6 Steps To Move From Overwhelmed To Calm

You know those days when you feel like you will never be able to get from overwhelmed to calm?

Those days when everyone and everything is demanding so much from you that you really don’t think that you can take it anymore. Those days where it feels like your head is going to explode.

Let me help you get from overwhelmed to calm. It is possible. It just takes some awareness and action.

#1 – Take deep breaths.

When we are stressed out, the first thing that we do is we stop breathing. Well, not literally stop breathing, because then we would die. But we do unconsciously hold our breath because of increased tension in the muscles used for breathing.

So when you are feeling overwhelmed remember to breathe. Deep breaths into your belly in for 3 seconds and out for 3 seconds. Put your hand over your belly so that you can feel it filling up with air. Do these over and over until you feel a little calmer. Repeat throughout the day as necessary.

It will help you A LOT. I promise.

#2 – Go for a walk.

If it’s at all possible, take some time to go for a walk. There isn’t a woman I know who doesn’t say that her stress levels are always greatly reduced after a walk.

The thing about walking is that it kills two bird with one stone.

Walking encourages deep breathing which calms you down quickly. Also, for some reason, the motion of walking encourages clearer thinking. The rhythm of the stride and the increased oxygen intake can make something that was extremely overwhelming just 20 minutes earlier much easier to manage.

#3 – Identify what is causing the overwhelm.

One of the biggest blockages to getting from overwhelmed to calm is not understanding what is specifically overwhelming you.

A client of mine was SO overwhelmed with her life. She found that she had no energy to get anything done, she yelled a lot at her kids and she could barely stand being with her husband.

She figured that she was just too stressed out by her day to day living and she came to me to help her get more organized.

We talked for a bit and I come to learn that they have 3 new dogs in the house. 3 new dogs. And they were, you guessed it, causing the overwhelm, not her lack of organization.

Once we knew what the cause was we were able to find a solution.

#4 – Share your stress.

Sharing your stress with another person is a key part of dealing with it.

They say that what is kept inside the head is 4x more intense than what is spoken. Also, if you share your overwhelm you might learn something that will help you manage it. We all have things that work for us and sharing them with others can be very helpful.

If you have someone you can talk with about your overwhelm then absolutely do it. Be it a therapist, a friend or a partner, let those overwhelming thoughts out of your head and into the world.

From there they have a reduced power and are easier to deal with.

#5 – Make a plan.

Once you have pinpointed the cause of the overwhelm it is time to make a plan. Without a plan the overwhelm usually doesn’t just disappear. In fact, it often gets worse.

For my client with the dogs, the plan involved crating up the dogs during the dinnertime and also again at bedtime. Not having the dogs bouncing around, distracting the kids and getting into trouble my client was able to focus on the work at hand and not let it stress her out.

No more yelling at her kids. Phew.

#6 – Follow through.

The most important part of making a plan is following through. Even the best made plans don’t work if you don’t follow through.

I have a client who is constantly overwhelmed by her life. She can’t keep her apartment clean, has a difficult time keeping appointments, struggles to do things that involve any planning and who would rather just stay in bed all day.

We made a plan for her hire someone to clean her apartment once a week and to spend 10 minutes a day neatening up. She was so excited about the plan. And then she didn’t do it. And her apartment stayed a mess. And she continued to be overwhelmed. And even more overwhelmed because she had let herself down by not doing it.

So make sure that you follow through on your plans to deal with your overwhelm. If you don’t your overwhelm could actually truly overwhelm you and that will not be fun.

If you want to get from overwhelmed to calm it is possible and it is possible to do so quickly.

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed get outside and go for a walk, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Breathe deeply as you stride. You will see that your overwhelm reduces significantly right away.

As you walk, consider what is overwhelming you and make a plan to fix it. If you have someone to help you figure it out even better. And then make it happen.

Manage your overwhelm. Don’t let it manage you.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Tips For Having Both Career Success And Happiness

When we were young girls we were told that we could have it all – a husband, kids, career success and happiness. And we really believed that to be true.

