Fear, anxiety, frustration, uncertainty, anger, grief, even rage…….these are emotions that many of us are feeling right now.
And it’s a perfectly normal response to what’s going on. It’s part of being human.
But they can keep us stuck in survival mode.
- You can’t think straight and struggle to be productive
- You’re really grumpy and snap at everyone
- You feel like bursting into tears but don’t because “big girls don’t cry”
- You feel exhausted most of the time and are not sleeping well
- And although you know you should, you struggle to make clear and important decisions because you just don’t have the headspace
then chances are you’re experiencing emotional overwhelm and the danger is, that if it goes unchecked, it can easily spiral downward into depression and worse.
So how can we get out of this?
How do we get into a more resourceful, clear and calm state quickly and easily?
By learning to acknowledge, manage and release these emotions in a safe way.
We feel these emotions both mentally and physically. Problems occur when we suppress our emotions, pretend we don’t feel them, avoid them or simply ignore them. When they get pushed down repeatedly it can have a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental well-being.
And in difficult times when we are experiencing high levels of stress I believe it is even more important to get out of this state of emotional overwhelm.
Here are a few simple exercises to get you started…
The important thing is that you let the emotions out in a safe way- a way that is safe for you and those around you. The key is to get it out of your mind and out of your body.
The first thing to do is….
Ask yourself “is it safe for me to let this out right now?”
i)If the answer is “no” then shelve the emotion.
Imagine putting it into some sort of container with a lid such as a box, briefcase, bag. Close the lid, fasten it and then imagine putting it in the far corner of the room or on a high shelf. Go back to doing what you have to do and then deal with it later. It is really important that you don’t just leave it on the shelf so when it is safe to do so, take the box from the shelf, open it up and deal with the emotion in one or more of the ways outlined below.
ii) If the answer is “yes” then take yourself off somewhere, allow yourself to feel the emotion and let it out using one or more of the following…
A) Journal it out.
Buy yourself an A4 notebook and let it all out by writing at least 3 pages non-stop. Write without censoring it or judging it. Write everything you’re feeling, everything you want to say but wouldn’t normally say out loud, swear if you want to because no-one will read it, not even you (because then it just goes back in again!). Keep writing without stopping until it’s out of your head. Then close the book over and replenish (see below).
That may be enough but if you are still feeling the emotion in your body then …
B) Let yourself really feel the emotion without judgement and with curiosity and notice where it is in your body.
Then do one or more of these to move it through:
- Shake it out. Literally just shake from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, shaking it out of every part of your body
- Cry it out. If it feels like you want to, have a damn good cry.
- Punch it out. Get a pillow or cushion and punch it until the emotion is out of your body. One of my clients, Suzanne, has a punch ball in her garage which she uses for this.
- Dance it out. Put on an appropriate piece of music and move it through. One of my clients, Sarah, uses “Bat Out of Hell” by Meatloaf for when she’s feeling angry. You can have some fun with this and create a playlist for different emotions.
- Exercise. Go for a run, a brisk walk, get your heart rate up and move the emotion through your body.
It’s really important after releasing the emotion that you replenish your energy.
Some things you can do are:
- Put your feet up and have a cup of tea
- Listen to a relaxing playlist and chill out
- Do a Mindfulness exercise
- Have a shower with gorgeous shower gel or a long soak in the bath and as you are under the water imagine any last remnants dripping off and going down the plughole with the water.
- Go for a walk in nature
Try it and see what works best for you.
When you get into a daily habit of releasing emotions it will prevent you getting into overwhelm in the future and you may find that you sleep better too!
Until next time…
P.S. If you would like more help with getting out of emotional overwhelm or dealing with stress and any other challenge you are facing right now then why not book a no-obligation 1-2-1 Coaching Conversation with me? You bring the challenge and I’ll share some tools that will help you to deal with it in a resourceful way.
I offer a small number of these free sessions every month. Just Click here to reserve yours.