By Susan Regan, MFT
Oftentimes, we have intense emotional states and get flooded with the emotions. It’s important to understand why this is happening. Sometimes, we get flooded with past traumas, but it’s important to slow down and remember not to act or react during this time. People in our group described times that they felt flooded with emotional intensity. A lot of times, people who are going through divorce are triggered by what’s going on currently but they are also being reminded of something that has happened in the past. It’s hard to differentiate what’s going on but oftentimes when you are feeling flooded, time is different. You feel panic. You can’t make decisions and you get emotional in many different ways. You may feel fear, anxiety, and sadness all at the same time. It’s important to give yourself some space and not deal with everything you’re feeling in that moment right away. It’s important to note that feelings come and go and you might want to have some sort of thought about slowing your feelings down as if you have control over your feelings — like water coming out of a faucet. You had the control to shut them down to either a gentle flow or a drip. Another way is to find a way to put things in a container and think about them one thing at a time once you’re more balanced. The brain becomes unbalanced when it is stressed and there is a strong emotional response. If it overemotional, it can’t really be rational. One of the ways to do that is to do bilateral movement like walking, swimming, or biking. Another way is to do something soothing that gets you out of your head like yoga, or taking a bath or eating something. The other important thing about self-care is the way we talk to ourselves. Empathize, have compassion and be encouraging. Saying things like “Let’s get through the next hour,” will help. Treat yourself like the most precious object. If you have kids, think about when you were able to soothe them and how quickly they respond to that. The part of you that needs to be soothed can react the same way.