What Causes Emotional Overwhelm?

A couple of weeks ago, a lovely client asked me in a session: “How do I not let it get to the point where I’m about to emotionally break down again?” in other words, how do I prevent feeling emotionally overwhelmed or having an emotional breakdown?

So if you’ve been asking yourself, why do I get emotionally overwhelmed so easily? Read on…

Well, the answer is simple – you have to deal with your negative emotions as soon as they come up! Do NOT leave it to later because – let’s be honest – you never do it later. You forget, you get busy, life happens and realistically, this is just your way of getting away with not dealing with those overwhelming feelings at the moment (and it will catch up to you eventually).

It’s like the pressure cooker analogy…

The pressure cooker represents you, the valve is sealed so no air can get out. Every time you suppress your negative feelings or react to it, instead of feeling it, you are turning up the heat and hence the emotional pressure in other words the emotional stress continues to rise inside you.

What do you think will happen if you continue doing this for years on end?

Eventually, you will feel like you’re going to blow up! Meaning you will have an emotional breakdown.

And eventually, you do – you get emotionally triggered, irritable, and start feeling annoyed and frustrated.

This is the point where you become emotionally stressed, have a lot of negative feelings all at once, experience intense emotions that you feel you can’t cope with, are emotionally overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted from not knowing how to deal with the emotional stress, and may even start developing mental health issues and conditions such as anxiety and chronic stress for example. 

I have worked with clients who sadly left it too late and their pressure cooker did blow up and their health took a big hit as a result. Symptoms such as nervous breakdown, minor strokes, severe migraines, depression and suicidal ideation.

You don’t have to leave it until it gets to this point!

The longer you bottle up your negative feelings and continue to shut down your negative emotions, the more the pressure builds up inside you. Eventually, you will feel stressed because your body cannot cope with taking on another emotion and pushing it down, since there is no more space. This emotional energy will affect your health, relationships, energy levels, self-esteem and literally your entire life in ways you probably are not even aware of.

You turn up the pressure on yourself and create emotional stress by:

  • Not taking the time to sit with and feel your emotions
  • Dismissing your emotional needs

  • Minimizing your childhood wounds

  • Belittling the importance of your emotions

  • Justify why you are holding on to your emotions, such as anger for example

  • Intellectualizing your emotions and therefore continue to live in them

  • Distract yourself with Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, you name it, any time an emotion comes up

  • Compartmentalize your behaviour, in other words, you believe yourself to be kind until someone cuts you off

  • Rationalize your emotions away and why you feel this way instead of processing them

  • Avoid facing yourself and all your addictive unloving behaviours

  • Busy yourself when emotions come up and say you’ll deal with this later

All of the above only lead to emotional overwhelm, feelings of stress, anxiety and more.

When it comes to trying to figure out what to do when you feel emotionally overwhelmed, it’s crucial that you start seeing your emotional health as part of your everyday basic needs. Just like you shower to keep your physical body clean and eat to fuel your body, you also need to feel your emotions to process your life experiences and nurture your Soul.

They say that 80% of health issues are “stress-related” – I say it’s not stress, it’s the build-up over the years of unprocessed emotions.

Stress, anxiety and emotional overwhelm is just an accumulation of emotions you have suppressed, denied, ignored and basically not processed.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sitting with those overwhelming emotions and just doing some deep breathing while feeling. That’s it. 

And I’d just like to point out that overwhelming emotions are overwhelming! There is no way around not feeling overwhelmed to breakthrough this. The experience of overwhelm only continues because you’re not allowing yourself to fully feel those emotions but rather you’re resisting feeling them. 

I personally do this type of feeling work every day. Yes ok, sometimes I take a day off or maybe a few days if I’ve just gone through a huge process, but it’s definitely one of my top priorities.


Here are 10 ways you can release the emotional pressure for yourself so you can de-stress:

1. Start journaling about your emotions daily

2. Set sincere heartfelt intentions to emotionally face your stuff

3. Look after your basic physical needs: sleep, water, exercise, good nutritious food, relaxation, fun, socializing etc this alone will help increase your emotional resilience

4. Deal with your emotional triggers as and when they come up, don’t wait!

5. Face your past emotional wounds and unprocessed traumas   

6. Use essential oils for emotional support 

7. Have that uncomfortable conversation! Stop bottling your feelings, share what you truly feel with someone in a loving way and get it off your chest. That way, you can resolve the issue rather than brush it under the carpet and let it fester until you blow up again

8. Schedule time in your calendar to do inner work and sit with the emotional overwhelm

9. Set boundaries. Say no to things you want to say no to and start saying YES to you and your needs.

10. Get help! If you feel lost and don’t know where to start let me guide you. We will work together to figure out where and how you are keeping yourself stuck, plus I will share with you exactly what you need to do and how to start working with the emotional overwhelm rather than resisting it.

One last thing, if you are currently feeling overwhelming emotions or difficult emotions you’re struggling to process, the first thing you need to do is to ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL OVERWHELMED, and feel those emotions. It sounds crazy and I understand there’s a good reason you have not until now – it’s not what you want to feel. But the more you resist these negative feelings and judge them, the more you will actually live in them.

If you need help, I’m right here for you. I’ve been helping clients heal emotional wounds for a decade now. This is my life purpose to help you process your emotions and teach you how to do it yourself too.

The only way out is through, so you may as well embrace it now rather than deal with the negative consequences later.

To your emotional freedom,

Mel x


P.S. Check out my Healing Emotional Wounds course to learn how to heal from emotional pain so you can open your heart to love & live a more fulfilled life!

If you need support on your healing journey and want more personalized guidance check out my Intuitive Coaching & Emotional Healing Sessions and let’s get you started on getting your life back.

All techniques and information I share are considered coaching, self-help or complementary therapies. I am not a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist or medical doctor, I have a degree in Health Sciences in Complementary Therapies. Everything I write and talk about comes mainly from my own experience in healing myself and the tools, techniques, and resources I learned throughout my own inner journey.

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