What to do when your emotions overflow?

What to do when your emotions overflow?

When you feel your emotions overflow, take a break and take a deep breath.We all felt this sensation in the middle of a conversation or when the anxiety, always attentive and on the lookout, takes control of a situation and makes us prisoners … These emotional sequestrations are devastating. However, we can always find tools to not lose control.

We know all too well this type of reality.Some are more vulnerable to emotional flooding while others show impressive self-controlthrough which they can manage, one by one, each of these "emotional threats". Like someone who swallows a piece of food by force, without even chewing it. None of these two strategies produces very good results.

"The emotional brain responds more quickly to an event than the thinking brain."

-Daniel Goleman-

The imprint of these complex emotional worlds will remain there, on the surface, robbing us of our calm and balance.A common fact in clinical practice is to see patients who coincide in their complaints come in consultation:"my anxiety problem is terrible", "I do not know what to do with my anger, she is stronger than me", "I have problems with my emotions, they do not let me live in peace".

This type of statement once again demonstrates the bias felt by the general population in relation to this theme.We continue to think that emotions are bad, that to feel anguish has no purpose,that life without the shadow of fear would make much more sense. We may forget that these dimensions always have a clear purpose for our survival and adaptation.

Knowing, accepting and managing our emotions better, without running away from them or denying them, will avoid these recurrent emotional floods.

If your emotions are overflowing, look on the horizon

If your emotions overflow at any given moment, look for the line of the horizon and watch it for a moment.Let the world be agitated with all its noises, the discussion take its course at work … Let this stimulus that scares you freeze in time, blocked in a harmless dimension. Put your eyes on this line of imaginary peace and give your body a few seconds to regulate the breathing, the heartbeat, the tension …

When chaos reigns, the best balm is always calm. And we say that for a very specific reason. When the human being is in the grip of an emotional flood,it is the most instinctive part of our brain that is at the controls of this panic mechanism.Everything then becomes chaotic, messy and intense. So much so that, in these situations, the prefrontal cortex, which orchestrates analytical capacity, decision-making and logical reasoning, remains "disconnected".

Now let's see how this complex process takes place.

The amygdala and the direct journey to fear or anger

When your emotions overflow, you can go from calm to panic, rage or fear in five seconds.How is it possible? What mechanism is able to take control of our interior in such a short time? We have all asked ourselves this question at least once in our lives and the answer is as fascinating as it is disturbing: the person responsible for all this is the cerebral tonsil.

So,as a study conducted at Emory University in Atlanta and published in the journalBiological Psychiatry,the amygdala is the one that modulates all our behavior associated with fear, stress or aggression. For example, it has been shown that this small structure gathers information from our environment that is related to the threats that surround us (whether real or not). It is also she who makes us react in a very concrete way: to survive.

Unregulated emotions, overwhelming emotions

People who develop emotional disorders are characterized, in essence, by a very concrete point: they can not or do not manage to regulate their emotions. This situation creates more and more anxiety over time, to shape a type of vulnerability. Everything escapes their control. Therefore, we should keep one thing in mind:emotions that we do not regulate today will spill over tomorrow. If this situation becomes chronic, disorders such as generalized anxiety and depression may appear.

In addition, another aspect that we must take into account is the following:during these situations, it is useless to suppress emotions or block thoughts.The classic idea of"I will not think about that"or"It is better that I repress this rage or anger", instead of helping us, can make us block even more and generate problems in the short and long term.

What to do when your emotions overflow?

What strategy should be adopted when your emotions are overflowing?Often, in any psychological context, we use the words "emotional control". Instead of using the word "control", we should use the term "regulation" because this term conveys more flexibility and dynamism.

When your emotions overflow, breathe deeply and calmly, several times. You will gradually take control of your body, then your mind …
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In a way, the one who controls tends to include a mix of strength and dominance in this action. In this case andin the emotional realm, it is better to put aside resistances and opt for acceptance, management, flexibility, transformation and movement.

Let's see what strategies are useful in these cases.

  • A study published in the journalFrontiers in Psychologypoints out that emotional regulation does not have a single size. In other words,there is no single strategy that can serve us for every situation and circumstance.Anxiety at the time of an exam, an argument, having to accept a breakup or even a loss will force us to put in place strategies of confrontation.
  • Otherwise,emotions are always there for a specific reason and we have to ask ourselves what they expect from us.Looking up to the horizon will always be a useful strategy in the face of the state of alarm, to enter our mental palace and find ourselves. Once there, we will have to ask ourselves what happens to us and why.
  • Another important factor must be emphasized.The cerebral tonsil is the sentinel who, in the majority of cases, decides to mobilize fear or rage without our consent.She acts according to her instinct and not her logic. When she does, she takes control of our body and unleashes all the symptoms we know: tachycardia, nausea, sweating …

When our emotions overflow, it is useless to say to us "calm down, it does not matter". Because for our body and our brain, if, it is. Therefore,during these difficult moments, the most appropriate is to calm our body through deep breathing.Breathing deeply and exhaling will help us regulate our heart, remove muscle tension … And when our body regains its balance, we can knock on the door of our mind to talk a little with him.

Let's put this in practice.

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