And, while it can be hard work, it is possible to have it all.

Career success and happiness can go hand in hand. Here is how…

#1 – Don’t settle for a career you don’t love.

Unless your career is something that is just a means to an end and isn’t an important part of your self-worth there is NO WAY that you will find happiness in your life if you aren’t happy in your career.

If your career is important to your self worth then it’s essential that you don’t settle for a career that you don’t love.

Many of us start out in a job, any job, just so we can start to earn money. And many of us get trapped in that job, whether we like it or not, because the money is good or the prospect of going out and getting a new job is too daunting.

If you find yourself in that spot, in a career that you don’t love and that is causing your unhappiness, move heaven and earth to get out of that job and find one that you love.

Today, right now, think about what kind of career you would like to have if you were in charge of the world. Just think about it. And when you know GO FOR IT. (Let me know if I can help!)

#2 – Don’t neglect yourself.

Are you one of those people who works so hard at your career that you have stopped taking care of yourself?

Do you tell yourself that the lack of sleep or the weight gain or the hair loss (from stress) is a small price to pay for career success?

If this is you, I am guessing that your happiness level is pretty low, even if your career is going strong. Because you simply can’t be happy in your life if you aren’t taking care of yourself. You might think you are happy. But are you really?

So take the time to take care of yourself and work hard. Get some sleep, eat well, indulge yourself when you can. Taking care of you will ensure you a lot of happiness. I promise.

#3 – Don’t stop learning, both in your life and your career.

Many of us, as we settle into the grown up life of parent, spouse and career person, stop learning. We figured that we paid our dues in high school and college and that is that. No more learning required.

I would argue that learning is essential for growth and happiness and they say it keeps your brain young.

I am not saying that you need to go back to school full time but do make an effort to learn something new every day.

Are you given a project at work that you know nothing about? Dive in! Are you wondering just what is all this hype about apple cider vinegar? Get online and find out. Wondering what you can do to learn some marketing tools so that you can get that promotion? Take a seminar. Hoping for some guidance on love and relationships? Check out the 5 Love Languages.

My point is is that every day there is an opportunity to learn something new. Grab that opportunity. Use your brain. It will get you far.

#4 – Don’t lose touch with friends and family.

Are you the one who is always missing the family event because of work? Are you the one whose friends don’t invite you out for happy hour because they know that you will say no?

If you are this person I am going to plead with you to STOP.

Very old people say that at the end of their life they don’t wish that they had stayed for that one important meeting or that they could have climbed just a little higher on that corporate ladder. At the end of their lives, old people regret the times that they missed with loved ones, precious lost time that they can never get back.

So if you want career success and happiness work hard but not too hard. Your loved ones need you, and you need them for when the going gets rough.

#5 – Don’t prioritize your career over love.

This is one that I wish I would say over and over and over. I will say it one more time.

Don’t prioritize your career over love.

One career is incredibly important both for personal and financial reasons. But if you put it before your love then you will be setting yourself up for neither career success or happiness.

I have a client whose husband worked all the time, who was never home for dinner and who always missed dates with her. She tried to get him to let go of work a bit and be with her but his career was too important to him.

So she left him. And what happened next? He was alone, living in a small apartment. He had his kids every other week and that was stressful because he had to manage them and work. He didn’t have someone to come home to and support him. Everything suffered.

In the end, my client’s ex lost a promotion because of the chaos that was his life after his divorce.

On top of that, my client’s ex was lonely and sad and left wondering what he had done with this life.

So look up right now at the one you love and decide to make them a priority going forward.

Career success and happiness can definitely go hand in hand.

The key is making sure that you are doing work that you love, that you take care of yourself and that your priorities are on straight.

I love coaching more than any other career that I have had and it has brought me much personal happiness. But I know that I wouldn’t have that happiness without my health, the man sitting beside me and the kids on their way over for dinner.

