top of page

Feeling overwhelmed? 4 steps to feel better immediately (the first is surprisingly effective)

Photo by Ron Lach | Pexels

We all have moments when our emotions feel overwhelming, and the weight of our feelings seems almost too much to bear. In these times, it’s important to have strategies to help us navigate through them. Today I'll share a 4-step emotional regulation strategy to help you reconnect with yourself when things feel like too much.

Step 1. Reconnect with your inner child

Whenever you’re experiencing emotional overwhelm, imagine you are a much younger version of yourself in this moment - because, essentially, that is what is happening. Often the reason we feel overwhelmed is because our bodies are remembering a time when it felt unsafe to experience similar emotions and feelings. Try to focus on this and push away any impulse to feel inadequate or to judge yourself for feeling this way. Don't try to change it. Accept what is happening inside of you as your present reality, without judgement, just as you would hold space for a child that came to you feeling this way.

Step 2. Identify where the feelings are in the body

Try to identify where in your body the feelings are manifesting as sensations. Focus on them, rather than on any thoughts or interpretations of them that might arise. Are you clenching any muscles? Is there pressure or heaviness anywhere? Do you have racing thoughts? Acknowledge them without trying to change them.

Step 3. Release trapped energy

Listen to the cues your body is giving about where the trapped energy is, and find a way to release it. Maybe you need to shake your whole body, scream into a pillow, cry, or write down your racing thoughts. If you don't know what to do, you can always try breathing into these feelings. As you focus your attention on them, gradually bring more awareness to your breath. Take slow breaths in, and even slower breaths out. By slowing down the exhalation, you allow the sensations to be released and processed by your body. It also signals to your central nervous system that you are safe.

Step 4. Become aware of your needs

Only after you feel the energy has dissipated to a comfortable level, engage in thoughts to understand what was going on. You can think about what caused it, but we recommend focusing on asking yourself "what is this feeling telling me about my unmet emotional needs?" and take it from there.

Learning to regulate your emotions can be a journey of a lifetime for some. But I've found that what makes things worse is not our emotions themselves, but the self-judgemental thoughts and feelings of inadequacy that can arise in those moments. Remember: you might not be able to control how you feel, but you can control how you think about how you feel.

The goal of taking the steps above is not to make your feelings go away, but to bring your nervous system back to a state of safety again, so you can process them better.

Have you ever used any of the strategies above to deal with emotional overwhelm?


Hi! I’m creating products that help people reconnect with themselves through their emotions, needs, vulnerabilities, imperfections, and all the beautiful things that make us human.

In late August / early September 2024, I’m launching the jornee app, aiming to empower people to reclaim control of their emotional well-being, by learning to tune into their unmet emotional needs. You can sign up for early access here.

If you want to learn more about emotional freedom, jornee and our mission, consider signing up for jornee or following us on social media to stay in touch.

We are on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok.

7 views0 comments


bottom of page