Why you can’t “get over it” right away

photo thanks to donjd2

An upsetting email slams my inbox.

A driver cuts me off on the highway.

A friend and I unintentionally say hurtful words to each other.

I can click delete, pull into the driveway, hug my friend and know all is well. But hours later my mind can still be running in circles, my heart racing. “I’ve dealt with this,” I tell myself, “I know what’s true. Why in the world can I not just ‘get over it’ right away?”

It turns out there’s a very good reason why.

God made us with a fight or flight system. When we encounter a threat or a stressful situation, our body releases chemicals that flood our system. So while our brain and heart may have decided all is well, it takes our body time to catch up.

Stress is like having a bucket of water thrown over your head. Even if you deal with it right away, it still takes time to dry off.

So if you can’t “get over it” instantly it’s time you know this–you’re normal.

Then try these four things…

1) Go easy on yourself. When we can’t “get over it” right away we often are tough on ourselves–which only causes more stress and more chemicals to be released so it takes even longer to “dry off.”

2) Do something physically relaxing. Laugh hard. Take a walk. Hop in the bathtub. Help your body settle down.

3) Don’t take it out on someone else. It can seem like hollering at the next person who crosses your path is a good idea but, again, that only gets you more drenched.

4) Be careful with shortcuts to drying off that mess with your physical system. It’s tempting to grab that gallon of ice cream or bottle of wine but sugar hypes up your system and alcohol is a depressant. Moderation is your body’s friend.

3) Sleep on it. If you wake up the next morning (or a few days later if it was a lot of stress) and you’re still upset, ask God if there’s something lingering that might still need to be dealt with after all.

Over time, you’ll learn to recognize how long it takes you to “dry off” emotionally and what you need to do so. {Note: I’m talking here about the everyday stresses, conflicts and irritations we face. Bigger issues or hurts are a whole different story. And usually we need someone else, like a counselor, to help us “dry off” plus a lot more time}.

Life is going to toss a bucket of water over our heads sometimes.

It’s not about getting over it…it’s about getting through it.

And that takes a little patience and a lot of grace {for ourselves and each other}.


p.s. This applies to other people in your life too–especially kiddos. Someone who seems really grouchy may actually just be super soggy.


  1. says


    Thank you for sharing these tips! I struggle with #1 and #3 the most… being hard on myself, and then, out of frustration, being hard on others, usually whoever is closest to me at the moment. Like yesterday, when I was frustrated BEFORE the kids walked through the door from school, and my 12 year old handed me a math test that he’d failed and I totally came unglued on him. Was I upset about the bad grade? Of course, but I think I reacted more strongly than I would have had I not already been frustrated about something else. Thinking I’m going to print this post, cut out the “drying off” tips, and put them somewhere I can see them everyday. You know, for when I’m “super soggy.” :) As always, thank you for sharing your heart!

  2. Carolyn Reardon says

    Thank you for the “drying off” tips. I so often need them. I pray the Lord will bring them to mind when I need them most.. Then maybe I won’t stay so upset so often.

  3. Marina says

    Yes. Through it.
    Waking up “blue” again this morning, I realized it was a triple whammy:

    1. Moving from a place of deep love, growth and purpose, to a place of unknown…and the more I want the plan to show itself the more undone it gets! :( the lack of purpose is the hardest.
    2. Handling most of the packing, sorting and physical (which releases emotional memories alone) as hubby is at new job.
    3. It’s fall. I’m losing daylight as we speak. SAD is setting in, and Sept leads to Oct which is my bottom of the pit…the anniversary of my mom’s death when I was almost 13 (just a few days before my birthday).

    It’s just building blocks for depression, and I don’t want to live there (again).
    I’m going to try to lean in hard on God and rest in Him today. I might start with another scripture and some more Jesus Culture and a nap. :) the boxes can wait…

    Thanks for being truth and light this morning!

    • says

      Dearest Marina – My dad died when I was 14 – He was biggest cheerleader – I know where you are and how, while the passing of time helps, it’s always an ache in your heart.

      Praying for you that God will show up in this new place where you’ve moved in ways you can’t even believe. That in the unknown you’ll be given grace and love and peace that are the familiar characteristics of God that you’ve come to rely on.
      May God bless you and be, as He says He is, not only the light of the world (John chapters 1 &8)) but light that floods your heart!