So go for it. You can have it all too!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

6 Healthy Relationship Do’s And Don’ts That Can Make Or Break Yours

As far as lists go, healthy relationship do’s and don’ts are one of the most important because healthy relationships, and the love that is a part of them, make the world go round.

For every “do” there is a “don’t” associated with it. Understanding the difference between the two is a key part of really knowing how to be in a healthy relationship, one that is full of love and romance and respect and, well, all of it!

#1 – Do: Express your feelings.

Expressing your feelings in a relationship is very important. Many of my clients say I don’t have to tell him that I love him. He knows. Yes, he might know but that doesn’t mean you can’t tell him.

Furthermore, if you are angry or sad or lonely because of something that your partner did, tell him. He needs to know how he made you feel so he can learn what you need from him and you need to express your feelings so they don’t get trapped in your body. Feelings that get trapped in your body are toxic.

Don’t: Be passive aggressive.

It is very important that you express your feelings but it is VERY important that you not be passive aggressive in how you express them.

Passive aggressiveness is a tendency to engage in indirect expression of hostility through acts such as subtle insults, sullen behavior, stubbornness, or a deliberate failure to accomplish required tasks.

If your partner did something to upset you it’s not okay to given him the silent treatment, to sulk, to do to him what he did to you, or act in any way that isn’t straightforward about how you are thinking.

If your husband is always home late for work tell him how upset you are. Don’t ignore him when he gets home and then tell him that you don’t want him home anyway and that he might as well just stay at work forever. This will only make matters worse and will never get you what you really want – that he come home at night for dinner.

#2 – Do: Be understanding.

People are human. And sometimes they make mistakes. And if they do it’s okay. They are human.

If your husband promised you that he would put up the curtain rods on a rainy Saturday afternoon and if, by the end of the day, that didn’t happen, it’s okay to be upset. But it’s essential that you talk to him about it and understand why it didn’t happen.

Yes, perhaps he just chose to watch football with your son instead or maybe he just forgot. Either way, he is only human. Express your disappointment that the job wasn’t done but forgive him and try again on Sunday.

Don’t: Take things personally.

If your husband promised you that he would put up the curtain rods on a rainy Saturday afternoon and if, by the end of the day, that didn’t happen, don’t take it personally.

Don’t think If he loved me he would have put up the curtain rods. That simply isn’t true. He didn’t put up the curtain rods for a variety of reasons but none of them was because he didn’t love you.

#3 – Do: Be honest.

An essential part of being in a healthy relationship is honesty. Truly, a healthy relationship cannot exist if partners aren’t honest with each other.

If something has happened or you are feeling some way, it is essential that you let your partner know so that you can process it together. Sharing everything is a big part of maintaining a healthy, intimate relationship.

Don’t: Keep secrets.

Keeping secrets will kill a relationship. Period.

Even those little pesky secrets, the ones that you keep because you want to ‘protect your loved one,’ are insidious and destructive and will only cause trouble.

Don’t keep secrets. They always get out and when they do the harm that they cause is often worse than the secret itself.

#4 – Do: Maintain a healthy sex life.

A healthy sex life is an essential part of every relationship. The only person in the world that you are having sex with is your partner and that should be treated as the very special thing that it is. Make sex a regular and enjoyable part of your relationship.

Don’t: Pretend that the sex is okay when it isn’t.

If the sex you are having with your partner isn’t okay then let your partner know. I can guarantee you that your partner would rather know the truth and be able to do what he can to make the sex more enjoyable than to find out that you have just been pretending all along.

Once again, be honest!

#5 – Do: Appreciate each other.

 You have a partner who you have chosen for a variety of reasons. He is handsome or smart or kind or practical or handy. For whatever reason you chose him to be yours.

Now that he is yours, appreciate everything that you have. If your man fixes your cabinets for you without asking, or helps your neighbor solve that tax problem or looks just so in his new green sweater, TELL HIM!

You know how good it feels when he tells you.

Don’t: Take each other for granted.

