We all know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed. Whether it’s from a never-ending stream of bad news, personal problems or the daily stress in our life, it can seem like too much to handle at times.
Did you know that the feeling of being overwhelmed can actually have a different effect on each of us?
Some people tend to internalise their emotions and may become withdrawn and depressed. Others may externalise their emotions and become angry and aggressive. There are even some who may oscillate between the two extremes.
The main reason for this difference is that when we get overwhelmed, our bodies go into fight (explode)-or-flight (implode) mode. This is an evolutionary response that helped our ancestors survive when they were faced with danger but in today’s world we don’t need to worry about being chased by a saber-toothed cat!
When we are already struggling to cope with our emotions, even small changes can tip us over the edge. It’s important to be aware of what our triggers are so that we can try to avoid them or be prepared to deal with them in a healthy way.
We all have breaking points. And when we reach them, it can be pretty UGLY. But what if there was a way to prevent emotional meltdowns from happening in the first place?
Here are some tips:
1. Identify your triggers.
What sets you off? Is it certain people, situations, or environments? When you know what your triggers are, you can avoid them or be prepared for them.
2. Don’t bottle things up.
If something is bothering you, don’t try to push it down. Talk to somebody about it. Get it out in the open instead of letting it fester inside of you.
3. Practice self-care.
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally as well as physically. This means getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and spending time doing things that make you happy. When you’re taking care of yourself, you’re less likely to reach a breaking point.
4. Solve the underlying problems.
Like most problems, emotional explosions are not the problem but the symptom of other underlying issues. Whether you issue is too much stress, depression, a relationship that is out of balance, a life transition, a traumatic event, or a lack of sleep or poor diet, work on a solution to the root cause.
Whether you become withdrawn and introspective, or become angry and lash out, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with emotional distress. Some people find journaling or talking with a trusted friend helpful. Others may find comfort in exercise or nature walks. If you’re struggling to cope with your emotions, reach out for help from a mental health professional.