  4. Ruby says

    #1 is my downfall. Always thinking what did I do wrong? Need to take the focus off of “I” and focus on God, He is the only ‘cure’ for the selfish heart.

    Thank you so much for your very encouraging words! I always enjoy your words of wisdom, God is certainly using you to reach those of us who flounder in daily life.

    God Bless You!

  5. says

    I can’t stand being wet when I am not supposed to be. Like getting caught in the rain without an umbrella. What a great picture created with words. I think this trips up so many people. I know that when I talk to someone about forgiveness I always remind them that they are not going to feel like forgiving and forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. It is easy to forget when we are feeling all wet though. Thanks for sharing. Hope you stay dry today!

  6. Leslie says

    As everyone jokes about our pastor at church, you have been peeking over my fence and looking in my windows-thank you for insight that frees.

  7. says

    “Someone who seems really grouchy may actually just be super soggy.” I love that!
    This post is so true. And what we also forget is that we all dry off at different rates and that is okay!

  8. Ann says

    Thank you, Holley. I really needed these words today. I’ve had a lot of “soggy” days lately. Sure do miss seeing you! Blessings!

  9. Cherlyn Kelly says

    Hi Holley,

    Thank you so much for this – you are correct – when I can’t let it go immediately – I start condemning myself and feeling like I’ve let God down again – and then I feel like He’s going to toss me aside for not doing what He told me to do – and I want to so much. My greatest fear is that when I die He won’t let me in – but tell me He knows me not. So when I do things like this I get so scared – all I want to do is please him.

    God Bless you

  10. Tammy says

    Thank you for the smile and the grace you bestow on your readers. As a mom, I am always hardest on myself, especially when it’s a “soggy” day. Thank you for reminding me who’s child I am and what an amazing God He is. You are amazing too! Thanks for blessing us!

  11. Lucille says

    Hi Holley, thank-you for your words today–it’s comforting to know I’m normal. I worked for a company for 12 1/2 years that didn’t treat you like you were when faced with a very angry and sometimes threatening person to deal with. Some of my co-workers were and are in very dangerous situations. Supervisors and managers had the right words to say but were not really there for you to give you any kind of counseling or understanding because they were going through the same issues themselves. All that stress all those years has taken a big toll on my body and it’s only my faith and trust in God and His Word that has kept me. It seems to be taking me longer than I like to “dry myself off”. God has brought people, like you, in to my life, that is helping me to do that. Expecting a brighter today and tomorrow!
    Thank-you so much! Blessings to you!!


  12. says

    Precious, precious Holley, you listen to Him so well! This is just “so” where I am right now. Unfortunately, none of those steps are working for me, it’s a custody issue with my grandchildren and I’m afraid, ouch, I hate that word, we’re going to be denied the privilege of seeing them. Court is this coming Tuesday and it’s a very ugly situation. Knowing in my mind that God is in control is one thing, knowing it in my heart is an entirely different battle, and battle it is…oh, that those barriers would break down! Keep up the good work and keep listening to Him – we need it! Hope reigns!

    • says

      Praying for you Sharon that God will cover you with His grace in this heart breaking situation. He will give you all the strength you need to deal with it – on Tuesday and all the day thereafter (Phil. 4:13) Keep trusting in His goodness!!

  13. says

    Oh I’m guilty of mulling over incidents way too long. But perhaps I just need to give myself some slack. Everyone drying off times differs. Great tips.

  14. Debbie says

    Wow, did I ever need this TODAY ? But when that DOES happy, I TRY to put myself in the other people’s shoes. We don’t know how the driver that cut us off – how HIS day has gone. If he doesn’t know God, then he’s just reacting like normal. So I TRY to think about the other person;
    ALWAYS say a prayer for them and then like you said, “cool down, go for a walk, clean something vigorously, or even read a chapter from a book to get my mind “off” my problem.
    God Bless you for your words of wisdom, hope, love and WARMTH! Hugs !

  15. DENISE GOAD says

    That was a superb description of why I feel so soaked after a family member turns their evil head on me and I’m so glad that you could put it into words. I believe you must be determined to get dried off – but it takes time and much prayer on some of these moments that seem to last a lot longer than was ever intened to be. God is good and he will see us through these difficult and stressful situations. Time does dry us off!!

