Surfing the Emotional Surges: How to Cope When Feeling Overwhelmed

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You know when you have ALL THE FEELINGS? Like, ALL the feelings, and you’re feeling overwhelmed and it’s difficult to actually function because of the flood of emotions pouring through you…?

What do you, uh, actually do in those moments?

If the answer to that question is, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘not good things’ keep reading, as I have some ideas that may be of help, and certainly have been for me.

When we heal we often remove the foods, habits, products and situations from our life which are harmful, but it is important and often neglected to simultaneously detox from within.

We are shifting our thinking for happiness and joyful peace. If we begin a healing plan, detox or diet from the point of view that we are not good enough, then we have already failed, then we are more likely to hold on to the behaviours which support this view.

When we are upgrading our actions, if, in the past, we used food / alcohol / television / gossip to suppress, medicate and cope with painful emotions and situations then, as we release the substance/habits from our bodies and lives, some of these old emotions may begin to surface.

Furthermore, if we are no longer using the old habit to suppress or manage emotions then we may be at a loss for what to do when that painful emotion arises and we start feeling overwhelmed. We need to prevent ourselves falling back onto the old track so here are some positive alternatives to surf the waves if they arise.

What to do in emotional overwhelm:

Journal about the situation

Have a conversation with the emotion in your journal

Write a list of self care activities, pick one and do it

Create a personal sanctuary and enjoy some sacred rest time in it

Read a comforting book from your childhood

Enjoy a relaxing bath, shower, hand or foot soak or massage or visualise one of these

Listen to relaxing music, and explore similar artists to find new favourites

Call a friend, especially a friend who is healing with you

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Re-frame the situation, see the positives

Take a nap

Do something creative


Engross yourself in a hobby

Do physical exercise; yoga, swimming, running

Identify the sources of your fear, acknowledge them, put them aside (in your Strong Box).

Do some deep breathing


Have or share a massage

Cry, hug and move on

Make a nest

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Image Credit: Robot Hugs

Sometimes these are just not enough and we are really stuck. At times like this talking therapies, counselling, psychotherapy or coaching or seeing your doctor can be the action to take.

Remember if you need to talk, call:

(UK & ROI) Samaritans – 116 123 (their new freephone number)

(USA) Suicide Prevention Life Line – 1-800-273-8255

(Australia) LifeLine – 13 11 14

What do you do when feeling overwhelmed? Let me know if the comments.

P.S Check out my post on solutions and support in emotional struggles, the poetic refuge of bibliotherapy (nearly) all you need to know if you are struggling with a new diagnosis.