Do you ever feel like your emotions are too much to handle, and you can’t seem to separate your feelings from the reality of a situation? You might be overwhelmed by emotion.
Sometimes there are points in our lives where many different events or circumstances can collide and leave us feeling out of control. Whether these events are positive or negative, experiencing an abundance of emotions all at once can lead to us feeling overwhelmed by emotion.
For some people, dealing with more than one overriding emotion or feeling can feel extremely difficult – this is perfectly normal.
When we’re in a heightened state, it can feel like our emotions are taking over, and nothing can be done about it. The good news is even while you might feel stuck in this state. There are strategies you can use to help yourself manage your feelings and get back to a sense of calm.
Why Do Some People Struggle With Their Emotions?
The cause of overwhelming emotions varies from person to person since everyone deals with their feelings differently. Therefore, what may seem minute and insignificant to some people can be vast and overwhelming to others.
Particularly with worrying global events that have been taking place, feelings of stress and worry have been heightened for many people. For example, recent studies have identified that “about 87%” of people “said inflation was a significant source of stress,” and around “63% of Americans said the pandemic has forever changed their life”.
Other factors related to work, family life, and relationships can also lead to feeling overwhelmed.
What is Alexithymia?
Alexithymia is a condition in which people find it challenging to identify and express emotions. Symptoms of the disorder include difficulty expressing feelings, an inability to connect with emotion verbally or in writing, and confusion when describing how they feel.
People who struggle with Alexithymia often find it difficult to separate their feelings from reality, leading to feeling overwhelmed by emotion.
The condition needs to be more widely recognized, and people who experience it may feel frustrated or misunderstood when trying to explain how they feel. It is thoughts that approximately 1 in 10 people have Alexithymia, but this number may be higher due to people not understanding their emotions.
Signs of Being Overwhelmed By Emotion
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by emotion, there are usually signs to look out for that can help you identify what is going on. These signs may include:
- Feeling anxious and unable to focus.
- An inability to think clearly.
- Becoming easily irritated and frustrated with others.
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Avoiding social situations or withdrawing from friends and family.
- Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable.
It’s important to note that it is not just negative feelings that can cause you to feel emotionally overwhelmed; experiencing too many extremely positive feelings can also trigger emotional overwhelm.
For example, if you’re dealing with a lot of excitement, joy, and elation simultaneously, it can still cause you to feel overwhelmed.
Coping Strategies for Feeling Overwhelmed Emotionally
When you experience emotional overwhelm, knowing exactly how to get a hold of your thought processes can be tricky. Not knowing where to start can lead to feelings of helplessness and despair.
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use for managing extreme emotions.
Self-help Coping Strategies
It is possible to learn how to manage overwhelming emotions on your own. Taking a few moments to practice self-care and relaxation can help you gain perspective and reduce the intensity of your feelings.
Taking Deep Breaths
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, taking a few slow, deep breaths can be helpful. This helps your body to relax and allows you to focus on the present moment.
Deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and improve concentration.
Grounding techniques can help to bring your focus back to the present moment and away from the intensity of your emotions. Examples include:
- Focusing on a particular object in your environment and describing it in detail.
- Doing a body scan – paying attention to each part of your body, starting at your toes and moving up towards your head.
- Using tactile sensations, such as squeezing a stress ball or wrapping yourself in a blanket.
Journalling or Planning
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can make them seem less overwhelming. You could also plan out a strategy for tackling the issue, which can help you to regain control of the situation.
Taking Days Off
Sometimes, the best way to manage overwhelming emotions is to take a day or two off. This gives you some time to process your feelings and can make it easier for you to come back with a clearer head.
Accept Your Feelings and Acknowledge Them
Sorting through the many overwhelming thoughts and emotions can be difficult, but accepting these feelings are part of the process is essential.
Acknowledging your emotions is an essential step towards understanding them and can help you to move through them more easily.
Discussing negative emotions with a trusted friend or professional might be helpful. Talking about your feelings can be hugely beneficial, and you may gain a different perspective.
Find a Healthy Way to Express Your Feelings
You must act rationally, even when you are feeling overwhelmed. Finding a healthy way to express your feelings is critical, such as talking about them in a powerful and non-confrontational way.
Talking with someone who understands and can provide support can be particularly beneficial, as it allows you to explore complex emotions in a safe space.
If you find that talking is not beneficial to your mental health, you might discover other outlets for expressing yourself, such as writing, art, or music.
Seeking Out Professional Medical Help When You Cannot Cope
You might get to a point where you need professional medical help to deal with your emotions. This could be a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support as you learn to manage your feelings.
Ultimately, it is essential to remember that everyone experiences emotion differently. Therefore, what works for one person may not work for another, so it’s essential to take the time to find the coping strategies that work best for you.
Many people think stress is not a valid reason for seeking professional help. Still, it is essential to remember that overwhelming emotion can severely affect your physical and mental health. Therefore, if you are struggling to cope, do not hesitate to seek support from a qualified medical professional.
Summary: What You Can Do To Cope With Your Emotions
If you’re struggling to manage your overload of feelings and thoughts, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Managing your emotions can be challenging due to overwhelming experiences, conflicting feelings, or poor coping skills.
Taking a proactive approach to managing your emotions can help to reduce stress levels and improve well-being. However, while self-help can help some build their mental strength, others may need professional help.
Either way, finding healthy ways to express your feelings is essential, so take time to explore what works best for you.
Previously Published on restequation.com and is republished on Medium.
photo credit: iStock