  16. Marilyn says

    Thank you so much for this. I have been through a very emotionally damaging year. I especially push myself to ‘get over it’. Thank you for reminding me that it takes time and that rushing things only makes things worse. It is through God’s grace and healing that we can be healed. I find myself trying to hurry that along. Again, thank you for reminding me!! May God bless you!!

  17. Paulette Forest Guthrie says

    God is awsome isn’t HE? Glad HE used you today Holly so I could hear wha it is I needed to hear. Glad HE chose you. Blessings,

  18. Nona says

    Its been 3 years since a really big bucket fell on me, and I hoped I would “get over it” by now… Do you know any counsellors to recommend in my area? Spokane, WA. Thanks, Holley, your posts are consistently a blessing from God.-

  19. Evelyn says

    The expression “you need to just pull up your big girl panties” is probably the number one most hated comment that I’ve heard people say about others or to me. I always thought it sounded so demeaning and condescending.
    I have been thoroughly saturated from buckets filled with hurtful comments in the past, and so understand about how difficult it is to “get over it.” I would fret even more because I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t let some things go. Thank-you for some insight as to why I would linger (#1 is my biggest problem). I’m so thankful that God has dried me out and allowed me to understand the freedom I have in Him to be just me!
    I love all your emails and devotionals! I have repeatedly recommended your books to my friends! God’s blessings to you always! ♥

  20. Anne says

    Thanks Holley for the timely message that I need to hear. First of all, I like to say that you are really amazing and I love your American accent! Yes, I couldn’t get over the negative report about me and the words kept ringing in my ears. Yes and nobody is perfect and I try to think and speak of the uplifting words Abba Father has said about me. Yes and I do feel better!

  21. Irene says

    This was SO what I needed today. For a month I have been appliance shopping for the first time without my husband. I have discovered that because I am a woman, I am alone and I am mature (forgive me, I just couldn’t bring myself to say “elderly”) I have been fed so much contradictory information, that I feel sentenced to a lifetime of toaster oven meals and using my neighbor’s frig. I have finally found someone I trust, but their prices don’t fit my budget. What I can afford I don’t like, and what I like I can’t afford. One would think a smooth top range with a hidden bake element in stainless steel, plus a frig with a bottom freezer drawer in stainless steel would be a piece of cake! Apparently not, if one is on a limited income. Your message today just told me to take a break from it, treat myself to lunch out, and leave it in the Lord’s hands. He knows what I need, and I am OK with His timing. Thank you Holley for helping me to see that.

    • SUSAN-JOY says

      For Irene,

      Oh yes, appliance shopping can be frustrating! I went through this scene about seven year’s ago and spent a great deal of time researching and finding the best product and best value. I can tell you that I didn’t want to go through that again for another twenty-five year’s! :) Well, last year my lovely, smooth top stove that I had carefully researched and budgeted for, ended up with a broken top. It was an innocent accident but the stove top was ruined and I found out it is almost the same cost to replace as to purchase another stove~although the “new” stove would not be a ceramic top, just the older style coil top. *I was VERY careful and took great care of cleaning and keeping my stove top and oven in tip-top shape.

      NOW I find myself telling people to be very careful and think about how easy it is to break the glass top. People forget that the surface is glass and it is breakable-easily! AS far as cleaning goes, it is a pain. Whenever a drop of liquid hits the hot stove top surface it burns. Yes, they look great, and for the first year you may be delighted, but please consider all of your avenues. If people are honest, they WILL tell you how difficult the smooth-top stoves/ovens are. I would truly like to spare you from having yet another difficult situation occur in your life, dear one. Blessings and hugs. I’ll be praying for you Irene.

  22. Joyce Wolf says

    Hi, Holley!
    I don’t get to read your posts often, as I am a caretaker for my precious mom-in-law and my time is at a premium. HOWEVER…it seems that when I do, they are “right on time”! This one really hit its’ mark today.

    I feel like a drowned rat. A “pruney” drowned rat.

    As a caretaker, I have learned that exhaustion will effect everything else about me. My best efforts to be cheerful may sometimes be overcome by pure weariness. Logical explanations for simple occurances don’t satisfy my bruised emotions on the hard days. It is a long process with no end in sight……except…


    My Father has given me a husband who sees when I’m at my limit….and next week, he’s sending me away for four days on a quiet retreat to rest at our favorite inn in Amish country.

