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.

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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