Overwhelming Emotions

Emotions are a vital part of being human. We have evolved to have emotions for many important reasons. They serve as vital messengers to help us meet our basic needs for self-preservation.

Fear and anxiety are triggered when we are in danger; sadness when we have suffered a loss; anger when we are attacked or a goal is blocked; happiness when our needs are met. It is natural to pay attention to these signals as they tell us what to do to survive and thrive.

Emotional reactions are also evolved to be temporary so that we can stay alert to the changing environment around us.

Unfortunately sometimes emotions can get stuck inside us or be so powerful that they feel intolerable.

The reasons for this are somewhat complex but often have to do with how we react to our emotions.

If we strongly resist an emotion this can often actually increase its intensity!

Also if we find ourselves having particularly negative thoughts while experiencing a difficult emotion this can also escalate the feeling.

Sometimes emotions can get stuck inside of us and not go away. For example, we might find ourselves repetitively thinking of difficult memories or situations and their associated emotions.

At Counselling Works we have had extensive training in how to cope with overwhelming emotions and is a common issue we work with every day.


Counselling Works is an Auckland Counselling service based in Ponsonby, Central Auckland.