How to deal with sudden emotional overwhelm

Sometimes, it hits me like a ton of bricks. 


Painful emotion.

I sit at my kitchen table, having breakfast and reading a magazine. When all of a sudden, I think about something terrible happening to my mother and a wave of terror wells upp inside my chest. My eyes tear up immediately. Blood rushes to my face. My breathing shallows.

I have no idea what's happening. I'm in a good mood. I have done nothing to trigger these feelings. I don't even know what these feelings are. A weird combination of intense love and a fear of loss. 

This happens to me every once in a while, always without warning or warrant. I involuntarily imagine a loved one getting hurt or dying, I react as if it already happened, and then I am shocked over how I could possibly imagine such a horrible thing. 

I sit for several minutes, trying to think happy thoughts to wash away the feelings. But all I can think about it how stupid and unnecessary it is of me to do this to myself. 

Do you know what I mean? Do you too sometimes get a surge of overwhelming fear and horror, right out of the blue?

I don’t know if it’s a HSP thing - something that happens more often and more powerfully to highly sensitive or emotional people. Or if it’s really common and everyone gets it.

However, I have slowly found a way to deal with this nuisance. 

Here are my 3 tips for dealing with sudden emotional overwhelm:

  1. I allow the emotions to come. I don't hold back. It's just feelings, they can't hurt me or anyone else in a real way. 
  2. I dare to just be in the emotions and explore them. What nuances are there in there? Quite often, a feeling is a cocktail of several different thoughts, both positive and negative.
  3. I try to convert the emotional energy into something positive. When I am struck by overwhelming fear of losing someone close to me, I redirect my fear into gratitude. I focus on how thankful I am to have them in my life and I visualize my love beaming in their direction, keeping them safe.
  4. I distract myself with something nice, like watching an episode of a tv show, or going for a walk. 

Does this kind of emotional lightning strike ever happen to you, and how do you deal with it?

Want more from me?

Join the Secret Club and get my free email course, Strong & Sensitive: 7 days towards embracing your true nature and turning your sensitivity into a strength.