It’s normal to have overwhelming emotions as a response to an ever-changing world. Join me as I share the six questions I use as emotional coping skills that can help us move from the heaviness of overwhelm to a place of clarity and calm. My hope is that you’ll use these tools to dig deeper into managing emotions and connect with God through the process.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [01:40] How to Use the Tools and Questions in This Episode to Manage Overwhelming Emotions
- [07:57] Question #1: What Are You Feeling and Why Does It Make Sense?
- [10:57] Question #2: Is the Emotion You’re Feeling Based in God’s Truth?
- [14:07] Question #3: How Is This Emotion Helpful?
- [15:47] Question #4: What Part of the Situation Is Your Responsibility?
- [21:00] Question #5: Is the Situation Something That Needs to Be Managed Right Now?
- [25:51] Question #6: What Is God Calling You to Do With the Emotions You’re Feeling?
- [34:47] A Review of the 6 Questions When You Feel Overwhelmed
- [36:39] Let’s Continue the Conversation on Managing Emotions
[01:40] How to Use the Tools and Questions in This Episode to Manage Overwhelming Emotions
Even if you feel like anxiety isn’t something you struggle with in your daily life, it can be helpful to have emotional coping skills in place for managing emotions in those inevitable moments of overwhelm. The Calm Your Anxiety Toolkit is a great resource for moments like these, showing you the root cause of what is triggering those feelings. This toolkit gives you exactly what you need to help yourself in moments of overwhelming emotions, using very practical tools, logic, Bible verses, and action steps. If you’re looking for something more substantial than the 6 questions we’ll be talking about today, the Calm Your Anxiety Toolkit is a great place to start.
Another great resource is ADD, a concept that has been incredibly helpful, not just for me, but for thousands of women. ADD stands for Acknowledge, Discern, and Decide: We start with acknowledging and noticing what you're feeling inside, then we discern what's true about what you’re feeling and seek out God’s truth in the situation, and we use that reflection to decide what next step to take without negating the feelings you’re experiencing. Each of the questions that I’m breaking down in this episode fall into the ADD process.
The six questions I’m sharing today are tools that you can use for deeper introspection, or even in the moment of intense emotions of worry and overwhelm. You can use them as a way to guide journaling or prayer or as a way to keep checking in about the issue if it keeps resurfacing. Let me quickly list the six questions here as to how they relate to ADD and then we’ll break them down individually.
The first question to ask when feeling overwhelmed is, “What am I feeling and why does it make sense?” This is a part of the acknowledgement process.
Then as you move into the second stage (Discern), you can questions like “Is this thought or emotion true?” “Is this helpful to have this thought or emotion?” “What part of the situation is mine to manage and which part is someone else's responsibility?” “Is this something I need to manage right now?”
The final question transitions into deciding, asking “What is God calling me to do with this emotion and how will I respond?” We can use these questions to help us find common clarity when our emotions feel overwhelming.
Let’s look at each question individually.
[07:38] Question #1: What Are You Feeling and Why Does It Make Sense?
This first question, “What am I feeling and why does this make sense?” is part of the acknowledgement phase of managing emotions. We can use this question as a tool in the moment or we can use it as part of an ongoing process as we're working through recurring overwhelming emotions.
Alongside this question and the ones to follow, journaling can be extremely helpful to use in your reflections. Maybe you aren’t able to get to a journal at that exact moment of overwhelm, or maybe journaling scares you, but creating a regular practice of simply writing things down on paper can be powerful. One practice is called “morning pages” (first heard about in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron). where you write three pages a day, filling them with anything that’s on your mind. This can help ease the tension or discomfort we feel about not knowing what to write. You can write your to-do list, jot down how much you hate the act of journaling, note your favorite scripture, or anything else you’d like, without limits. The purpose of this practice is to figure out what's going on in our thoughts, and getting them out on a regular basis allows us to take notice and ask ourselves why it makes sense. Sometimes ladies that share that they’re afraid to write their thoughts down because others might see them. If this is the case, you can always rip up your pages after you write, or you can store them in a safe place.
It’s important to remember that we are noticing emotions and patterns without judging, remembering that our emotional experiences are already a part of how God sees us. He's not afraid of the fact that we have those emotions. He made us emotional creatures, and He wants us to have the emotional coping skills we need to notice what we’re feeling and understand why those feelings are present.
A question for reflection:
- How might this overwhelming feeling be related to other situations?
[10:37] Question #2: Is the Emotion You’re Feeling Based in God’s Truth?
When we are deep in overwhelming emotions, we can begin to get ourselves even more worked up by putting additional filters onto a situation that could be altering how we see the truth, affecting how overwhelmed we feel about it. This is when we want to ask ourselves if the emotions we’re feeling are based in logic and truth. God wants us to keep our thoughts focused on what is true, right, and pure, which you can read about in Philippians 4. Within these verses, we’re reminded that we can release fearful thoughts and refill our minds by actively focusing on the truth. Isaiah 26:3 and Ephesians 6:10-11 are also great reminders of God’s promise of protection and peace.
