm is not somewhere any of us want to be. Ever. But if we find ourselves in this situation, you have a few things in this post you can do to help yourself get back in control. If there is something that I can leave you with that might help when you are deep in overwhelm, even before you seek professional help or the support of family and friends, it is this: You are not alone, and emotions are temporary! They will pass, even if it feels they will last forever!
This guest post was written by Karin Brauner who is a Bilingual Psychotherapeutic Counsellor based in Brighton and Hove, England. You can find her details below to connect with her. Be sure to let her know how much you loved her guest post over here.
Thank you, Karin, for sharing your time and tips with my wonderful community!