How to Survive Shock and Emotional Overwhelm

How to Survive Shock and Emotional Overwhelm blog imageAny serious loss, especially if it’s sudden, can be shocking. A serious diagnosis– being blindsided by someone you trusted, job loss, any kind of victimization can overwhelm us like a tsunami. Here’s how to keep your head above the water.

1) No matter how intense the emotional overwhelm is, know that you won’t die from it, even if feels like part of you wants to die. You WILL survive this.

2) You’re not alone, even if you feel alone. Reach for your life jacket–call on a trusted friend(s) and allow yourself to let go of control, be vulnerable and receive. You have no one? Then call a therapist, spiritual counselor, hotline or find a local or online support group. Pray—ask for whatever it is you need, express gratitude, then let go of the outcome. Prayer changes things.

3) The initial shock is going to wear off and with it that awful frozen feeling where you’re just stuck in the misery. When the shock does wear off, resist the urge to “anesthetize” with alcohol, drugs, recreational shopping etc. Gradually, you’ll be able to heal and absorb the loss into the timeline of your life.

4) Know that there is no “appropriate” time span for healing from emotional overwhelm and no right or wrong way to go about the process, other than to get professional help asap if depression and/or suicidal thoughts set in. What worked for others may or may not work for you, so ensure that whatever you do fits your personal needs. Care for yourself—sleep, eat, shower, exercise, stay connected, and accept support.

5) Try the holistic self-healing technique EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques, which is acupressure point tapping that anyone can do. Tapping releases the emotional overwhelm in the brain and body that is connected to a traumatic memory. Don’t attempt to self-treat the worst thing that ever happened to you especially if you lack resilience (the ability to bounce back from trauma) because you grew up in a traumatic environment. Check your score first on the 10-question ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences) assessment, and if it’s mid-range or higher, or you’d like a guide, have an experienced EFT practitioner help you. Find one at