top of page

What Is Emotional Burnout And How You Can Prevent It.

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Have you ever felt so drained and heavy that you find it a huge struggle to get out of bed in the morning? You also feel extreme tiredness, yet you cannot sleep. It sounds like the common stress and burnout that we all talk about these days, but few of us recognise that the underlying cause is related to our emotional state of being. Our mind controls both our thoughts and emotions, mental and emotional distress are often intertwined. However, if we can understand the emotional aspect of our state of mind, we will have greater means to tackle our overall wellbeing. WHAT IS EMOTIONAL BURNOUT To understand emotional burnout, we need to first know the purpose that our emotional function serves. Our daily life experience is fundamentally driven by our five senses, our reality is an integrated outcome of what we see, taste, touch, smell and hear.

Yet, an experience is incomplete without feelings and sensations from our heart. It is based on our emotional responses that our mind interprets the experience and uses these signals to navigate through life.

Now, imagine totally losing this emotional ability. You no longer know what to feel, how to feel and why you feel. The complete loss of control and lack of power over our emotional behaviour presents stress to our mind, as if losing its bearings to move forward. Emotional burnout happens when we over-exhaust our heart capacity. We generally feel too weak to give and too full to receive. It is in a limbo state. So how do we even get here? HOW EMOTIONAL BURNOUT HAPPEN Through my course of healing works, here are a few common reasons I have observed: 1. SELF-INFLICTED Emotions are triggered by thoughts and the thoughts further amplify the emotions. One of the causes of an emotional burnout is when someone is entrapped in their viscous cycle of negativity. Like a domesticated rat running in its own wheel, the mind cannot stop spinning out negative thinking repeatedly - self-judgement, guilt, shame, bitterness, despair and so on. Every negative thought produces negative emotion and eventually become a chronic habit that is unstoppable, draining away every drop of joy in the heart. 2. ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD The other reason is environmentally driven. This could be a toxic workplace, a narcissistic relationship, a dysfunctional family that engulfs the daily life. The constant exposure of the body and mind towards hostility, stress, negativity, conflicts, tension and disharmony, is like tickling feathers on a sleeping lion. The pain will gradually build up and the heart will cave in due course. We can't ignore the impact of environments, even the most positive-mindset person can be put to test, emotionally. 3. DESIRES & WANTINGS Our life is a desire engine, it is an endless pursuit over money, work, health, relationships, success and more. With desires come suffering since we don't usually get what we want, or what we get doesn't seem good enough. We work relentlessly to close the gap but each time the gap gets wider. So, in and out, up and down, through and through, every unsatisfying outcome creates emotional stress. In this case, the emotional impact is a slightly different pattern - it consists of big swings from excitement when we achieve, and downright disappointment when we miss. Our heart wears out as we bring it on this perpetual emotional coaster ride each day. 4. OLD WOUNDS The fourth common reason of emotional burnout perhaps does not sound common. It is the burnout from carrying old pain in the subconscious mind. Painful experience from the past such as failure, trauma, abuse, deaths or even life-threatening experience, generate tremendous emotional impact to the victim. If these emotional pains were not dealt with and healed properly, we continue to carry this fear energy in our mind, even though our body may seem to have moved on. Unlike the examples from 1-3, emotional burnout from carrying old wounds happen at a more subtle level. The depletion starts from deep within. That's why sometimes people felt puzzling how a seemingly successful, bright and cheerful person can take a turn out of the sudden and sink emotionally.

To summarise, emotional burnout is caused by long term OVER-EXERTION or OVER-SUPPRESSION emotionally. When you are constantly being triggered emotionally, such as anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, bitterness, jealousy, betrayal and so on, what do you usually do?

Beware of your choice of reaction as they are the source of emotional burnout. Some of us are like an overflowing glass of water, we let out and reacted uncontrollably with tears, verbal abuse or even physical violence. Some of us choose to suppress. We stop ourselves from displaying how we feel, and we deny what we are feeling. Both extreme ways of handling our emotional triggers are unhealthy and will inevitably drive our emotional state of being to a complete breakdown. HOW CAN WE AVOID EMOTIONAL BURNOUT? To prevent emotional burnout, here are 3 key steps that you can adopt in your emotional wellbeing regime: 1. Regular Emotional Detox Take a break, a pause, change - do whatever you need to break the chain of emotional toxicity before the burnout point. When you prioritise self-love and self-care, you will naturally know when and how to take care of your well-being. One great way for emotional detox is to move your body. Emotions are energy and when we absorb or create negative emotions, these energies get stuck in us and become stagnant.

Physical movements can effectively stimulate the flow. However, I would suggest that gentle movements create healthier flow instead of opting for aggressive or vigorous exercises that sometimes may evoke more tensed emotions. So, take a slow walk in nature, have a scenic run, gentle swim or dance. Allow your body to reconnect with your heart. 2. Raise Your Self-Awareness Most burnouts occur because we have missed all the signs. The best way to stop a fire outbreak is to nip it at the bud. So, similarly, we need to raise our consciousness and become more acutely aware of our thoughts and emotions. Practise meditation and breathwork regularly to heighten your self-awareness. 3. Expand Your Presence Emotional burnout often happened to people who have a relatively limited life circle. It's either all about work or all about family. The lack of meaningful variety in life creates boundaries for emotions to be explored and expanded. A healthy way to expand your existential presence is to find something that sparks joy in you! It can be a hobby, a passion, a voluntary work or even just taking time to meet with families and friends. Another approach is to connect with spirituality. It can be a religion, a faith, philosophies, depending on what you resonate with. Go explore and gain life knowledge beyond the physical essence of life. Learn more about your own body, mind and spirit.

When you expand your space in life, you are creating space in your heart as well.

When you pay attention to and take care of your emotional wellbeing, you will begin to realise your empowerment to change your life experience. I hope this article has been useful to you and feel free to leave me your comments to let me know what you think. Love & light to you always, Silvia


If you are interested to learn more about emotional empowerment, do join me in an upcoming workshop on 16 & 18 Sep - The Power of Changing Your Emotions.

This is a LIVE webinar, workshop fee is waived for all subscribers and clients of Shan Living. If you are not yet a subscriber, simply go to our homepage to fill in the subscription form.

If you are a subscriber or client of Shan Living, simply email to to receive the free access information.

Check out more details about the webinar here.

Love & light to you always,



Don't let your emotional health stop you from living a blissful and fulfilled life.

Begin your emotional healing and empowerment today.

Silvia Siow | Emotional Healer & Coach | Certified Emotion Code™ Practitioner


bottom of page