How To Fight Emotional Whiplash

Picture of Caitlin Miller

Caitlin Miller

What Is Emotional Whiplash

Emotional whiplash happens when your feelings change quickly and unexpectedly, similar to how your neck might snap back and forth in a car accident. One moment, you might feel happy and excited; the next, you’re sad or angry. These rapid shifts can be confusing and exhausting. Stressful events, relationship conflicts, or sudden environmental changes can trigger emotional whiplash. It’s important to recognize this pattern and seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional to help manage and stabilize your emotions.

Emotional Whiplash Related to Competing Crises

In relation to the stress response cycle, please consider that as certain stressors start to dissipate (such as again believing in the functioning capability of government) you may experience what I term emotional whiplash. By emotional whiplash, I mean that sometimes when we are floating in a pot of water, if it heats up slowly we might not notice when it’s boiling. But when we take it off the stove and it begins to cool, we may feel like we’re flipping out, not realizing quite how bad it was as it roared toward boiling. 

How to Fight Emotional Whiplash

How to Fight Emotional Whiplash

If you feel reverberations of emotional whiplash in the coming days, weeks, or months, please consider the following: 

Be patient with yourself

It’s normal to feel stressed (including fatigue, physical illness, sadness, apathy) when things begin to return to “normal.” You’re emerging from a persistent state of stress.

Actively and consciously take care of yourself

How can you make your body feel safe, comfortable, and calm? Be creative.

Reframe negative thoughts to be more positive

For example, consider the strength and resiliency you have developed over the past year. That strength won’t disappear–you can utilize the resilience you gained for the rest of your life, including this moment.

Connect with others to share processing what happened for the past year

Focus on being true to yourself when you talk with others about your experience. Practice being a good listener by hearing others out.

Recognize that you may feel like you could have handled things better

Remind yourself that you (and the whole country) were being pummeled with stress. You were doing the best you could with the tools you had.

Utilize mindfulness and meditation to help calm your mind from buzzing in anxiety and rumination

Consider the app Insight Timer as one option to access meditation at your fingertips. 

Remember that you’re human!

Embrace the imperfections of life, and focus your energy on healing and connection.

Dr. Nagoski was also interviewed by Dr. Brené Brown on Brown’s Podcast Unlocking Us. Click here to listen.

Additional Read: Importance of Holistic Wellness in Mood Management

How To Survive In Difficult Situation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our Newsletter!