    My Father sees all the family issues involved in this situation…and the plans He has for me in spite of it. Today, He comforted and encouraged me through a lifelong friend in ministry over lunch….and later on, through a phone call that may very well be the door to a regular break for me. Towels. Wonderful towels!

    I have said from the beginning of this season that He knows my frame, and He remembers that I am dust. Sometimes I forget that….but He, thankfully, never does! He knows my limits. And He is teaching me that He isn’t expecting me to single-handedly take care of everything, everyone, all the time. And….He knows I’m not perfect. Oh, the beauty and freedom in that alone!

    I may be a drowned, pruney rat ….but Papa God handed me some towels today…and I am so grateful that He did! I’ll look and feel better in a few days….

  23. Betty says

    Wow ! now when I think back on things I now know I was drowning . Thanks to you I would know now to trust in God and learn more each time I read stories from Sweet Holley. you are a special person from Our Father aabove to help guide us .

    Love you Holley

  24. Betty says

    Wish I heard this years ago Holley .There were many times no matter what it would take time to get over what ever the situation was . Sleepless nights are terrible tossing and turning if only one would listen to our heavenly Father let him help that is the very best choice. Thank you Dear Holley. Betty

  25. Sandy says

    Hi Holley,
    Good “aha” moment! not just getting over it, but getting through it. Of course with Jesus’ help!

    Shalom, Sandy

  26. Stephanie O. says

    I loved this, Holley! Thank you for helping me “get over” what I have trouble “getting over”! I will remember your comment about grouchy people just being ‘super soggy’, too! That certainly puts a whole new spin on why some people are so negative, and perhaps it may help others to treat them with a little more kindness if they remember this. :)

  27. Leonie Leitch says

    Love reading your daily writings and today’s is really tuching my heart. I have your book “Your Already Amazing” and have purchased it for a couple of friends of mine. Bless you Holly.


  28. Natasha says


    I cannot tell you enough how divine the Lord is through this messaage I just read! It was and is exactly what I needed today! I have been very stressed and know that God will take care of me, I also need to take care of myself…

  29. SUSAN-JOY says

    Dear Holley,

    Thank you so much for this message! Your notes are always teaching, encouraging or simply a delight to read. My last two year’s have been so diificult and with help from professionals and a few good supportive family and friend’s, I can say that I am just now taking baby steps in the process of “getting over it.” (Not there yet, though!) :)

    I’ve been terribly hurt when people blame, make mean-spirited comments and seem to continually tell/advise/suggest that I should “move on, or get over it,..or pick up your socks Susan!”
    I wonder why people are so good at telling other’s what to do. (?) When someone is sad, feeling down or a bit ‘soggy’ sometimes a hug, a cup of tea/coffee and an ear to listen can help ease the burden. There is NO time schedule for the person who is down or depressed-YOU may have a clock and calendar to remind you how long ago the other person has been down and not moving ahead and getting over it,…but they don’t! When a person finds themselves down and /or depressed all they can do is focus on getting through the pain and circumstance and that may possibly take them weeks, months and year’s. No clock-no calendar!

    God wants us to be fully alive, fully healed, restored and not living in tiny broken pieces trying to “get over it” and yet still feeling broken. God never shoves a calendar in front of my eyes, nor has He told me that “it’s time for you to get over it!”

    Does anyone remember the teen aged singer year’s ago by the name of Debby Boone? (Pat Boone’s daughter). She had a number one hit on the charts when I was a young girl. The words went something like this, “YOU light up my world, YOU give me *hope to carry on*, YOU brighten my days and fill my nights with song,..”
    YES, It’s Gods Word that gives me HOPE and everything in my life is in His time and season,..even the things that other’s may not comprehend. I like this verse because it tells me what I SHOULD do: Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Did anyone catch the last three words?? This is pretty good advice AND it also comes from one who has had a broken heart. (The BEST!)
    So my friend’s, I leave YOU with a blessing, May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ((HUGS)) for all! xo

  30. Valerie Hohenberger says

    Dear sweet Holley,
    This devo was “spot-on” for my circumstances this week! I have been feeling pretty drenched! Like some of the other commentors, I try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt, but then I am too hard on myself for that too!

    I have found such encouragment in your blogs, although I am a recent subscriber. You truly have a heart for the hurting!


