Life Ideals

Woman with head in hands feeling emotionally overwhelmed

Navigating emotional overwhelm

Have you ever felt held back by emotions you couldn’t quite manage? You’re not alone. Many of us were never taught how to effectively handle our feelings, leading to a cycle of emotional avoidance and numbness.

Many of us have grown up with less-than-ideal role models for handling emotions. This isn’t an easy realization, and it’s even harder to know what to do with the intense feelings that can result. Traditionally, you may have been taught overtly or covertly that your emotions were bad or unacceptable, leaving your emotional well-being on the sidelines.

Perhaps your caregivers didn’t model emotional regulation well. They might have suppressed their feelings with silence or expressed them through anger. You might not have seen much reflection or constructive discussion during tense childhood moments. Instead, there was either an outburst or a complete withdrawal. This same instability often shadowed fun times and family vacations. This isn’t an indictment of your parents; they were likely doing their best with what they knew. The cycle of emotional neglect has deep roots, and breaking free from it is challenging—but not impossible.

Let’s discuss the physicality of emotions. Emotions can be overwhelming, partly because they trigger such strong physical responses. When experiencing intense feelings, your body might react with a racing heart, tense muscles, or shortness of breath. It’s natural to want to escape these uncomfortable sensations because the signals that these body sensations are sending to your brain are saying that you are, in fact, in danger and tell you to fight or flee. You don’t want to hurt someone, so walking away can seem like the safest option, but when we push our emotions away, we’re not resolving them.

Imagine your emotions are like a baseball tethered to you with a rubber band. If you push the ball away, it stretches the band. Eventually, it snaps back, hitting harder and feeling heavier each time. If ignored, this cycle continues. The emotional ‘ball’ grows, and so does the intensity of its return—until you become numb to the process. This numbness can make it hard to connect with others because you’re out of touch with your feelings.

So, what can you do about it? Carl Jung, a pioneer in psychology, wisely noted, “What you resist persists.” Taking that further, we can deduce that what we embrace dissolves. Sitting with our emotions—acknowledging and feeling them—allows them to become less overwhelming. Through this process, we gain clarity and communicate our feelings more effectively, enhancing our relationships.

It’s important to recognize that some hurts may always stay with us. They lessen with time but never disappear entirely. The key is to allow ourselves the space to experience various emotions, including joy and sorrow.

Here’s a simpler, practical approach to sitting with your emotions:

  1. Notice Your Thoughts: Be aware of distressing thoughts. They often run on autopilot and, unchecked, can lead to unnecessary suffering.
  2. Notice the Sensations in Your Body: Acknowledge the physical discomfort of strong emotions. Recognizing this early can help you connect physical sensations to emotional states, and that data can help you process your emotions.
  3. Name the Emotion: Be specific. Instead of broad labels like sad or mad, find the exact word for how you feel. This will help you understand and express your emotions.
  4. Identify the Need: Every emotion signals an underlying need. Understanding these needs can be revolutionary in helping you take care of yourself and improve your relationships because it allows us to communicate them more clearly and compassionately.
  5. Make a request of yourself or someone else. Making a request of yourself is also helpful and can be a stepping stone to making requests of others. Some requests of yourself might be empathetic self-talk, like, “It makes sense that you are disappointed because you wanted to go on that trip.” You might also request yourself to take three intentional deep breaths or positive affirmations, like, “I matter, and I deserve love and forgiveness.”

Seeking a therapist for guidance is helpful to navigate these steps. They offer a neutral perspective and professional insight. Talking to a therapist can be valuable. Therapists are neutral, and because they are professional, you don’t need to worry about how you make them feel like you do in your mutual relationships, which are, in fact, a two-way street. Being more careful and compassionate with your words with loved ones is necessary.

The Life Ideals Program is designed to accompany your therapeutic journey, enhancing your emotional growth and self-care routine. It is not intended to replace therapy but rather to work alongside it, providing practical tools and daily practices that contribute to your overall well-being.

Our program focuses on six key self-care practices, each proven to foster resilience and empower you in creating a balanced life:

  1. Relaxation: Practice the art of calming your mind and relaxing your body. This will allow you to approach life’s challenges with a compassionate and clear perspective.
  2. Thought Restructuring: Transform your thought patterns, moving from self-criticism to self-support, which can shift your outlook on life.
  3. Social Connection: Cultivate meaningful relationships and strengthen your support network, which is essential for emotional and mental health.
  4. Sleep: Prioritize and enhance the quality of your rest, as proper sleep is a cornerstone of mental sharpness and physical vitality.
  5. Physical Activity: Engage in regular movement that aligns with your lifestyle, contributing to mood regulation and a strong, healthy body.
  6. Nutrition: Learn to nourish your body with what it needs to thrive. A balanced diet is crucial for mental clarity and energy levels.

Together, these practices create a foundation for resilience. They empower you to withstand life’s storms and emerge from them stronger and more integrated as an individual. Life Ideals helps to provide structure to your self-care routine, helping maintain the balance necessary to support emotional work and everyday joy.

Embrace the Life Ideals Program, and take the first step towards a more resilient, vibrant you.

Learn more and purchase the Program.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top