I had an emotionally challenging week the past week, I found myself in a situation where I questioned fundamentals that I hold true. I’m confident and firm with my beliefs, sometimes it can seem as though I view things as black or white with no Grey areas. I don’t believe that’s always a good thing but it helps me to stay focused and make decisions on the fly. Sometimes situations come up that throws me. Make me wonder what it’s all worth being so hard and fast with my values. Why bother put all that energy in to being a better person. This week’s post is about how to control emotions when they are overwhelming, causing you to doubt yourself and what you believe. Before I go any further I want to note that I am in no way suggesting that the tips I have are full proof or that they will work for everyone. I do believe based on my experiences they are helpful points and can be useful to anyone, so take it for what it is and always do research, ask questions and learn.
My first thing to do is to put myself on time out.
I generally have the capacity to deal with most difficult situations, I had a tough start to my journey and I learned from a young age the value of being able to adapt to any situation. I remember being hard on myself when I was young. Messing up anything even a small conversation brought me hours of self berating and lectures. I couldn’t understand it and I didn’t know how to process my emotions. I believe because I hadn’t learned how to do so in a hands on way but from watching other people it didn’t come to me naturally. At some point I realized I couldn’t have everything fall apart without trying to limit how things impact me. In emotionally overwhelming situations I give myself a time out. Time out consist of me walking away and intentionally not dealing with it at the moment. I once had my boss raise his voice at me for a misunderstanding. I believe he was frustrated with all he was dealing with, but I was put off by the conversation and tone. I remember sitting there my heart beating fast and welling up with emotions. I listened and said nothing. In that moment had I responded I may have lost my job. About ten minutes later, when my heart slowed down, I assessed what happened and observed that my boss was having a frustrating day. I was able to have a conversation that was productive and helpful to both my boss and myself. Time out can be a life saver for little ones but big ones too. My mother would always tell me as a child to think before I act at all times and I find myself sharing that with my little ones now. I feel like a time out is my way of actively following her advice.
I use external comforts.
When I say external comfort, I don’t mean things that you can acquire to give you a false sense of fulfillment and I certainly don’t mean substance abuse either. Think more candles, mood music, a book, along those lines. Things that you may like or you like to do that triggers a sense of happiness or comfort even if it’s temporary. For myself my ritual is to listen to music at a cozy spot by a window in my house and burn Lavender or vanilla candles. It isn’t a reliable source on its own but if you have a plan that includes other steps this is a good way to induce feelings of wellness, peace, or feeling OK while you work on implementing other long term aids. Think of it as a part of your support system. Cut yourself some slack and don’t try to handle it all on your own.
Once I’ve calmed down, its time to analyze.
It’s good to go through the situation and look at the different perspectives. This way you can examine how you feel and think about the perspective of everyone involved. The key for me is keeping a journal and writing the situation down. I don’t know why but everything is clearer and more honest when I write them down on paper. I feel like it places an accountability factor on me as I process. Interestingly there’s always a natural progression of what to do next based on what I wrote down, because I’m objectively seeing on paper what actions I took that influence the situation. The emotions that come out also help me to process the situation and move on faster.
Lastly remember that this too will pass. For me my drive is my ambition so when I get down in a funk and the emotions are running high I try to focus on picturing and envisioning my future and how I plan to get there. A great distraction is to take some time to create a visual plan to look at, in moments when you need them. The visual helps you to connect on a more physical level to the future and can offer some relief to you now. Focus on the now and what you can change. Accept what you can’t and push through to the future because better days will come and the sun will shine brighter then. Most importantly allow your self to process and feel the emotions before moving on.