Emotions can be tricky. We might start the day feeling one way, ready to conquer the world…but then something triggers us. Maybe someone cut us off on our way to work or maybe a family member made an offhand comment and now we are struggling to regulate. Emotions are spiraling and then someone tells us to “Take a Chill Pill'' and suddenly we’ve been sent completely over the edge.
So, what just happened? Mental or emotional overload, past trauma, feeling exhausted—many things could negatively impact our ability to regulate our emotions. Sometimes it feels like a million thoughts are running through our head, sometimes it feels like a physiological experience where our heart is racing and we are struggling to catch our breath. There are many ways we get to that point where our emotions take the wheel and we are reacting in ways that aren’t exactly reasonable or even functional. Just know that this is totally normal. Emotions are stored in the “reptilian” side of our brain—our amygdala. Oftentimes when things become overwhelming—that is the part of the brain that “turns on” and suddenly it may seem like all reason and logic are out the window. This is our self-preservation kicking in.
There are also certain situations or people that might trigger these responses. You might seem to be totally emotionally regulated in certain settings, but for some reason when you are back in a specific environment or interacting with a certain person—you become disregulated. If you are starting to notice these patterns and want to get to the root of what is really going on, therapy may be a good idea for you.
At 253 Therapy and Consult, we offer tools and feedback that may help you gain a wider perspective of what may be going on underneath the iceberg. We can aid in the process of learning to effectively respond to an overwhelming emotional experience, as well as engage in on-going self-care strategies that widen our emotional tolerance. Having strategies such as practicing mindfulness is a great start and can help us become more self-aware.
In order to self-regulate, we must learn and understand what our emotions are trying to tell us and where they come from. We hope we can help you in taking that first step in getting started with therapy!