Emotional breakdown can present itself in the form of crises when you have reached peak stress in your life.
Signs of a nervous breakdown can present themselves as anxiety attacks, depression or full-blown panic. These emotional disruptions can take you down the wrong road and have you regretting the consequences after it is too late.
At the very least, they will be some of the most unpleasant moments in your life.
The good thing is, you can avoid running off the cliff, because today you will learn 15 quick fixes that will help you re-center in these moments.
1. Choose Your Own Thoughts
You don’t have to agree to every thought that crosses your mind, especially when you are having an emotional breakdown. Many of these thoughts can be pretty tough to swallow.
Maybe nobody has told you this, but you can actually choose your thoughts.
Start by being mindful of all the ideas you are having. Do not get involved with them, simply observe them.
While you’re at it, learn to distinguish good thoughts from bad ones.
Good thoughts will lead you to something better. Bad thoughts are mostly hurtful or they only lead to other undesirable thoughts or emotions.
When you are facing an emotional breakdown, most of the thoughts that will cross your mind will be hurtful and detrimental. These are the kind of thoughts you want to get rid of.
So, how do you do this?
You refuse to interact with the bad thoughts.
There is not much that can be done once you have “thought a thought”. In the end it’s already there, in your mind. But you can refuse to participate with the consequences of having that thought.
You will notice how these thoughts arrive at your mind. But, after you realize that they have no grip on you, they will simply go away; and. you will quickly regain emotional stability.
2. Get Off the Treadmill
Life is like a treadmill, and sometimes, it goes faster than we can handle.
Emotional breakdown is the indicator that tells you the treadmill is just going too fast. And since we cannot use a dial to lower the speed, you must do the next best thing:
Get off the treadmill.
Whenever you start feeling things are just “too much to handle,” simply interrupt whatever it is you are doing. Take 5 minutes for yourself, and for those 5 minutes, do nothing but be with yourself. Ignore everything around you and focus on you.
Taking a small break from tension has never hurt anyone, and it’s a great way to break the downward spiral.
Don’t get too attached to “getting off the treadmill”, because that would be evasion.
3. Take a Step Back and Breathe
A nervous breakdown is a consequence of being far too immersed in your problems.
We get too attached to our issues and our circumstances; and, that’s understandable, because they do affect us. We end up believing they define us; but, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Everything changes when you practice detachment.
How do you do this? Breathe deeply, mentally take a step back, and refuse to see your problems as something that defines you or as part of yourself.
With a relaxed attitude, take a new look at your problems and you will notice a few things:
- Because of the accumulated tension, you are having an unrealistic view of your problems.
- Such problems are simpler than you thought, and there is an answer to everything that you are feeling.
- If you don’t yet see the answer don’t get attached to the feeling of despair; instead, refuse to take no for an answer and keep looking.
- The trick is to take a step out of your emotions, because they will cloud your judgment.
Maybe you haven’t noticed it, but your breathing changes according to your mood. It happens to all of us, and it becomes especially shallow when we are going through an emotional breakdown.
Practicing Pranayama (breathing techniques in Yoga) will have an immediate and positive impact on your mind and your emotions.
Although there are many techniques, you only have to remember a very simple exercise:
- To interrupt your thinking pattern, quickly exhale until your lungs are “empty” without feeling any strain.
- Take 6 seconds to inhale, making sure you expand your belly to allow your lungs to take in as much air as possible.
- Hold your breath for 3 seconds.
- Then take 6 seconds to exhale as much as possible without straining yourself.
- Repeat from step 2.
It’s that simple.
Exhale, 6 seconds to inhale, hold for 3 seconds, 6 seconds to exhale and then repeat.
Keep doing this for at least 5 minutes, and both your mind and your emotions will be in a completely different state.
You can also check out this video on Pranayama:
Pro tip: Try increasing the length of your inhalations and exhalations. You will easily do 10 in and 10 out, but how about trying 15 or 20? Experiment with this and leave a comment about how you felt!
The beauty of Pranayama is that you don’t have to simply believe it works, because you will immediately feel the results. Try it out now!
4. Write It Out
If you feel the tension accumulating, the thoughts running faster and faster, and a nervous breakdown hovering just around the corner… stop everything you are doing, take out a notebook and write.
But that is just one part of the solution. Now you’ll need to understand what you will write about.
First, write down everything you want about the way you feel. Take it out, everything. Then, write the reason why you are overwhelmed, but not without a proper structure. Write down a list of problems that are currently afflicting you.
By this point, you will be feeling much better, but go the extra mile and to finish the exercise by adding a possible solution to each problem in your list.
Most likely, this will take you around five minutes, and it makes a real difference.
5. Talk it Out
Human beings are like pressure cookers. The more you hold in your tension, the stronger the explosion will be.
Talking to someone will not only provide you a valuable extra point of view, by verbalizing how you feel, you will also be taking pressure off yourself and acquiring a new angle on things.
Moreover, sometimes we only need to say it out loud in order to understand the issue and feel better.
