Q: I am feeling super overwhelmed and alone. What are some things that I can do to calm down?
A: We’re so sorry to hear that you’re feeling overwhelmed and alone. Those feelings are really difficult and we understand that it can be hard to find ways to calm and soothe yourself. We definitely have some suggestions for you, but first, have you considered what specific thoughts or events cause you to feel overwhelmed? Identifying triggers is a good first step so that you can start addressing some of the causes of your overwhelm, maybe even with a therapist.
Things you can do to help manage your feelings and to find calmness are called coping skills. Coping skills can be anything from meditation to watching a movie you love or taking a shower. What are some things you love to do? More specific skills are those that have to do with your thoughts. Are you telling yourself things that make you feel badly? For example, if you tell yourself, “I feel overwhelmed and alone,” repeatedly, your body and brain are creating the habit of thinking those things, rather than finding new thoughts that challenge your old thoughts. You might try saying to yourself, “I feel really alone, but I know the feeling will pass. I feel really alone, but I do have some friends.” Finding the “gray area” to help prove that your thoughts and feelings are not always 100% facts can be really helpful.
You can also try mindfulness, which is a type of present moment awareness. Being aware of the things around you, like noticing clouds in the sky or trees outside can help center you and calm your nervous system because you are focusing on something besides your thoughts and feelings. Getting “out of your head” and grounded in your body can be really soothing.
We encourage you to reach out to your therapist and share these thoughts so that they can help you identify more solutions and coping skills. Or, if you aren’t currently working with a therapist, we can connect you with someone!
Emily Simonian, M.A., LMFT