Emotional Overload: One Thing You can do Right Now to Soothe Yourself

Intense emotions such as anger, fear and sadness can be crippling in the moment.  They can feel Emotional Overload: One thing you can do to soothe yourself right nowlike they “take you over.”  In a way, they do.  This is because if you are so upset that your brain is literally go into “fight-or-flight” mode, there is likely a lot of cortisol (the stress hormone) coursing through your body.  When that happens, you may feel irrational, overwhelmed and desperate.

What’s the antidote to cortisol?  Oxytocin.  Oxytocin is the “feel good” hormone of safety and security.  When you’re experiencing a high level of emotional overload, the idea here is to try to trigger the release of oxytocin.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes and put your hand over your heart.
  2. Take slow deep breaths and conjure up in your mind a person, place or even a pet that represents safety and security.
  3. Do this for at least 30 seconds.  Notice and take in the more relaxed state.
  4. Repeat as helpful.

Research has shown that doing this simple exercise will usually trigger the release of oxytocin in your brain which has a calming effect.  It is an excellent way to soothe yourself.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of with emotional and relationship health articles, guides, courses and other tools for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in,, and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers Emotional Health and Relationship Consultations via email, phone or video conference.

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