Unfortunately, often times once we settle down into a long-term relationship we start to take each other for granted. The things that we fell in love with them for are things that we just assume will always be there, not matter what we do.

I know that when I was married I just assumed my husband would always be there, no matter how I treated him, which wasn’t always very well. And guess what. He left me!

So don’t take your guy for granted. If you love him make him feel that way. Every day.

#6 – Do: Laugh with each other.

Laughing is an essential part of every healthy relationship. Remember when you first fell in love, the hours you spent together, sharing and laughing. And didn’t if feel good?

It is so important that the laughter continue. Make sure you spend time together doing what you both love, enjoying each other’s company and laughing.

Don’t: Laugh at each other.

One of the things that happen when couples are together for a long time is that they aren’t always kind to each other. Those things that bug us about our partner often are revealed in unkind ways.

Do you ever find yourself laughing at your partner because he is letting people take advantage of him again? Or sarcastically commenting on how well his shirt and tie match? Do you talk to your friends about the stupid things that he does?

If you do any of these things, stop. If you have issues with your husband or if he does something that bothers you, tell him, don’t laugh at him. Because that kind of laughter just isn’t funny.

Being in a healthy relationship can be really amazing but it can also be a lot of hard work. It is very important that you follow my healthy relationship do’s and don’ts to keep yours going strong.

It is important that you are always honest with your partner, in a kind way, that you don’t take things personally and that you don’t keep secrets. It is also key that you have a sex life that pleases you both, that you love and appreciate each and that laughter is a priority.

If you are reading this, I am guessing that you have a healthy relationship that you want to keep healthy. You CAN do it. Start today.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Tips For How To Organize Your Life For Success

Are you wondering how to organize your life for success?

Have you found that recently you feel like you can barely stay ahead of the chaos that is your life? Are you weighed down by obligations to work, family, friends and self- care? Are you just exhausted and feeling hopeless and helpless?

The good news is is that there is hope and help! There are ways that you can organize your life so that you can stay ahead of the fray.

Here is how….

#1 – Use a calendar.

The number one most important thing as far as how to organize your life for success is to have a calendar. And use it!

I had a new client who was really struggling with getting things done in her life. She worked full time, and sometimes overnight, and had two little kids. She came to me because she needed help getting organized.

The first thing that we looked at was how much time she had available in the week. It turned out to be very little so I encouraged her stop beating herself up for her lack of organization. You can only do so much with so little time.

That being said, we set out to make her operate efficiently in the little time that she had. The first step to do that was to use a calendar.

Every Sunday night my client would sit down with her calendar and make a plan for the week. She would write down everything that was non-negotiable for the week, like work, appointments, after school activities etc.

Once she had those things registered, she could see where in her week she might have time to get other things done, things like haircuts, grocery shopping and time at the gym. She registered those things on her calendar as well.

The thing about having a calendar and checking it Sunday night is that you familiarize yourself with what your schedule looks like, big picture, for the week. You also know when you have time on your schedule for things that need to get done – you don’t just try to get them done whenever you have might have time.

Calendar use – the number one tool for how to organize your life for success.

#2 – Have a routine.

Once you have your calendar up and running, it’s time to work out a routine.

I encourage my clients to look at what they need to get done every week and to establish a routine around getting them done.

For me, when my kids were young, I went grocery shopping every Tuesday (complete with a typed up grocery list, organized by aisles in the supermarket). I knew when food would be coming into the house and organized accordingly.

I also did laundry on Sunday and Thursday nights. I would do the laundry during the day and fold it at night after the kids had gone to sleep. I chose these days for a reason…TV. In the pre-DVR days we had to watch TV live and Thursday nights was ER. I could justify watching TV because I was folding the laundry!

So, make a routine around your weekly chores and put them in your calendar. You will be glad you did.

#3 – Keep a running list.

An important part of getting things done is to keep a running list.

I used to recommend that clients get a small spiral bound notebook to write down things that need to be done as they think of them. So many of us are remember things that need to get done while driving home but then forget them by the time we get home. If you have a notebook with you at all times you can keep a running list. And if you have a bound notebook instead of a scrap of paper you are less likely to lose it!

