A meltdown is a sudden loss of emotional control that is often expressed in the wrong way. We might be going through our day and a simple hiccup throws you off! You stub you toe or spilled your coffee and, a hulk-type reaction erupts.
Meltdowns are not random or just happen out of nowhere. It is usually the result of an accumulation of stressing events or thoughts, anxiety or other difficult experiences. As this negative energy builds, tension rises. It is common to have a loss of emotional control and a sense of helplessness.
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis has contributed to the buildup of added stress, anxiety and depression. Not surprising, but this increased, internal tension rises at subconscious level as we go on with our day-to-day activities.
Having a meltdown does serve a purpose. It helps release the accumulated tension, anxiety, stress built up. It becomes almost as a reset button. A meltdown, thus, becomes like a body’s mechanism to cleanse itself from negative or painful emotions.
How to best cope with such a buildup and either have a more productive meltdown or to avoid it? Of course, ideally it would be best to avoid it. We’ll get to that later. But the best way to cope once a meltdown begins is to seek for a pause right after. For example, going for a walk or for a drive. Then focus on your emotions (e.g. what am I feeling – anger, fear, etc. – label the emotion). Also, identify where do you feel it in your body. At that point, just breath into such emotions and bodily sensations and observe them. Just as if you’re observing a cloud go by. Finally, after calming down, decide what you need to do now and, in the future, to resolve these tensions. These steps should help in diminishing the intensity, help gain some clarity of thoughts, and also provide some sense of control.
To prevent meltdowns, it’s important that you stay in touch with your thoughts, emotions and sensations. A couple of times a day, reflect on how the day is going, what is bothering you and bring it to your awareness. Also, exercising regularly can help dissipate some accumulated tension. Finally, reach out to others either to resolve conflicts or for support.
Of course, having a trusting, qualified professional can be critical in both managing a meltdown and in preventing one.