Additional questions for reflection:
- Am I looking at this through extreme thinking or the fear of the future?
- Am I putting any false expectations on these unrealistic expectations?
- Am I looking at it as a black or white situation?
[13:48] Question #3: How Is This Emotion Helpful?
The third question we can ask to help us with clarifying and managing emotions we are experiencing is, “How is this helpful?” meaning, “Is it helpful to think this thought or to have this emotion? Or “Will thinking about this bring us closer to God?” Our first instinct may be to say “no, thoughts of worry aren’t going to help bring me closer to the Lord,” but we should also consider that sometimes God brings stuff to the forefront of our mind in order to reveal something deeper that He wants us to address.
Question for reflection:
- Is it helpful to have this thought?
- Could this thought be helpful to get me to a new place in my walk with God?
[15:27] Question #4: What Part of the Situation Is Your Responsibility?
The fourth question that we can ask ourselves for more emotional clarity is, “What part of the situation is mine to manage and which part is someone else's responsibility?” This includes discerning what God’s responsibility is in the situation. This is an extremely important question to ask when we're dealing with managing emotions related to worry and fear and our attempts to take control and to make things turn out a certain way. Often we turn to overwhelm, overthinking a situation, as a way to control it or avoid pain. Doing this, we often take on responsibility that's outside of our realm. When we take the time to ask ourselves questions like this, we begin to develop the emotional coping skills needed to only take responsibility for what is ours, reducing overwhelming emotions.
Questions for reflection:
- What is mine to manage in this situation?
- What is not mine to not manage?
[20:41] Question #5: Is the Situation Something That Needs to Be Managed Right Now?
Question number five to ask yourself when feeling overwhelming emotions is, “If it's mine to manage, is it something that I need to manage right now?”
Growing up as an anxious person, I will sometimes get stuck in these thoughts and feel like I need to deal with them as a matter of urgency. Even though I have done and continue to work on emotional coping skills, there are times where I still find myself worrying a lot.
For example, one of the greatest acts of trust and faith has been my parenting journey. There are moments where I tend to go towards anxiety, but God has done a lot of healing for me in that area and He's given me tools and emotional coping skills I need to be able to respond differently.
With God's power and tools and resources like these six questions, we can implement the emotional coping skills we need to get past moments of overwhelming emotions. These moments will still be a part of our lives, but we now have the confidence and the ability to step into it a little differently. After discerning whether or not something needs to be managed right away, you can take the action step of giving the rest to God.
[25:32] Question #6: What Is God Calling You to Do With the Emotions You’re Feeling?
So we've honored the emotions, we've heard them, and we've discerned why it makes sense that we're feeling this way. What are we going to do with it? This brings us to the last of the 6 questions, “What is God calling me to do with this and how will I respond?” This is where we step into the deciding process of ADD: “What will we do with what we're feeling?”
All too often, at least on some level, we know what we need to do, but we find ourselves staying put in the overwhelm. We stay in the realm of fear and processing because we're afraid of taking the wrong step. It becomes more comfortable to keep analyzing everything, rather than taking action. We think we’re taking control by figuring out each and every possibility, but the reality is that sometimes God is telling us, “You’ve processed this enough, you’ve heard from me how I want you to step out and there are a thousand ways you can do it. I just want you to trust and move forward and not let indecision keep you from what I‘m calling you to do.”
Bible verses about moving forward:
[34:28] A Review of the 6 Questions When You Feel Overwhelmed
These six questions can be an amazing guide to help you as you walk through managing emotions like overwhelm; to discern and acknowledge what you're feeling, see why it makes sense, discern the truth in it, understand God's role as well as your own, and then also to decide what you’re going to do with it. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that we have to decide. God can't make us follow him and He can't make us let go of overwhelm.
This is just one layer of managing emotions and implementing emotional coping skills. Often, overwhelming emotions are multi-layered, and go hand-in-hand with many other interconnected emotions like anxiety. If you would like to be able to understand more about why you have these moments of overwhelming emotions, and you want to create a plan that will help you find the root of the emotion and the truth behind it in a compassionate way, with practical steps and emotional coping skills to help you change your thoughts in the moment, then I invite you to check out the Calm Your Anxiety Toolkit.
[36:19] Let’s Continue the Conversation on Managing Emotions
These six questions and the discussion around them only scratch the surface of all of the amazing resources that God has given us to help with managing emotions. I would love to talk to you more about this, so if you’d like to continue the conversation you can find me on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook. Experiment with some of these questions, and let me know how it works for you!
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