We all have a boiling point. Some of us reach it faster than others and some may take a very long time to reach it. Part of the battle is recognizing when you are getting to your boiling point and knowing what to do to stop it and recover.
The term for this reaction is called emotional flooding—when you are so overwhelmed with emotion that you are out of control. In this state, our bodies revert to a “fight or flight response.” This is our bodies’ safety system for reacting to danger and emotional flooding.
When we are in a “fight or flight response,” our bodies begin to release large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormone). Our heart rate increases while our blood flow starts to move to the major muscle groups of the body.
This is also the time in which brain function leaves the frontal lobe (where logic is stored) and moves to the brain centers (where instinct and survival skills are held). So, when we are experiencing emotional flooding it is virtually impossible to think clearly or hear the other person. We are only reacting and trying to survive.
Here are some signs to help you recognize when you (and others) are flooded:
- You feel overwhelmed by your emotions.
- You feel like you are going to “lose it” and start yelling.
- You are crying and feel out of control.
- You would “rather be anywhere on the planet” other than in the same room with the other person.
- You desperately want the talking to stop.
- You really want to leave the situation.
- You are so upset that you “can’t stand to listen to one more word.”
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