There are periods in life where emotions can get the best of you. Some things are easy to move past, while others take a long time and a great deal of strength. When negative events happen simultaneously or are especially difficult and beyond your control, it can seem like the best thing to do is numb the pain. Temporary moments of relief, for some, is better than nothing at all. Unfortunately, the methods used to mask the overwhelming emotions aren’t healthy and only make matters worse.
Self-Medicating is Never the Answer
Self-medicating is the act of using alcohol or substances (drugs) to “treat” a problem. Drinking excessively because you’re stressed is a common example of this. Alcohol has euphoric properties that offer a temporary satisfaction and high. It makes the user feel “happy” or “stress-free” at the moment.
This is only temporary and never a healthy solution. Drinking to numb or reduce stress will eventually increase your stress. Alcohol dependence or abuse can lead to financial trouble, relationship and familial issues, as well as professional problems. It also doesn’t solve the initial problem. If you suffer from drug or alcohol addiction you should look for help. They offer rehab treatment in California and states where insurance would cover the costs.
Know the Signs
Many have been trained to suck it up and keep it moving when it comes to their emotional pain. Sometimes feelings are suppressed so deep into the mind, that they build up over time and cause an overload. In order to keep these feelings from taking control of your life or stealing your happiness, it is important to realize when you’re emotionally overwhelmed.
Some signs include:
- Extreme sadness
- Persistent anger, fear, or anxiety
- Anxiety, depression, chronic stress
- Stressing over small things
- Suffering panic attacks
- Lack of concentration
- Social isolation
- Mood swings
- Substance dependency
How to Cope
Whether you’ve lost a parent or a job, when you’re dealing with overwhelming emotions it is imperative to do something about it. Allowing these feelings to fester can lead to the deterioration of your physical and emotional well-being, not to mention your personal and professional life.
Below are some strategies for coping:
- Allow Yourself to Feel – Don’t harbor negative feelings. When something happens, don’t be afraid to allow yourself to feel. Cry, scream, yell, whatever you need to do to express what you’re going through right now.
- Write Daily – Getting negative feelings out is the key here. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed about something that you can’t control or verbalize to others, write it down. Writing it down can be just as therapeutic as saying it out loud and also gives you something to reference in the future.
- Take a Break – When you realize that you’re emotionally overwhelmed, do yourself a favor and take a step back for awhile. Go on vacation or just sit at home and allow your mind and body to process what you’re going through.
- Get Plenty of Sleep – Believe it or not, a good night’s rest can help you wake up feeling like a brand new person. Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system, digestive health, and decrease your ability to focus and think properly. Therefore, you should make sure that you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep every night.
- Go to Therapy – If necessary, don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist for further assistance. Therapists can assist you in sorting through your emotions and learning positive methods for coping when things get bad.
Life isn’t always easy. When you’re going through an especially difficult time it is never a good idea to try and hold in the pain or self-medicate to forget about it temporarily. Start by allowing yourself to be in the moment and experience your feelings. Then, work each day at boosting your mood and releasing negative energy through journaling, self-care, and if necessary, therapy. Though it may take awhile, with continued effort you will move on to see brighter days.