Of course, many of my clients now like to keep their list on their phones. Whatever works for you!!

Once you have a running list, when you look at your calendar on Sunday you can see where in your calendar you could get these things done and register them accordingly.

If you know that something on your list needs to be done right away,  you can review your calendar for the next few days and see where you can fit it in.

You can also, if you find you have a few free minutes, check out your running list and see if there is something that you can get done in that time. It’s amazing how much one can do in 10 minutes.

So keep a list. Refer to it often. Get things done.

#4 – Get professional help.

If we were all in charge of the world, I am sure that we would delegate our chores to professional help. Who wouldn’t want a personal organizer, a chef or a cleaning lady to take the load off a bit?

I am here to give you permission to do that, to hire some professional help, should your budget allow.

It’s okay to ask for help. This is a chaotic world that we live in and we can’t do it all, in spite of the fact that we think we can.

Imagine all of the free time that would appear if you had someone to mow your lawn once a week. Time that could be used for self-care or so that you could attack that pile of paper on your desk.

If your budget doesn’t allow for professional help, consider bartering with someone to get things done. I used to help organize my friends’ houses in exchange for driving car pool. It was a win-win for both of us as I was a great organizer and she had a bigger car!

So don’t be ashamed to ask for help! We all need it!

#5 – Take care of yourself.

More than anything, at the top of the list of how to organize your life for success is self-care.

Imagine that you have read the list above and are raring to go – to get a calendar, establish a routine, keep a running list and get help. You are so excited to get it done and then….you are so tired on Sunday that you spend the day in front of the TV instead and never get started.

Taking care of ourselves is a key to organizing our lives for success. It is important that we get enough sleep every night, eat a diet that includes at least some fresh fruits and vegetables and that we get at least a little aerobic exercise weekly. If you can add a massage or a pedicure in there even better.

In order to be able to think clearly and act efficiently we need to be healthy. These days it is almost badge of honor in our society to be so overworked that we are exhausted but don’t kid yourself. That kind of living is unsustainable and will ultimately stop you short.

So, when you are building your calendar on Sunday night, make sure you make room in there to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you are doomed to fail.

So there are a few tips for how to organize your life for success.

I know that it seems daunting, doing all of these steps, but really it’s not. All you have to do is start at the beginning.

Get yourself a calendar and start using it. Once you get into the routine you will find that the other pieces fall into place – the establishing routines, keeping running lists and asking for help will come naturally.

Just make sure you take care of yourself. It is always important that you do.

 

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

What To Do If You’re Suddenly Feeling Depressed For No Reason

So. You’re suddenly feeling depressed for no reason?

Are you happy with the state of your life, with your relationships, your job, your health? Are things generally going along just fine and yet for some reason you are feeling depressed?

If the answer is yes then there are a few things that you can do to try and figure out what is going on

#1 – Consider where you are in this time and place.

As I write this it’s February. It’s 32 degrees here in NYC and it gets dark by 5pm. It is a time of year where lots of people get depressed.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depressive disorder caused by the change of seasons. Some people get depressed because of the reduced daylight hours. Some people because of the temperature changes. Everyone affected by SAD finds themselves sad without something being wrong.

How do you deal with SAD? The most effective way is with a full spectrum lamp. The lamp will help your body tolerate the change in seasons by exposing it to full spectrum light.

Another thing to ask yourself is if something has happened to you this same time of year in another year that was painful.

I know that every year in early June I get very depressed because it is the anniversary of my mother’s death. Sometimes it creeps up on me and I don’t even know it.

So consider if you have been in a painful place before this time of year. If the answer is YES then you might have your source!

#2 – Get your thyroid and Vitamin D levels checked.

Two major causes of depression can be thyroid hormone levels that are off and low vitamin D.

When our thyroid hormone levels are off a variety of symptoms can arise. One of them is depression. Many of my clients who come to me complaining of depressive feelings often end up having thyroid disorders.

