General Psychology

June 11, 2024

Cool for the Summer: How to Handle Intense Emotions

Author: Catherine Herling LMFT, C-DBT, ASDCS

It’s June, and that means that Summer is here! Not only do the days get longer and hotter, this is also a time where there are transitions and temptations like a graduation, job change, or a family holiday.

Everyone has said or done something that they regret, feeling like their emotions took over and were unable to access the logical part of their brain. In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), this is called “emotion mind”, which means that your emotions are in charge and logic, facts, or reason aren’t used when making decisions. If you feel like you often slip into emotion mind, you may be in a state of emotional vulnerability.

While everyone experiences this, you don’t have to stay in this headspace. Instead, let me help you feel confident in being less controlled by your emotions! Here are some tips and tricks to managing your emotions during this potentially tough period of time:

  1. Stay cool: Many people experience feeling hot when they are angry, upset, or embarrassed. Instead of letting the heat take control, turn towards something cool! By putting an ice pack or cold drink on your face, it will trigger the mammalian dive reflex, which slows both your heart rate and breathing. Not only do you feel better when you’re not overheated, you will feel less stressed when your pulse is slower.
  2. Get enough sleep: This is something that is often discussed but the reasons why you should get at least 7 hours of sleep besides how you’ll be less tired. Blood pressure, appetite, problem-solving, and stress hormones are all affected by the amount of sleep you get. If you get better sleep, you can solve problems better and have less stress hormones in your body!
  3. Drink plenty of water: I know that this is what you hear from every single well-being counselor, and I will highlight this again: DRINK. MORE. WATER. Not only does drinking water help your heart and digestion, it also prevents mental health-related symptoms of dehydration, such as anxiety and headaches. If you are less anxious, you can problem-solve easier.
  4. Find things to do that make you happy: If you stay in a painful/ miserable situation, you will be unable to feel happy. While you can’t remove yourself from all challenging situations, you can take a break from them by watching a video or talking to a loved one. When you do more activities that make you happy, you will feel like life can be more than unhappiness.
  5. Make an oasis: it’s important to have a physical space that you can relax in. For some people, they can make a space in their home that’s relaxing, but that’s not possible for everyone. Libraries, coffee shops, and parks can also be an oasis for those that don’t find their home to be relaxing!

While some of these tips can feel redundant and obvious, they are also things that we don’t focus on or forget about when we are stressed out. If you remember these five skills and use at least one consistently, you can feel more confident in being more in control of your emotions.

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