Talk about the things that bother you. Talk about your fears and frustrations. And, most importantly, talk about what you plan to do about it all.
6. Talk To Yourself
Self-talk can really get you over the hump if you know how to do it the right way.
Why do we fall into the downward spiral? We do this because we are conducting an uncontrolled ‘mental dialogue’. This is self-talk, and it can be positive or negative.
Take a moment to analyze what your self-talk is like when you are facing an emotional breakdown.
If it is chaotic, it will continue to be chaotic if you don’t do something about it.
Whenever you are facing a crisis, pay attention to your mental dialogue and put order where there is none.
Instead of allowing your mind to wander into terrible places and destructive “what-if’s”, take control and guide yourself to a better place.
Talk to yourself aloud if you need to. Treat yourself as a friend and study all the possibilities. Talk about the things that bother you, and then, as a friend, propose something that will help you.
For some, this will be unusual, but it’s very common in creative people such as inventors and artists.
Just remember: you are your own friend; so, give yourself a hand if you need it!
7. Do Now, Feel Tomorrow — Taking It One Step at a Time
Take a deep breath and take your emotions out of the equation. Resolve that tomorrow you will have as much emotion as you want, but today you need only mind and action. This is especially helpful when you are overwhelmed. During this time, you will have many things to do, but you will be also faced with a lot of emotions.
What do you do? Resolve that you don’t need an emotional side for now and approach the nervous breakdown with a logical perspective only.
Carefully take a look at your issues, and tackle them one by one until you are out of the crisis.
It’s not that you are forcing yourself not to feel; instead, you are just assigning a certain time slot to deal with the other side of the coin: your emotions.
It’s all about prioritizing. Thinking this way will trick your mind into a completely productive and effective attitude.
In most cases, the trick will work just as expected and you will feel all the tension afterwards, just diminished by the way you handled things.
8. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping
Want an easy fix? Take a walk.
The most illustrious characters in history have been hit by inspiration when talking a walk. And it’s not only historically proven. A study conducted by the American Psychology Association found out that people got more creative after taking a walk. 
Walking and physical activities help break the negative emotional cycle and will reframe your reality.
You don’t even have to go outside if you don’t have the time for it, just walk around in circles indoors and it will have the same effect. Combine this with the proper self-talk and your emotions will settle down.
Engaging in more rigorous exercise takes things to an entirely new level. Aim to exercise regularly so that you can keep yourself centered, as many emotions can be released through exercise. And you don’t really need a gym to work out, you will be fine with doing squats and pushups at home.
The important thing is to allow emotions to flow out along with the exercise. With each movement, breathe in and out mindfully, and allow the exercise to help you release negative emotions.
9. Bring It Back to the Present
A emotional breakdown is often a product of catastrophic thinking. It can be a product of intense episodes that become crises or by prolonged intervals of replaying depressing scenarios in our heads. Whatever the case, you must remain mindful of the present.
Thinking about how the past has affected you belongs in the past. Thinking about how worrisome the future might be belongs in the future.
So, stop rehashing the same old issues and stop the what-if thinking. Remind yourself that the only moment you can do anything in is the present moment.
Ask yourself: “What are the things I can do right now to make my situation better?”
It doesn’t have to be the ultimate solution to all your problems, but every little improvement that you can do in the present will help you get through a moment of crisis.
Accept your past and embrace it. Recognize there is nothing you can do about the past. The longer you take to accept that you cannot change the past, the longer the past will have power over you.
If the uncertainty of the future is giving you trouble, be aware that fortunately, you have the power to influence your outcomes.
Don’t think about the future, think about your present best self and the future will play out the way you want it. The past is gone, and the future you want will never come unless you act in the present.
10. Divide and Conquer
Being overwhelmed can play an important role in whether or not you will be facing an emotional breakdown. When overwhelmed, our problems become a huge, formless mass of burden. Eventually this mass becomes invincible.
Often, this mass can make us feel buried under a pile of rubble — too heavy for us to even breathe. This is because we are seeing our problems as a whole.
So, if you are overwhelmed, refuse to face the many “monsters” at once, then focus on just one.
Take one issue, just one. You don’t even have to select it very carefully; tackle the first one that comes to your mind.
It is much simpler to divide your issues one by one than to think about them all at once, and be crushed by their weight alone. While you are at it, don’t allow the other problems to affect you simultaneously. You will have to deal with issue B later, but right now make it only about solving issue A.
11. Unleash Your Emotions
Sometimes, we just need that moment of raw emotion to guide us. Why? Because too often, our negative emotions end up swept under the rug, slowly accumulating and becoming a subconscious burden. That is, until you burst!
So go ahead and scream, curse, kick a punching bag, cry or whatever… do everything you need in order to release the tension and stress. As long as nobody gets hurt, you will be doing yourself a favor. Your negative emotions also need expression and release.
When you unleash your emotions, a lot of things will start coming to the surface. Those are the issues that you really need to be working on.
12. Activate Affirmations
For many, affirmations are just pipe dreams with magical overtones. If you have used them before, though, you know they work.
