I find that when I'm experiencing intense emotional pain, for whatever reasons, that it usually involves some other past hurt which is not yet fully "resolved" or healed. Another way of putting it may be that some part of my past experience is in need of acknowledgement and healing, loving, attention and intention.
If I'm at the edge of my capacity to deal with this pain, or over that edge, I find that my awareness of options and opportunity feels small and constricted. Intense emotional pain is constricting of awareness.
Because my awareness is constricted in these states--because I am in a fog at that moment--I think it's best not to react or act out of that constricted awareness. I need to take some time and just let myself feel and be with that pain until it softens, so i can choose my response from a wider view of the real situation -- so some "cooling off" (of anger, of fear, of panic...) makes sense. So there is need of containment, of creating some sort of container in which to work with the situation.
It always helps, I think, to remind myself that emotional pain is bodily pain. Where do I feel this in my body? When have I felt this way before? Will breathing help? Will stretching, running, sitting ... help to relax those taut muscles, this emotional contraction in the body?
Most of us have places where unresolved emotional contraction/pain are lodged in our bodies rather chronically. When things get really intense, we'll notice -- if we take time to look -- that those places feel terribly tight, unrelaxed, when we're in emotional pain.
It can help a lot to sit down comfortably and really focus our attention on those places in our body where we are feeling tight while in emotional pain -- and to breathe into these. Imagine that every pore of your body can breathe, and breathe right into the tight, contracted, painful place/s. One at a time. And ask, "What wants to be known, here?" "Listen" intently to the "voice" of that part of the body which feels the pain. Pain is always in the body. Feel into it, and breathe into it, and be ready to learn from the pain. Listen with then intention of relaxing and letting go of the pain -- and it will teach you how to both listen better and how to work with the e-motion. Emotion is "e" - "motion" ... energy in motion, in the body. It hurts most when the motion is constricted, not flowing well. Relaxation and breathing where the constriction occurs helps us grow in awareness of our unique, individual, human experiencing. It's like coming home to yourself.
The attempt to "make it go away" without first understanding it (the pain) is running away from yourself. But you may have noticed ... Wherever you go, there you are!
Come home to yourself today. Every day. Each moment.
Opening to pain may be an opening to joy and freedom.