parenting

Emotional Flooding ... and how to stop

The dog won't stop barking, the kids won't listen to anything you say, you're tripping over shoes strewn over the house. Before you know it, you're furious - an uncontrollable rage that's pulsing through your whole body. You're ready to blow. 

It's flooding. You're so consumed by your emotions you're drowning in them. It's the opposite of numb. You can't NOT feel what you're feeling to the infinite degree and you don't know how not too. You've lost the ability to use your higher thinking and you're acting on impulse. 

Yelling at the kids to listen to you.

Hitting the dog in a desperate attempt to get him quiet.

Throwing shoes across the room.

Suddenly you've turned into this monster, doing the very things you thought you'd never do. How can you stop yourself before it gets too far?

1. Recognize the physical signs of flooding. Is your heart starting to beat faster? Are you clenching your fists or jaw? Take a quick body scan to see where you're holding your tension and try to release it.

2. Take a minute to focus on your thought stream. Are you taking these actions as personal attacks against you? Are you jumping to conclusions? Are you turning toward blame? In what ways can you change your thinking pattern?

3. Take a break. Take a few deep breaths and watch your belly rise and fall. Close your eyes if it feels right. 

Using these calming strategies, engage your higher thinking to productively problem solve. 

Navigating Life Transitions

Transitions are a natural part of life, and even the most positive life changes can be stressful. Moving to a new city, losing a loved one, accepting a new job, becoming a parent, settling a divorce - all bring a mix of emotions. Navigating these life transitions can be aided with a few simple tools.

Expect the emotional roller coaster. Some days will be easier than others. You may feel a range of emotions, from angst and worry, to excitement and anticipation. This is normal! Curbing your expectations (and removing should's from your vocabulary) will help you adjust to the new normal.

View situations as opportunities. Just a minor tweak in viewpoint can make a tremendous change. Instead of viewing unexpected transitions as setbacks, challenge yourself to make a positive re-frame. This situation is a forced opportunity for you to learn and grow as a person.

Develop a self-care ritual. There's no time like the present to develop a practice that makes you feel happy. From painting, to bubble baths, to yoga, there are a billion things you can carve into your life to take care of yourself. Setting aside intentional time to nurture your body/mind/soul can ease the pain of a growth period and help gain perspective.

Get support. Talk to family and friends. Seek support from a licensed mental health practitioner. Attend a church or religious organization. Do what makes you feel understood and supported. Chances are, you aren't the first person in the world to go through this experience. 

Seize the moment -- a new chapter of your life is here!