Vitamin D deficiency is also one of the major causes of depression. Because of the prevalence of sunscreen use, and a significant shortage of sunshine during some parts of the year, many Americans don’t get enough sun. The sun is the only way for a human being to get Vitamin D (other than fortified milk and orange juice) so sun deficiency means a Vitamin D deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency leads to depression.

Fortunately, in both cases, testing is easy – a simple blood test – and treatment involves taking a pill.

So if you’re suddenly feeling depressed for no reason call your primary care doctor and get your blood checked right away.

#3 – Make sure you are taking good care of yourself.

Are you eating well? Getting exercise? Spending time with friends? Taking care of your hygiene?

If not, this could be the cause of your depression.

Taking care of our mental and physical bodies is a key to mental and physical health. If you don’t take care of yourself, but instead live on wine and ice cream, eventually your body is going to react.

A body that isn’t well fed or exercised will start to turn on itself, causing all sort of debilitating issues. One of those issues is depression.

So if you find that you’re suddenly feeling depressed for no reason, examine how you are taking care of yourself. If you are not doing a good job try to make a change. You might find your depression lifts if you do.

#4 – Ask yourself some questions about how you have been feeling big picture.

For many of us, depression that comes out of nowhere has to do with what is going on in our lives. Perhaps we aren’t taking care of ourselves or perhaps we have a hormone imbalance or a vitamin deficiency. This kind of depression is called situational depression.

It is possible that instead you are suffering from clinical depression, depression caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain.

A good way to get a sense of whether or not you are clinically depressed is to ask yourself some questions. They are:

  • Are you living with feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Are you more irritable than usual?
  • Have you lost interest in things that used to make you happy?
  • Are you not sleeping as well as you used to?
  • Have your sleep patterns changed? Are you spending more time in bed?
  • Have your eating patterns changed? Have you lost or gained weight?
  • Are you more anxious than you used to be?
  • Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness?
  • Do you have a hard time focusing?
  • Do you think about committing suicide?
  • Do you have new physical problems, like headaches or backaches.

If you answered yes to any, or all, of these questions you might be struggling with clinical depression.

#5 – Reach out for help.

Regardless of what kind of depression you are struggling with, situational or clinical depression, it is important that you reach out for help.

See your primary care doctor right away about your depression. Tell them honestly about your symptoms so that they can treat you.

Many people struggle with the embarrassment of depression. They think that they should be able to suck it up and just deal, like every body else. Well, let me tell you that a significant portion of Americans deal with depression and many of them don’t just suck it up. They either self medicate with food or alcohol or they get treatment from a professional.

Guess which one is better for you.

So, if you’re suddenly feeling depressed for no reason, talk to your primary care doctor. Figure out how to deal with your depression to prevent it from getting worse.

Suddenly feeling depressed for no reason can be scary. Feeling lethargic, unmotivated, sad and angry can be debilitating.

So don’t ignore the depression and hope it goes away. Try the advice above. Consider where you are today, have your hormone and vitamin D levels checked, take care of yourself mentally and physically and check in to see if you might be clinically depressed.

The most important thing is not to go it alone. Get some professional help. Depression will get worse the longer it goes untreated so nipping it in the bud is essential.

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Things To Do When Emotions Overwhelm You

You know when you have one of those days when emotions overwhelm you? They can be scary days, can’t they be?

Fortunately there are ways to get through those emotional days without totally falling apart. It takes a little bit of attention and effort but if you are willing to do the work it will prevent those breakdowns that leave you exhausted and spent and unable to function.

So what do you do when emotions overwhelm you?

#1 – Breathe.

The first, and most important, thing to do when emotions overwhelm you is to BREATHE. I know it seems simple and obvious but it isn’t.

Most of us, when put into an emotional situation, forget to breathe. You know when you are driving past an 18-wheeler on the highway? You are gripping the steering wheel super tight and hoping that you won’t get smooshed between the truck and the guardrail. When in that spot, most people hold their breath. Next time, try taking a deep breath as you pass the truck. You will see how much easier it is when you do.