  31. Becky Jones says

    Today’s message was so awsome. Somedays I don’t get to read your blogbut today it was a blessing and a reatly check. Sometime I am a wet rag trying to forgive someone I have not done right so I loved today’s message. I have a wonderful husband who does almost anything for me and now he is taking me back and forth to Chattanooga for radition treatments but praise the Lord they will be over before long. Keep it up dear Holley.

  32. Carroll says

    Wow! Holly,
    Looks like this one struck a chord with a lot of people. The Lord was definately directing you today. This is exactly what I needed. We are a family of believers and consider our marriage vows sacred. My daughter married a man from a Christian family and though he had begun to question his beliefs before they married she felt it was a phase. Here we are 8 years later and things have gotten steadily worse. I have admired her staying with him despite the lack of love or even relationship. There has been plently of verbal abuse. She has carried the entire financial burden. Today I found out just how very bad it has been. She has made the difficult decsion to leave the sinking ship before he takes her and their precious son with him. But it is sooooo difficult. I know it is the right thing to do (in my head). For their safety. But physically it is difficult to get my stomach to settle, or to sleep. Thank you for your words. I have booked an appointment with my pastor (I’m a church leader and have never had to do this before – usually people come to me). And I think I’ll have a soak in a nice warm tub. I do a lot of praying when I can’t sleep (and that’s a good thing) but hopefully the sleep will come sooner tonight.
    May the Lord Bless you and keep you. Keep ministering. God is speaking through you to so many.

  33. Matthew says

    I’m an adoptee stuggling with a really hard childhood growing up.oNly recently the LOrd has shown me the capasity to forgive and to deal with depression that has plagued me for many years. I have a great loving wife and four great kids. I’ve had to learn to be kinder to myself and have adopted some of the tatics you have mentioned. Iget to hard on my self at times . with God’s grace I have been able to move through some really tough times. Keep up the great encouraging words holley!

  34. says

    So true…we do need to ease up on ourselves. I feel like a took a deep breath just now and will do so again when I don’t get over it again. Blessings to you and your grace extended…a picture of God’s grace extended to us!

  35. Toni Blake says

    Wow, Holley your article was so timely. I’m going through something right now at Work, in which I had to change my position and work in another part of the company. So, I’m dealing with anger, and do not want unforgiveness or bitterness to set in. But now I know to just ‘relax and rest in the Lord’, to allow Him to work in and through my life. The Lord works in such wonderful ways. Thank you for being obedient to Him by writing such an article. May the Lord continually bless you in special and mighty ways.

  36. says

    Thanks for this Holley. It explains a lot. I seem to have been soggy most of my life, so it’s not surprising I’m almost drowning a lot of the time. It would be so nice to dry out, but the next bucket of water always arrives before that happens.
    Good job Jesus is my life-jacket.

  37. Liz Ashcroft says

    Wow! Holley,
    These are great thoughts today, I just love the ideas and I too am going to print them out. I also have been a counsellor in my ‘former life’ and I sometimes think in pictures but yours are just BRILLIANT!! Thanks once again.

  38. Debbie says

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. Really needed to hear this this morning. Reinforcing changes in my own life and looking to the Lord to receive that peace again that goes beyond understanding.

  39. says

    Hello there. I came across the website the actual online. A great write-up. I am going to make sure to bookmark this as well as return to learn more of one’s tips. Thanks for the actual article. I willsurely return.

  40. Cathy says

    Just wanted to Thank You! Everyday it seems that you post something I need to hear! I just can’t wait everyday to read your e-mail!

  41. Javene McCabe says


  42. Jackie says

    What a wonderful post. I know exactly what you are talking about. I think of it like I am holding a tape player and just keep hitting the playback button. sigh I will put the 4 ideas, down in my journal entry for today. Thank you for this close to home post, (as so may of yours are).


  43. diane m says

    This morning I asked God to help me get through a family issue that has been brewing since Sunday. I asked for words of wisdom, an open heart…forgiveness. Yours was the 2nd of two wonderful inspirations that were in my “in box” this morning. I said “thank you God for your words, through these wonderful people”.

    Thank you very much. I forwarded your inspiration to my family members and send it along its way with God’s blessings.

    Praying that it helps open eyes and the healing process begins.
    It helped me!

    With HIS love,

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  45. mackenzie says

    Thank you for this. It was exactly what I needed to read. I’m off to have a bath and go to sleep, hoping things will look better in the morning. I’m hoping to be dry by then!

  46. says

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