How To Manage Overwhelming Emotions

For many of us, our mind is running on overdrive with a million thoughts a minute. Sometimes, we might even feel like we are constantly bracing ourselves for the next “hit” or that other shoe to drop. We might even try to slow down and catch our breath… but feel like we are just too overladen with overwhelming feelings to settle down. In fact, many of the participants in my Mindfulness Matters group have shared this cycle as one of the biggest obstacles they’ve had to shaking difficult feelings and building what they want in their lives.

Here’s the thing…

We CAN learn to quiet those incessant, overwhelming emotions so that we can feel more in control and get to the things that enervate us in our lives. While we may not be able to shuffle the situations we find ourselves in, we CAN learn to detach from the difficult, overwhelming feelings that paralyze us.

One exercise that can help with detaching from overwhelming or negative feelings is the “leaves on a stream” exercise.

Here are simple instructions:

Imagine you are sitting in the middle of a stream. The water is flowing away in front of you.

Notice if there is any sound from the running water. Notice if there are any trees on the banks of the stream.

Now see leaves floating down the stream away from you. They can be any shape, color, or size. As the negative thoughts come into your mind, be aware of what the thought is, and then place it on a leaf.

Now watch it float away down the stream. Do this with each thought as you notice it.

As you acknowledge each of your thoughts, you do not need to hang onto them. There is no need to become attached to the thought. Just acknowledge it and then place it on a leaf.

By watching it float away, it loses its hold on you and its intensity.

What did you discover going through this activity? Comment below and share with me!

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn , and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “ Beyond the Couch ” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the life you want to celebrate!

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