But, you know what? You don’t need to believe in them in order to reap the benefits.
Simply repeat the affirmations either aloud or in your head and most importantly, become aware of what you feel when reciting the affirmations.
Notice I said feel, not believe. Just embrace what it feels like. Be aware at the emotional level during the moment you are repeating your affirmations… you will simply be blown away. But don’t just take my word for it; try it out. In fact, try it out right now.
Take a deep breath and repeat this:
“I will overcome all my problems and find every answer need.”
Now please read it again, close your eyes and pay close attention to your feelings.
Not your mind, not your thoughts, not your doubt… be mindful of your feelings, that’s all. How does it feel?
Now take three deep breaths and repeat:
“Everything is possible for me, my potential is limitless.”
Create your own affirmations according to your own situation and repeat them to yourself when you are feeling down.
Or, you can get inspired by these 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.
13. Forget Vulnerabilities, Focus on Your Powers
You might be having a very hard time and potentially facing an emotional breakdown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.
In fact, you have everything it takes to defeat it. But you won’t be able to defeat these issues if you focus only on the things that keep you down.
“I can’t do this” will surely defeat anyone, no matter how strong and capable. This is a dead end! Therefore, it makes no sense to stay there.
Instead, you must focus on everything you can do, not the things you cannot change.
Think of at least 10 things you can do to make your situation better. 10 may seem like a lot, but you can actually come up with many more–10 is actually quite conservative.
You have a lot of potential, don’t let it be eclipsed by your current situation, because there is no point of comparison.
Stop thinking in terms of your shortcomings, think in terms of your capacity.
14. Everything Has an Expiration Date
Remind yourself that this feeling is temporary. Holding on to this principle has helped me through the most intense anxiety attacks. Because it is absolute truth.
When we are immersed in an emotional breakdown, our vision of the future is distorted… and pretty painful. And the emotional overload makes us think that “this is it”. But it is only a byproduct of the emotions bringing us down, not reality itself.
So, next time when anxiety draws you a picture of your future, simply refuse to take it as a real vision. Recognize how distorted it is. Also, recognize that the nervous breakdown is only a temporary state. And like everything else, this too, shall pass.
This quick-fix may as well be called “wait for the storm to pass,” because that’s what you can do.
Take every thought and emotion you have as something fictitious. Painful, yes, but only temporary.
You are only going through a very bad time, but you will soon return to your baseline, and then up to a better state of mind. It will pass. So be still and know it will only be temporary.
15. Recenter With Visualization
What good can visualization do if you are having an emotional breakdown!?
Actually, it can do a lot.
Visualization takes you out of the emotional state that is holding you down. It is not just wishful thinking, but a clear vision of the exact goal you are aiming for–even when you don’t yet know it.
Maybe you can’t quite see where you are heading because you are swamped by emotions right now. But, this is precisely when visualization comes in handy. In visualization, there are no barriers. It’s just you, your desire and the constructive use of imagination.
How do you do it and how to make it work?
First, when I say visualize, I don’t necessarily mean that you have to create a crisp, crystal clear vision in your mind. Just thinking about what you want is enough.
Some people are more visual than others, but this doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you start immersing yourself in the visualization and start feeling the effects of this positive thinking.
Putting It Into Practice
Close your eyes and imagine a moment in the future where every worry is gone. You handled all the adversity like a pro and now you are living that moment.
What would it feel like? Is there anybody by your side? What are you doing? Why do you feel so happy? What happened to the things that were worrying you so much?
Take a couple minutes to register in detail how everything feels in that vision.
And after you are done, it’s time to make it work.
What solutions were implemented immediately before your visualization? That is, what led to that moment of joy in your life?
What caused it all to culminate on that visualization? Did someone new come into your life? Or maybe somebody left?
Did you finally learn how to deal with that difficult confrontation? What decisions did you make?
Tone Down the Tension
You see what we’re doing? We are reverse-engineering your visualization.
You know where you want to be. Now walk backwards and observe everything that needs to happen so that you can get there. Do it in as much detail as possible until you get to the present moment.
This process of visualization takes the tension off and works the other way around. Don’t focus on your problems, but on the desired outcome.
Visualization plus action will help you defeat a nervous breakdown.
These quick-fixes are only the first step to get you over your hump. As you can see, they help you at these difficult moments, but they are not the solution in itself.
Generally speaking, you must face a nervous breakdown with emotional detachment and practice stillness to avoid being shaken.
Nobody likes to be thrown around by emotions, and that’s why you must develop a more stoic approach when it comes to your emotional breakdowns.
Always keep in mind that these periods of intense stress are only temporary states, and that they do not hold absolute power over you.
The more you practice these quick-fixes, the easier you will handle crises in the future.
In the end, it’s not about trying to avoid pain, but to learn how to be bigger than your suffering. Putting these tactics above to use will help you regain control over your emotions.
More About Emotions Management
- What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)
- How To Control Your Emotions Effectively
- Why Negative Emotions Aren’t That Bad (And How to Handle Them)
Featured photo credit: Riccardo Mion via unsplash.com