When emotions overwhelm you pause and take a deep breath. Put your hand on your tummy and breathe in for a count of three, filling up your belly as you do, and then release for a count of three. Do this repeatedly until you feel calmer.

The benefits of deep breathing are significant. Deep breathing slows your heart rate and improves your cognitive functioning so that you can think more clearly. And thinking more clearly will allow you to deal with those emotions.

#2 – Identify the emotions.

The next important thing to do, after you have taken a few deep breaths, is to identify what exactly you are feeling.

Are you feeling sadness? Anxiety? Anger? Fear? All of those are emotions that manifest themselves differently in each person and, if you know what emotion is overwhelming you, it will be easier to manage it.

Last year, at my daughter’s graduation, I learned that my ex was bringing his new wife and her family down to NYC for a big post graduation celebration. I flipped out. My heart started beating and my thoughts were racing. I wanted to pick up the phone and yell at him. Or break something.

After some deep breaths I asked myself what exactly I was feeling. Why was I reacting this way? And then I realized: I was jealous. Jealous that I couldn’t give my daughter some big family graduation celebration and that she would be having one with my ex’s family. I was very, very jealous.

And you know what? I was surprised that that was how I was feeling. But knowing that jealousy was the emotion overwhelming me changed everything for me.

First of all, there was a huge sense of relief naming my emotion. When the feeling was just some random anger and hurt I didn’t know what to do with it. Once I knew it was jealousy I was able to process that jealousy. I knew that it was okay that I was jealous. Who wouldn’t be? And knowing that it was okay that I was jealous, and that I was not some woman still bitter about her divorce, helped me process those emotions quickly.

#3 – Feel Them.

I remember the morning after my mom died. Her husband was walking around the house muttering to himself Get over it. Stop being so sad. The day after my mom died.

Emotions are hard to feel. They are painful and confusing and scary. But it is important that we allow ourself to feel them. If we stuff them down, cover them with beer or food or drugs, then we will never be able to learn to deal with them and they will just come roaring back, bigger and fiercer than ever.

So if you are scared to feel those feelings that you have when emotions overwhelm you it’s okay. But fight through that fear and feel those emotions. It will help you let go of them.

#4 – Process them.

So you have done your deep breathing, you have recognized your emotions and you have felt them deeply in your body. What’s next?

Processing your emotions. I know!  It’s easier said than done, but it’s very important that you do.

For me, knowing that I was jealous allowed me to ask myself why I was jealous. To figure out the source of the jealousy. For me it was that my kids had a new family, one that I wasn’t a part of. That made me very jealous and very sad. And, to be honest, a little bit angry.

But I knew what it was and was able to tell my kids what I was feeling. They got it and were relieved that their mom wasn’t still bitter about their dad but feeling some genuine, completely understandable emotions.

The same situation has happened again, more than once, and it has been much easier for me to process because I know exactly what emotion is happening and why.

#5 – Let them go.

The final piece to dealing when emotions overwhelm you is to let your feelings go.

Holding onto emotions that overwhelm you is not good for you on many levels.

Holding a grudge or keeping a feeling inside can cause physical illness. It can cause constant bitterness and anger, which isn’t good for your mental health. It can make you unpleasant to be around which could chase your friends away.

So feel your feelings. Process them. And then let them go. It’s okay if they come back but if they do they won’t be as powerful because you will know what to do to handle them.

Knowing what to do when your emotions overwhelm you can be very difficult in the moment. It is hard to think clearly when you are angry or sad or exhausted or hurt.

If you do nothing else on this list, just remember to breathe. If you do you will go a long way towards regulating those emotions and not letting them get the best of you.

And when your heartbeat calms down and your head clears after you breathe, you just might find the others steps easier to manage.

Imagine what it would feel like to not hold onto those overwhelming emotions. Pretty amazing, right?

 

 

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!