Tag Archives: emotional stress

How to Move from Emotional Stress to Rational Thinking

How to Move from Emotional Stress in to Rational Thinking

Deep Breathing to Reduce Emotional Stress
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Sometimes things happen and we just REACT! We often don’t know WHY we do some of the things we do- they’re just automatic. As you no doubt know, this can get us in trouble or leave us feeling guilty and confused.

We encounter situations that will trigger (emotional) reactions in us all of the time. We can re-train ourselves to filter out the stuff that is not useful to us; the stuff that causes us unnecessary stress and unhappiness. It just takes practice.

So how do I stop over-reacting to things?

Perception is everything!

When our brains perceive a situation or event as threatening in some way or it recognises a situation that has hurt or threatened us in the past it lets you know by releasing chemicals (notably adrenaline) around our bodies to ensure you are alert and are paying attention to the “threat”. Your brain may not entirely know what it is about this event which is troubling but it knows it’s cropped up before and needs you to protect yourself. This ‘fight or flight’ can of course be triggered when we are physically under threat but also when our emotions are threatened.

Our brains start storing this information from the time we are born and they can be triggered instantaneously as our brains work to keep us alive. Your brain doesn’t know whether it’s a real threat or a perceived one- it simply knows ‘Threat Detected- Send Adrenaline!’

You may believe ‘This is just who I am- I’m anxious and over react; a natural worrier’ but I doubt you were born this way. It has been learnt. And what has been learnt can be unlearnt!

Imagine Ella’s Dad left when she was three years old and this troubled her throughout her life. Her Mum died when she was 19 and she decided to find her Dad. When she approached him he rejected her saying he had made a new life.

Ella has experienced three major rejections (we often sub-consciously experience bereavement as being ‘left’), one of these in her very formative years; the years her brain makes sense of the world and works out ‘how things are done in life’. Is it not entirely normal that she will have a bigger reaction to any threats of rejection that someone who had not experienced this? Would it be surprising to find she feels insecure in relationships and friendships, gets jealous easily (even violent when feeling someone might leave her) and can sabotage good relationships so that she can leave them before they leave her?

These ‘fight or flight’ responses take over us momentarily but we have a choice about what happens next:


Taking oxygen in and filling your lungs does at least two things, it gets more oxygen into your body at a time when your brain has sent more blood to your limbs (to give you strength to run or protect yourself). This helps you think more clearly. Also it takes the focus away from the situation a little- if you count your breaths and focus on ‘in through the nose- out through pursed lips’ deep and slow breathing.

You may choose at this point to say “This is just chemicals- I am fine. This situation is triggering something from my past”

When you feel calmer you are ready to move your focus away from the issue a little and check out other explanations.

How is my past affecting my judgement of this situation?

Am I looking at this situation rationally or with high emotion? If it is triggering childhood stuff (even in a very non-obvious or indirect way) you will be in emotion and not thinking mode. Your body is fighting to keep you safe in this threatening situation. If you can calm yourself with breathing, use up the adrenaline by running up and down the stairs or running on the spot for a moment you may be ready to see things more rationally.

What am I focussing on? What am I not seeing?

If I am entirely fixated on the issue I cannot see what else is going on. Those people that sniggered when they walked by may have been talking about something or sharing a joke. How do I know it was aimed at me?

Challenge your negative thinking — look at the evidence calmly and rationally.

If you are only seeing one aspect, dispute this as fact and look at other possibilities.


When faced with problems, widen your focus to see MORE of the situation before you act. Emotions are extremely valuable and important and they can also cloud our judgement when in stressful situations. We can practice moving in to rational thinking, away from emotional feeling at those times when we are likely to make bad decisions. Of course we must trust our feelings and instincts, while remembering that our brain is basing its reactions on events we experienced often as very small children.

When faced with situations that trigger strong emotions, trouble you or just feel wrong check what you are focussing on and shine the light around the situation so that you can see MORE and see things in a different way. This simple skill can save you hours and years of heartache, stress and worry with practice.

Shine a Light AROUND the Problem!
About the Author
John Toman is a life coach and assertiveness trainer based in the UK, with more than 15 years experience in positive behaviour change. He works with individuals and groups to improve self awareness, interpersonal skills and relationships, so that they can have the relationships they always wanted. He provides one to one coaching and group training at johntoman.com

Picking the Losers or a Jerk Increases the Risk of Depression

The title of this might seem super, super obvious – but then – if it’s so obvious, why do so may people do exactly that?


Why Women Pick Losers and Jerks:Emotional Manipulation
Click here to buy this book!

If you feel extremely despondent, dejected, hopeless, or inadequate, like an unseen force is pressing down and squishing the life out of you, there’s a good chance you are experiencing depression – and you probably don’t need me to tell you that.

But, did you know depression can be linked to the types of relationships you choose?

You might feel like a victim in a bad relationship, but really, it is more likely that you have unknowingly made yourself the target of an emotional manipulator.

Why Do I always Attract the Losers?

If you think of yourself as a victim, with things just “happening” to you, then you slip into the role of feeling like you are under attack by a bully, and it is a relationship pattern people tend to repeat over and over.

What a Jerk!

As you learn to recognize your own unmet emotional needs, your emotional stress levels and stressors, you will also become able to recognize emotional manipulation and emotional blackmail on the part of your manipulator.

Conquer Emotional Depression

Recognize that it is not the manipulator who is the problem, it is your fear.

For most targets, as the target of emotional manipulation, or as a target of a loser/jerk, you feel reject-able in some way, and deep down, and that fear of rejection means you will always be at risk of being manipulated by the next loser/jerk to come along until you learn to recognize that fear.

(The book above or the video below both explain it better if you have time to read the book or watch the video.)

But, that does not mean “this unhappy situation is your fault – because it is completely natural to do anything in your power to avoid rejection – even letting someone be a jerk and treat you badly.

How to Get Out of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

First, if the emotional abuse you are experiencing is more severe and you do not feel safe, find a shelter, such as the local women’s shelter to get help and protection.

Find your positive – so you can move ahead and escape the dangers of depression caused by unhappy relationships and emotional manipulation.

Learn to see what holds you back and makes you let the losers treat you poorly.

Remember: even if – when – you have a setback, keep believing in yourself and keep focusing on the positive.

Emotional Manipulation Video