Have you recently found yourself suffering mentally or emotionally and searching for something, anything to help stop the emotional pain? Are you wondering what can you do when emotional pain is too much? Maybe you could turn to drugs or alcohol to try to numb the pain. Maybe you use food to cope with the emotional pain. Maybe you have chosen to self-harm. Perhaps you decided to distract yourself by buying something new and sparkly.
Alcohol, shopping, and food in moderation are not a problem by themselves, but if any of these turn into your primary coping strategy for emotional pain it can lead to more problems than relief.
There are better options to cope when emotional pain is too much.
What To Do When Emotional Pain Is Too Much
The number one reason that people seek out therapy is rooted in emotional pain. Intense emotions can trigger negative thoughts and judgments towards yourself or others, leaving you feeling extremely sad or angry.
These intense emotions can also make us feel physical discomforts, such as fatigue, chest pain, stomach aches, or tension.
Furthermore, they can lead to unhealthy emotion-driven behavior such as aggression, withdrawal, and avoidance, each of which can make the emotional pain worse.
The first thing you need to do when emotional pain is too much is to change your behaviors – understand that your old coping mechanisms no longer work and it is time to develop new ones.
Nine Ways to Cope When Emotional Pain Is Too Much
1. Seek Professional Help
Sometimes a counselor is necessary to help you when the emotional pain is too much and overcoming it by yourself seems impossible. Sometimes events in life are just too painful and too much for a person to deal with. There is nothing wrong with finding a therapist to help you through a difficult time.
Start the changes you are longing for! With the help of a trained therapist, you can start a new relationship with your emotions and create a new life that is hopeful and positive. If you are ready to get help with unhealthy behaviors such as drinking or binge eating or learn better coping skills for emotional pain caused by anxiety, depression, or trauma, click the orange button below. Then simply fill out the short assessment and you will soon be matched with a qualified therapist wanting to hear your story and offering help to find new ways to soothe your emotional pain.We may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling services we recommend.
2. Be More Active
If you are suffering from overwhelming emotional pain you may not feel like getting out of bed. However, this can lead to feeling worse and depression.
Instead, try to move more. Stand up and stretch frequently. Take a short walk around the block. Try some simple beginner yoga poses (there are plenty on Youtube). Dance or sing along with some uplifting music (again, search Youtube).
Any sort of physical exercise can help relieve the pain in your body. It may seem counter-intuitive to move if you lack the energy, so how could moving help? Although, moving when you feel sad or depressed can actually give you more energy and enlighten your spirits. It also helps to mobilize your nervous system which results in having more energy. I always feel much better after a brief workout.
3. Pick Up a New Hobby
Start a new hobby, try something new that you have often thought about trying or perhaps one that you already like to do but never made much time for. Love to hike? Break out those old hiking shoes and explore a new local park or walking path.
Do you enjoy playing board games? Start a weekly or monthly game night with a small group of friends.
4. Start Journaling
Did anything good or bad happen during your day? Note it down in your journal along with your thoughts about how the event made you feel.
If you decide to seek therapy, you may even wish to share some of your journal entries with your therapist.
5. Be Open To Others
Just as you don’t like to see others suffering, others don’t like to see you suffering.
Don’t close yourself off in your house and avoid others. Be open and allow them in. Being open benefits both them and you. Since humans are social beings, isolating yourself will only exacerbate your pain.
The antidote is to connect with others.
6. It’s Okay To Cry
Are you afraid to cry? Don’t be. Let out the tears.
Crying actually has health benefits such as lowering stress and releasing toxins from the body.
On the other hand, bottling up your tears can poison your mind and body.
When you block or suppress your emotions, your body implements physical strategies like altering your breathing, constricting muscles, etc. Over time, these behaviors can cause physical symptoms like chronic pain, poor digestion, or immune-related problems.
If you still struggle to cry, consider watching a movie or reading a book that has similar themes to the pain you are experiencing. This usually works for me when I struggle to let out my tears.
7. Don’t Stew About It
Don’t torment yourself by obsessing over what caused your emotional pain. Whatever has happened is already in the past and cannot be undone.
Reliving it over and over again in your head will only cause things to be worse.
Instead, ask yourself, what can you do going forward? Do you have any control over the situation?
Also, be careful not to blame or shame yourself.
If you conclude that nothing can be done, the best and only choice is to accept what is and let yourself experience the feelings that you feel.
Many find it helpful to process their feelings with a therapist, friend, or write them down in a journal. It is easier to calm your mind when you access your feelings.
8. Stop Repeating The Story
You may believe that you have come to terms with the cause of the pain, but given the opportunity to tell the story again to yet another person, you will.
In the beginning, this can be helpful, but it is important to stop telling the story as doing so is like opening up a wound again. After a few days or a few weeks at most, you should not be telling the story any longer.
Instead, focus on what you have overcome and where you are now. What resources or skills have you used or could you use to get past the remaining emotional pain?
Instead of venting, look deeper into your primary feelings regarding the situation and enable yourself to truly experience them. Oftentimes, we get stuck on our secondary emotions when it comes to pain such as anxiety or anger while simultaneously blocking other important and primary feelings, such as sadness or hurt.
9. Practice Gratitude
Start writing down everything in your life that is positive and good. What are you thankful for? A loving mother? Caring father? Even having the basics like food, clothing, and shelter counts. Write down all of these things and reflect upon them.
I find that practicing gratitude gives me perspective. You’re not trying to disregard your negative emotions. You should allow yourself to experience and feel those, too. The purpose is to recognize and focus on the good. Often in life, we can get stuck focusing on what’s “wrong” and we tend to lose focus of all the “what’s right.”
Human emotions are very useful and help us to adapt. We can work to control them, but we can’t stop or get rid of them.
Emotions were designed by nature as a warning signal. However, if we try to avoid them, numb them, or use other unhealthy coping strategies, then they can cause us harm or pain.
Sometimes, when emotional pain is too much, things feel hopeless. However, following or implementing the nine strategies above, you will have a far greater chance of overcoming your emotional pain.
You may consider taking our emotional trauma test to help you better understand the source of your pain.
Remember, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel that the emotional pain is too much to bear.We may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling services we recommend.