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The Psychological Merits of a Meltdown

Meltdowns typically have a negative connotation. It’s the result of holding it together and keeping your feelings inside though a turbulent, extended period of time. Since the pandemic, everyone I know is dealing with some form of chaos or major life change. When individuals must make numerous changes affecting their livelihood without certainty or leadership, stress and anxiety are guaranteed. One little thing is enough to send you over the edge and leave you crying in the car, yelling at the kids, or acting out in an abnormal way.

Having a meltdown is something many people feel reluctant to talk about. Meltdowns are thought to be for children, like a temper tantrum in an adult body. They make us feel vulnerable, silly, and weak. However, meltdowns are normal after intense exhaustion and uncertainty. Taking control of planning your meltdown can help you bring out the positive potential. It’s crucial to learn how to stop what you’re doing, breathe, and reset your thoughts to help you let go of unnecessary expectations and baggage that isn’t yours to carry. Below are some suggestions that can help you have a productive and mentally healthy meltdown.

  1. Plan ahead. Take the time and accept that a healthy meltdown allows you to release the tension you’ve kept bottled up inside. If you plan it ahead of time, having one in a private place protects you and others from seeing you lose control.

  2. Talk to close friends and family about your emotional needs. Some people need alone time when they’re overwhelmed; others need encouragement or a hug. Don’t expect people to read your mind, which leads to more emotional upset over unrealistic explanations and loved ones having no idea how to help.

  3. Stay in control of your behavior during a meltdown. Your feelings affect your behavior, and your behavior is always affecting others. Avoid meltdowns in front of your children or during someone else’s stressful time. Instead, mentor to your children how to feel and express painful emotions in a psychologically healthy way. This helps them take responsibility for their feelings instead of acting out or denying them.

  4. Use the meltdown as an opportunity to learn more effective coping techniques. Turn to activities that calm you quickly: breathing (4 counts in and 7 counts out), walking, splashing cold water on your face, or active stretching are all speedy ways to calm down.

  5. Personal growth and self-awareness accompany meltdowns. Having a meltdown is a reminder that we are all works in progress. Give yourself time to heal and understand what events led up to your meltdown. Forgive yourself and take responsibility for any upset you may have caused others. Refocus on the things you can control, like taking time for yourself and getting your personal needs met. Begin again with a healthier perspective.

Humans are imperfect, and part of that means when we get overwhelmed, we fall into faulty self-destructive patterns. Give yourself the privacy to release your hurt, frustration, and pain with a good cry, scream, or alone time. You can leave a hurtful situation, annoying people, or your dwelling, but no matter where you go, you must come back to yourself. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Learn how to respect and manage your feelings or they will limit your life.

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