Flooding Feelings

feeling waves

Have you ever felt completely overcome by your emotions?  Flooded by such strong feelings that you cannot get your bearings?

This is a common occurrence with people who have experienced trauma or grief, or who are dealing with extremely stressful, overwhelming life situations.  So common in fact, that therapists refer to this experience as “flooding.”

What I tell my clients who experience flooding is to let it wash over them like a wave, without getting caught up in the current.  Do not fight the intense feelings, but instead allow them to roll in and roll out.  During times when you feel flooded, you can practice letting it wash over you (without drowning you) by using grounding techniques:

  • Drink a glass of cold water or hot tea
  • Put your feet on a cold floor or stomp your feet
  • Draw, paint or write to get the feelings out
  • Repeat a helpful phrase, for example: “I am safe” or “This too shall pass”
  • Hold a stuffed animal or pillow
  • Wrap up in a blanket
  • Scan your current environment and describe it out loud
  • Breathe in and out slowly and intentionally
  • Distract yourself by watching a funny movie or television show
  • Go for a walk
  • Call a friend
  • Meditate
  • Busy yourself with yard work or house work
  • Use your hands to shred tissues

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Quote Of The Month:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou