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What do I do when my emotions start to overwhelm me?

19 Answers
Last Updated: 09/14/2021 at 6:51pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
January 10th, 2015 11:35pm
Write down all the facts about whatever you are going through, notice how facts are less scary than emotions and thoughts.
July 14th, 2015 8:15pm
When your emotions begin to overwhelm you, one good thing to do that I have discovered is finding something to ground you. Is there a poem you like to read? Could you write out your emotions? Allowing your brain to focus on one task can be helpful. Additionally, I like to teach myself to "ride the wave", don't fight the emotions as they will get more overwhelming. Allow yourself to feel the ins and outs of your emotions.
January 13th, 2015 3:49pm
I like this simple method: Breath in, count to four. Breath out, count to four. Doing something simple like focusing on breathing and counting can help relax you and help settle what emotions you may be feeling.
February 10th, 2015 9:37am
First and foremost: breathe. If you're body's not fed with enough air, it'll start playing tricks on you, so keep breathing and slowly process your feelings bit by bit when you're ready. Try to see what made your emotions surge like that and see if you can do something about it, like, say, walking away from triggers?
April 11th, 2015 8:09am
You can try different coping mechanisms to help manage your emotions when this happens, you could try writing a diary, a series of poems or stories about how you feel to let your thoughts out onto paper. I've tried it myself and it really helps! :)
November 3rd, 2015 2:15am
Did something just happen? In that case allow things to cool down. Give yourself time to let your emotions settle (and give him time too) because outbreaks of aggression/sadness often cause adrenaline to spike, which can really cloud judgement. When emotions seem to build up every wall of your mind, it is best to take a break. Drink water and do something that you enjoy in personal quiet times. Do you like reading? Go online and find a book you may like to read. There are plenty of sources to read books for free online. Listening to music helps you? Youtube or ListenOnRepeat is a great idea! Best of luck!
December 21st, 2015 6:04am
Take a step back from the situation. Go for a walk, listen to music, go for a drive or take a shower. Emotions are weird like that; find what concerns you, and back away from it.
December 22nd, 2015 12:27am
It's really difficult to control emotions, especially when they're all swarming in at once and overwhelming your mind. I find it really helps to ground myself. This means focusing on the outside world and reality, instead of getting caught up in what's going on inside my mind. Try focusing on 5 things that you can see at that moment. Then move on to 5 things you can touch. Next, 3 things you can hear. This makes you able to calm yourself more effectively at that moment, and gain perspective on what exactly it is that you're feeling. Separating yourself from overwhelming emotions, even for a few moments, can really help.
March 14th, 2016 10:19pm
Listen to music, and whatever mood your feeling at that time, listen to the opposite of that emotion. If you're feeling upset/depressed listen to something upbeat like pop music. Or if your feeling angry listen to something calming, (Maybe sometimes it won't even have to be actual music, it could be the sound of an ocean too!) Or maybe drawing out what you're feeling and drawing on the paper as well what's making you feel that way. If you're feeling down, draw on a piece of paper what's making you feel that way. Then crumble up that piece of paper and throw it away. (This resembles throwing that thing that's making you feel that way, away so you won't have to feel that way anymore). Hope this helped! :)
July 25th, 2016 1:04pm
Calm down and try to meditate whatever.. Actually it depends on the type of an emotion.. is it happy or sad.
November 14th, 2016 7:25pm
Deep breathing works for me. I know this sounds like the most generic answer in the world but it's all in the way you do it. When most people breath in they do it from their chests. You take a deep breath in through your gut and let it expand naturally, then you let it out slowly. This gives your brain more oxygen which helps cool things down a bit.
December 20th, 2016 11:41am
When MY emotions overwhelm me, I try to slow my breathing and take deep breaths. I will go to some place quiet like a bathroom and focus on my body. I will remind myself that although anxiety can feel really terrible, it can't hurt me. I remind myself that I am safe. Calming down doesn't happen by itself. I have to really focus on it.
March 6th, 2017 6:46am
Either distract yourself from the situation that is causing an overwhelming emotion for you,,, or getting aside a bit from the scenario, do deep and slow breathing mindfully,
November 14th, 2017 3:13pm
This is a great question! There are many things you can do, such as mindfulness, distraction techniques, and much more! If you are unsure how to practice these, myself or another listener would be happy to assist you! You can also search this site for different ideas!
January 30th, 2018 9:10pm
I listen to music and close my eyes and it helps me to switch off my brain and reset. Today is a new day and today with be MY day.
October 14th, 2019 9:49pm
I think there are several answers to this. In the past, I was an unknowing advocate of simply trying to distract myself but I found that this didn't really help me resolve anything. So when the distraction ended, no emotional growth and no resolution took place. Now, when I feel overwhelmed, I try and do the opposite. I try to focus on the emotions and feel them fully (even if they are somewhat scary) in a controlled fashion. To help steady the process, I have found writing them out in a journal to be immensely helpful and calming. Also, getting into a calm, comforting environment and then focusing on breathing can help me experience what I need to experience and grow in the process
June 16th, 2020 10:45pm
Dealing with emotions is difficult, and sometimes we tend to bottle them up. Talking with someone about it can help a lot if you feel comfortable with it. For me, I usually face a lot of emotions at night when there's no one around, so I would write in my notebook about my feelings. Writing about my emotions helps to calm me down. Afterwards, I can remember what I felt and how it got better. At first, I thought having a journal would just be silly, but it really helped me to understand what I was going through. A;though, it really depends on the circumstances and what feels best.
August 24th, 2020 10:15pm
Learn the art of self-soothing. For example, meditation. Understand the roots of your overwhelming emotions. Treat the root cause. Try writing a diary. Talking with someone about it can help a lot if you feel comfortable with it. I think if one wants to control their response and be present, they must practice mindfulness. Emotions don't need to be feared. Learn how to separate emotions from emotional responses. The next time you feel a wave of emotions coming, try to take slow, deep breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth. Just keep going. No feeling is final.
September 14th, 2021 6:51pm
First, take a deep breath. It is important to have a clear mind when dealing with overwhelming emotions. For me, I find it very helpful to write out a list of ever emotion I am feeling. Sometimes just putting it on paper can take pressure off yourself. Then go through the list one emotion at a time. Try to identify what triggers this emotion and how you can change or address it. Many times you may find that multiple emotions are coming from one certain person/event/location. It may also be helpful to communicate these feelings with a trusted person. Just saying feelings out loud help you to process them.