Have you ever watched a kid throw a tantrum?
I’ve had plenty of opportunities to witness a child meltdown, especially in the last couple of weeks. The beauty about children is that they instinctively know how to deal with stress and haven’t yet bought into the socialization that tells them to bottle their feelings up.
Look, I’m not saying that tantrums are fun… but they make sense.
These tiny people have such big emotions and don’t always know exactly how to release them. So they cry and scream and kick and hit.
Somewhere along the line, we’ve been taught to not trust our feelings.
Don’t be so sensitive.
Why are you angry?
Just shake it off.
As we get older, we buy into the idea that it’s wrong to feel anything other than happiness and maybe an appropriate level of sadness.
What I’ve found with working with my own mindset and coaching other high achieving women is that when we come up against feelings like anxiety and overwhelm, we often try to use our big, beautiful brains to think ourselves out of the problem.
Because why not? In our regular lives, we’re problem solvers and shit-get-doners.
We take charge, pick up the slack, and figure things out even at the expense of our own mental health at times.
So when things start getting overwhelming and my anxiety starts turning up those negative, nervous voices in my head, I sometimes say to myself, I just need to push through this.
I can push through these feelings until I’m back on track again, right?
You can’t out-logic the illogical thoughts in your head. Even if you know you’re safe and secure, if your brain is telling you to be scared, you’re going to feel scared.
It makes sense to feel scared or overwhelmed or angry or weepy or panicked right now.
You’re not wrong.
There will be lots of time for thinking later. Right now you need to feel those feelings.
Close your eyes and feel where they’re coming from, where are they residing in your body.
For me, it starts in my stomach — that roller coaster drop feeling — and then spreads to my chest.
We need to find ways to physically unload those feelings before we can even think about moving forward.
And we need to unload those feelings every day, especially in times of extreme stress (hello, global pandemic).
What does this look like?
Sink into the energy.
Does it feel like a buzzing in your body that needs to get out?
Does it feel like a wave that is washing you over? Do you feel full up to your chin with emotions?
Now think of how can you physically release that energy.
If you feel buzzy, that might mean going for a run or waving your arms & body around or jumping up and down (my go-to) or dancing with your full body.
If you feel filled to the brim with energy, that might mean you need to cry in the shower (another one of my go-tos) or scream into a pillow.
Find whatever works for you to release that energy so that you can get it out of your body and complete the stress cycle.
When my daughter feels overwhelmed, sometimes she’ll release a full body scream. She lets that scream flow through her entire tiny body and right out into the room.
Then usually afterwards, she’s able to sit down and talk through what is happening with her.
Don’t keep those feelings bottled up inside. Find your version of a little kid meltdown.
PS – If you’re feeling overwhelmed or isolated and are looking for a way forward, comment or go ahead and schedule a Clarity Session with me.