What to Do if You Feel Yourself Having a Meltdown


Publish date

Apr 28, 2021

Post Author

Healthy U Behavioral Health


Children aren’t the only ones who have meltdowns or feel an urge for temper tantrums. Any person can reach an emotional boiling point if they don’t take care of their mental health. Like children, some adults struggle to maintain control over intense emotions; unlike children, there may be other factors at work when an adult has a meltdown. Emotional outbursts can indicate that you’re having a tough time coping with the tension or stress built up in your life. Consistent conditions like depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental irregularity can all serve as the root cause of this kind of instability, making it vital to your future happiness to care for your mind at the deepest level possible.

Learn to Identify and Control Negative Emotions as They Arise

While it’s normal to be frustrated when things don’t go your way, having control over your emotions is the key to reacting to disappointment appropriately. Many people habitually suppress their emotions to the point that they end up having outbursts over seemingly insignificant issues or details unrelated to the issue at hand. People who struggle to manage their emotions may experience sudden irritability or sadness, fits of crying or laughter, or may feel angry without knowing why. To avoid letting negative feelings accumulate and explode, it’s important to identify and process your thoughts each time you face conflict.

Although it may seem that you have valid, logical reasons to be upset at the moment of conflict, take the time to analyze what prompts your reactions. When you think of depression, you might imagine someone who is often in a deep state of sadness or hopelessness. While this description may be true for some, depression can also entail irritability and anger. When depression manifests in the form of anger, it can seem like a person is overreacting to a minor issue or even having a meltdown when there’s nothing that appears to be wrong at all.

Developing Healthy Emotional Coping Skills

After you have a meltdown, you may become even more upset by the fact that you allowed yourself to get to that point. This can happen when you realize that your reaction to a perceived problem was disproportionate or destructive. It’s important to learn to cope in the aftermath of your meltdowns to avoid feelings of powerlessness and self-loathing. No matter how much control you do or do not have over your outbursts, they affect you and your loved ones, and you must have a coping strategy in place to come back from the emotional brink.

You can make a preventative method out of learning and predicting your triggers. While it can be tricky to know exactly how you’ll feel at each moment, you can narrow it down by paying close attention to the factors and situations that tend to set you off. Being prepared with knowledge of which behaviors or events may upset you can allow you to keep control and react with more intention in moments of turmoil. Make a list of situations that push you to your limit, and track your outbursts to gain control of these patterns.

Responding to Emotional Triggers

You might experience meltdowns due to regular factors like stress, social burnout, or unexpected changes in plans, or due to more severe reasons like fear of the future or uncertainty in your personal life. No matter the source, it’s important to learn to nurture yourself when you feel your emotions building up. Sometimes doing something as simple as getting a cold drink or spending some quiet time alone can work wonders. Removing yourself from the environment that is triggering you can give you the chance to refocus your thoughts. Don’t be afraid to politely set boundaries with others to prioritize your mental health. There are power and liberation in saying no to things you don’t want to do. 

What If Someone Else is Having a Meltdown?

If you are on the opposite end of an emotional outburst, take it seriously. The best thing you can do is keep calm, even if you feel provoked or disrespected. It can help to learn their specific signs. A meltdown won’t necessarily include yelling; it can manifest in the form of hard silences or uncomfortable terseness. Do your best to avoid taking it personally. Simply be sure to keep your safety a priority, and don’t ignore the potential for a meltdown to become physical. If someone in your life has regular meltdowns, you must find ways to protect yourself emotionally and physically while still trying to be there for them as best you can.


No matter what causes them, meltdowns can seriously impact your life and leave you reeling to regain control. It can take practice, consistency, and plenty of patience to learn to manage emotional outbursts on your own. To gain a deeper understanding of how your negative feelings accumulate and boil over, reach out to professional help. At HealthyU, our mission is to get you on track to mental wellness and assist you in rising above your challenges. Learn different techniques for better managing difficult emotions and caring for yourself in moments of conflict. Practice effective nonverbal and verbal communication and active listening to stop a meltdown in its tracks. We provide educational instruction, role-playing, and behavioral reversal exercises to expand your perspective and help you learn to meet your emotional needs. Although it may not be easy, investing in your inner stability can change your life in the long term. Contact HealthyU at (619) 542-9542 to learn more.