Friday, September 25, 2020

When You Feel Flooded With Emotions

By: Sarah Geringer 

One day this week. I felt flooded with sudden, negative emotions. An intense few moments triggered feelings of frustration and anger. The old me would have dwelt on this for hours, if not days. But the new me handled it much better than normal.

I have learned through Dr. John Gottman's teachings that when we are flooded, we don't act rationally. We can cause problems to escalate in a hurry if we aren't intentional. But we can stop and take better measures to get our emotions under control. 

Part of feeling flooded is processing the rush of adrenaline, the flight-fight-or-freeze hormone, that our body naturally experiences in stressful situations. It takes between 15 and 45 minutes for our bodies to metabolize the hormone and restore it to normal levels. That's why you need to be proactive when you feel flooded. Thankfully, we have God's help in that process.

Here are several proactive, positive things you can do when you feel flooded.

Go straight to God in prayer.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41 NIV

Since our bodies will respond according to our sinful natures, we must enlist God's help as soon as possible. When you are flooded, immediately turn to God in prayer. Send up arrow prayers of help. Vent vertically instead of horizontally. 

God can handle anything and everything you have to say. Your prayer will protect you from falling into temptation. It will guard you against further attacks from the devil.

Resist your urge to get even.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 NIV

When you are flooded due to someone else's wrongdoing (or what you perceive to be wrongdoing), it's natural to want to lash out. Yet it's God responsibility to judge the person's wrongs, never yours. 

Choose self-control by stepping away from the situation. I literally stepped outside to take a walk, which physically removed me from the stress. Once I took a short prayer walk, I could return to the situation with a clear mind.

Do something soothing to help your body and mind calm down.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1 NIV

God cares about our bodies. He also cares about our minds. He knows that we need practical help for our minds and bodies, especially when we are under stress. 

I encourage you to offer your stressed-out body and mind up to God as a sacrifice when you are flooded. Surrender them over to his control. 

Then do something soothing in that 15- to 45-minute window of processing. I like to read, exercise, or take a shower. These activities soothe me and prevent me from ruminating on the wrongs. They really work to help me calm down after being flooded.

Confide in one or two trusted, godly women.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 NIV

Most women are verbal processors. We have a need to talk our problems out with women who will encourage, uplift and strengthen us. After being flooded, it can be soothing to share your feelings with another woman. But permit me to offer several cautions here: 

  • Talk to a trusted, godly friend, not one who can't keep a secret or won't affirm you in faith. 
  • Share only with one or two, rather than a whole group. 
  • Do this in person or on the phone, not through text/email/social media where meanings can easily get misconstrued. 
  • Be open to her constructive criticism, and even ask for it, because iron sharpens iron. 
  • Most importantly, seek out your friends' advice only after you've first talked the matter over with God. The Holy Spirit is the best Counselor you'll ever have.

When you follow these principles, you will be blessed after confiding in one or two friends. And you'll spare your husband or boyfriend all the details - he'll likely appreciate the much-shortened version of the story!

Find good in what you've learned.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

There is always something to be learned, even from negative experiences. Especially from negative experiences. Don't waste the chance to learn something important.

Even in the rare instance that you are zero percent in the wrong, you can learn from the other person's negative example. But try to grasp the grain of truth from what you may have contributed to the problem. You have 100 percent control of how you handle what you learned.

You may need to ask for forgiveness, or offer it silently in your heart. You might need to write down what you've learned in a journal. No matter what, you can thank God for what you learned after being flooded. He calls you to give him thanks in everything, because he is working everything together for your good (Romans 8:28).

Here's a prayer to encourage you today:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for helping me when I feel flooded with emotions.
I am not helpless; I find my help in you.
I want to handle my emotions with intention, so I glorify you even in the hard things.
Help me go straight to you when I feel flooded.
Provide me the spiritual and practical help I need.
Call me to practice soothing activities so I don't react from my sinful nature.
Protect me from spiritual attacks, and help me reengage from a healthier place.
Show me who I can trust if I need to talk my problems out.
Teach me to be thankful for the lessons hidden inside my flooded emotions.
I trust you are working everything together for my good.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Christian meditation can help you when you feel flooded. Want to learn more? Check out my book, Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

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1 comment:

  1. This is so helpful, Sarah. I hadn't thought about the chemical reaction of adrenaline taking a while to get back to normal, but it makes sense. And it's helpful to equip ourselves to deal with it instead of feeling out of control.


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