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Welcome to defying resistance, my name is Frantzces and my number one mission is to help you shift the way you think, so you can shift the way you feel, which ultimately shifts your behaviors so you can live a life with more fulfillment and joy. The more you understand yourself the more the world around you changes.
I want to do a deep dive with you into a misconception that’s quite common, which is the idea that emotions are too overwhelming and too much to bear.
We’re going to explore what emotions really are, and who told you they were too much anyway? Like where did you get that belief from? And why they might overwhelm us, then towards the end I’ll provide you with some strategies on what you can do when you’re in the heat of things. That when done each and every time will inevitably reduce how you become dysregulated by your emotions.
The reason I’m tackling this is because I did a webinar for the NAACP Indiana chapter and someone asked what do they do when they’re overwhelmed by emotions. And I thought this is a really great process to break down because we’ve all been there at some point. Where our emotions were so intense that we couldn’t think clearly, where we couldn’t make the best decisions, and so forth.
Okay, let’s get started.
So one of the few things I said in my newsletter was to be with emotions is to be human. Emotions have been there from the beginning of humanity. Our emotions are primal and they serve a purpose. They send signals to our brains, hearts, and bodies to tell us something. This means emotions are simply feedback that we need to pause and listen to. If you find yourself emotionally overwhelmed by your emotions, know that there’s nothing wrong with you.
Now before I get into how to recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions, I’d like to ask you where you got the idea that your emotions are too much? Sit with that for a moment, ask yourself where did you learn that and why have you adopted this to be true? And what makes you feel or think that they are too much?
You most likely first heard from your family, maybe even your friends or your partner, and that made you shut down and so now when feelings become so incredibly intense, you don’t have the tools to work through them.
As a kid, I was highly sensitive and what I found out later in life was that I’m a highly sensitive person, sensitive to other people’s emotions, sensitive to noise, sensitive to life and when there was no place for me to express or place those emotions because well growing up in a Caribbean household, you’re not really taught to feel nor are you taught to understand.
So what did I do? Like most of you I suppressed my emotions, I cried privately, if I cried at all. I didn’t think about them, I unhealthily distracted myself so I wouldn’t feel or express. Well, those kinds of ways of coping have serious consequences.
For me, I got hard, I grew tough layers which at some point in my life turned into apathy. And that’s a whole other story for another day. But I had to break down that process if I wanted to have healthy abundant relationships and work that I was passionate about.
So I had to spend time reconnecting with that part of myself, so what that means for you is, you can do the same. Not only can you learn to manage your emotions, but you will also welcome them as part of your existence.
So, take a moment, and you can check out my video about core beliefs that helps you assess and explore where your beliefs came from, and how to challenge them using the associated worksheet.
Let’s explore what feeling emotionally overwhelmed might look like, for instance, what goes on in your cognitive thought process, what goes on in your body, and so forth.
When you’re under intense emotions such that it becomes hard to cope with them you’ll experience quite a few things. Feeling overwhelmed by your emotions can affect your cognitive abilities:
- Thinking, etc.
And what causes this could be one intense stressful situation or it could be chronic small stressors that overtime overwhelm your nervous system.
I mean life can just wear you out if you don’t have the tools to move through not only what’s happening outside of yourself but most importantly inside of yourself.
- Imagine constantly experiencing negative emotions, like, fear, anger, and guilt, like all the time.
- Here are some signs that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by your emotions:
- You overreact to insignificant things, e.g., not finding a pen.
- Are tired or physically unwell without a valid reason.
- It’s challenging for you to focus on simple things/everyday activities.
- Withdrawing from family and friends.
- You have a sad cloud around you, even during happy times.
- Are battling despair and feeling powerless.
Have you experienced any of those signs? Well, to be human is to go through those at one point, but it doesn’t have to completely derail your life. It doesn’t have to be your narrative, and you can move away from that state of being to feeling less to little of those negative emotions that I just mentioned.
