What does it mean to be emotionally flooded?
I’ll be honest, I’ve been snapping at the most minute and mindless things lately.
I’m very much aware of when I’m about to lose my shit, yet I still make the decision to do so (like right now when I accidentally deleted this entire newsletter after writing for 20 minutes, I almost). As much as I’ve tried to pinpoint the root cause of it, and why I’m flying into a blind rage these days, I’m lost.
Sure, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been going through some tremendous life changes in a short time span such as quitting my job and moving overseas, but I don’t think that’s an excuse for creating a negative environment at home or being a closed-off person to everyone else.
But when I fell upon this concept of “emotional flooding” I knew that it was pertinent to my situation, which is why I want to relay this information to you if you’re also in a dark mood or phase in your life that you just can’t seem to shake out of.
While it won’t solve your problems or the root cause of them, it will give you an understanding of why you’re losing control and at least make you more aware of it.
Are you emotionally flooded?
To put it simply, it’s your honest to God breaking point where everything after is fair game.
While it can happen to just about anybody, due to being overextended at work, or your kids being assholes, or life just taking it out on you, highly sensitive people tend to experience this the most.
It’s when you lose all cognitive functions, your body goes into a fight-or-flight status, and you just snap at the stupidest thing.
An example might be of throwing the bathroom soap at the wall when you see that your husband forgot to put down the seat again. Or when you scream at the top of your lungs when your kid breaks a vase by accident.
It ain’t pretty.
And yes, we’ve all been there.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind before the next flood hits you:
Your physiology changes.
“When we go into fight-or-flight mode during a heated argument, our nervous system gets hijacked, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol course through our bodies, and there is decreased activity in our prefrontal cortex—the area of the brain that controls executive functioning and more sophisticated cognition” (Suzanne Zuckerman).
For me, I know immediately when I’m about to snap and I see myself in slow motion about to flip. I’ve been better at containing myself because I absolutely hate losing control of my emotions, but I need to be better at not letting it get to the point where I’m negotiating with myself whether or not to snap.
Your body needs 20 minutes to rest.
This is a super important point to remember. Once you start feeling those emotions in your body rising up, walk away from the situation and give your mind and body time to recuperate. Don’t allow your partner to push your buttons, or your child to get the best of you. No one wins in that situation so take the damn 20 minutes to collect yourself.
Mindfulness allows us to see the thoughts as they come in and out but we keep ourselves at a distance from them. We don’t interact with thoughts that threaten us or that are not real in the context of the situation. This is really the most valuable tool in fighting emotional flooding, and the one I’m going to start practicing the most.
Like anything else in life, it takes time, practice, and self-control to get out of this state. And it all depends on how important it is to you to become more patient with yourself and with those around you. Even if you’re not able to find the root cause or you know it but can’t fix it, just being aware of what’s happening in your mind and body can help you take the next step forward.
I hope I brought you a little bit more perspective on this and I’m here to let you know that the struggle is real yo.