How To Deal With Overwhelming Emotions

How To Deal With Overwhelming Emotions

Have you ever been in the following situation? Someone does something that upsets you and in an instant you feel emotions rushing through your body: rejection, humiliation, anger; all the bad stuff seems to appear out of nowhere and overwhelms you.

It happens so fast that there's no time to stop and reflect on what you're doing and before you know it you've reacted badly. Then later you regret your behaviour and wish you’d done things differently.

It’s perfectly natural that Sometimes You'll Have Overwhelming emotions.

It's only natural that our emotions can get the better of us sometimes. Here we are, existing together in this busy world. Our different personalities and different opinions about how life should be and what we want, means that we can sometimes clash.

It's okay for you to feel your feelings.

I've found that sometimes people get confused about their feelings. They think that it's not okay to feel their feelings, especially if those feelings are negative. But as I tell my clients: it's always perfectly okay for you to feel your feelings. 

Any of your feelings are valid because they're an integral part of you as a human being. Even if those emotions seem extreme, or different to someone else's opinion of how they should be happening, they're still your own feelings and you’re still perfectly entitled to them.

It's what you do with overwhelming emotions that matters.

However, given that your feelings dictate the choices you make in life and the things that you do, it makes sense that when you’re in control of your feelings, you'll make better choices and do better things. 

So while I've said that your feelings are an integral part of being human, it's what you do with those feelings that makes the difference. For example it doesn't help to become so consumed by emotions that you react badly. It's not fair on another person to be on the receiving end of rage, resentment and defensiveness. And it certainly doesn't help any of us to resolve problems if our emotions are getting in the way of clear thinking. 

The mastery comes in first being able to recognise and allow your emotions as they come up. If you can do that they won't surprise you - you’ll have the time to think and behave in ways that help you rather than hinder you. You’ll feel more confident in any situation and with any person, regardless of what's going on.  

You can learn to reduce overwhelming emotions.

Of course in the middle of some distressing experience there's no time to pause and reflect because our emotions can come upon us so quickly. It’s absurd to think that any of us could stop in the midst of an overwhelming experience and think, Oh, I wonder what I’m feeling right now?

What we can do however, is train ourselves to greatly reduce the likelihood of those emotions overwhelming us in the first place. We can do this by getting into a regular habit of checking in and asking: How am I feeling right now?

The more you get into this habit, the more you’ll be teaching your subconscious to automatically think like this. Then you’ll find that whenever some distressing experience happens your thought process will be in the habit of asking:

'What is this rush of emotion that's happening for me right now?'

'What can I do to help myself calm down?'

'What can I do differently that will bring about a positive outcome?'

'From the start the introduction spoke to me, I recognised myself in the descriptions of behaviours and situations. I went on to read the seven questions and found myself reaching for pen and paper again and again to capture my thoughts.'

'What I liked about this book is how easy it is to understand and apply the concepts. The questions are so simple, yet I've been finding them very powerful in my life.'

How am I feeling right now?  is the first question in my book: 7 Questions Highly Confident People Ask Themselves.

This book is based on the most important self-reflective questions that come up in therapy. By focusing on these simple yet powerful questions, you can effortlessly navigate any situation or relationship, and create a happy and confident life

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