Emotions require a level of vulnerability that if you shy away from will backfire. With that vulnerability comes being able to gain mastery over your emotions, mastery over yourself, an understanding of the root causes can help change your coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms simply means changing the way you process, manage and respond to what’s happening within you in healthy ways.
When we’re emotionally overwhelmed by things we often try to suppress them or change them to a feeling we prefer. We deny their existence, and we’re not being honest with how we truly feel. We shift the emotion over to someone else otherwise known as projection. Maybe I’m mad at something but I’m blaming someone else for it.
Emotions aren’t meant to overwhelm us. Again they are our teachers. They are not supposed to be too much or just right. Emotions are their own language that we all speak and understand differently.
Imagine being able to shift the way you feel after a few minutes of that intense emotional state? You can with just a few strategies. Time to take some notes.
1. Get curious about your emotions. When you’re feeling intense emotions, sit with it for the moment and get curious about how it feels, where you feel it, when do you usually feel this or these emotions. Don’t run away from them. I suggest keeping a journal and keeping track of these emotions so you can increase your self-awareness. For example, I was noticing a bit of irritability after I got off of Instagram so instead of continuing to engage in the trigger, I reduced the amount of time I spent on that which reduced the irritable feelings I was experiencing. Remember you have the power to make changes and edits in your life throughout the day moment to moment.
2. Thoughts play an important role in coping with overwhelming emotions. Jot down what thoughts are coming up for you. You can watch my stop overthinking video and download the worksheet to help you interrupt negative thoughts. After you write them down, notice any patterns, what are you saying in your head, then say them outloud and feel how your body reacts to them.
I know you’re like feel I’m trying not to feel but that’s impossible so I want you to stop doing that. When you train yourself to not feel it brings about a whole host of other complications.
3. Next I want you to surrender. I didn’t put this first although technically that’s usually the first step because most of us have been intellectually trained to manage the things around us in like this scientific way. There are moments when logic helps especially for feelings of anxiety and also depression. But allow yourself to feel everything and allow yourself the process it takes to go through that experience.
But I will recommend, one of my coaches would say if you’re having a pity party, put a timer on for like 10-15 minutes, have your pity party and when the timer goes off, stop and move on.
4. Reshape your narrative and rethink how you see emotions. Embrace your emotions and understand that they aren’t here to harm you but provide you with feedback, lessons, and also to remind you that you’re an emotive human being. Which is beautiful. It’s beautiful to have emotions.
Here’s the thing emotions mean to stir up to move through. If you don’t allow these emotions to pass, your body will hold on to them and it will turn into sickness, stress and cause further complications.
5. I also suggest rating your emotions. How I know I’m moving through a certain emotion is when it’s not so intense anymore. If I used to be at a 10 maybe by implementing these strategies I find myself at like 5 and even a 2. It’s important to assess your growth.
6. One thing I learned during grad school was the acronym HALT:
Which asks are you hungry, are you angry, are you lonely, are you tired? If we’re feeling any of these things then that could be a reason for our intense emotions, agitation, or us overreacting to something in the moment.
Okay, make sure you’re writing these down because changing your life doesn’t fall on your lap it takes a daily practice of self-awareness.
7. Ask yourself the following questions to check the facts of what’s going on in your life so you can also think more clearly when you find yourself overreacting:
- What event triggered my emotion?
- What interpretations or assumptions am I making about the event?
- Do my emotion and its intensity match the facts of the situation? Or does it just match my assumptions of the situation?
Sometimes what feels like a big deal might not feel like a big deal after you think it a bit through which then can help reduce the intensity of these extreme emotions.
8. Lastly, pay attention to more of the positive things going on that can help change the way you feel over time. We’re so wired to look at the negative to focus on the bad that we can’t even hear when someone gives up 10 compliments and then we hear one single criticism it’s a wrap and you throw all the positives in the trash.
Add more positive experiences, look for them around your life, write them down if you have to, did someone hold the door open for you, like it might seem small but these are powerful game-changers for altering your brain. So that you can alter your thoughts.
Okay, that’s all I got for you today, if you found this video was helpful to you make sure you hit the like button, subscribe, and share it with someone you think could use it.0