Disaster Relief: How to “Flip the Switch” on Your Emotions and Feel Better Now!
Right now, you may be in shock or disbelief, feeling anxious, worried, fearful, out of control, depressed, helpless, panicked, irritable, restless, angry, lonely and isolated – and a whole host of other negative emotions that you may not be used to feeling. Clearly the entire world has been upended or disrupted. It is like the rug has been pulled out from under you and you had no warning or little warning that this was going to happen, which adds to the feelings of shock or disbelief. You are in pain and you are suffering – or at least the majority of people are.
Everyone Is Handling the Coronavirus Differently and That’s OkayLet me first address the fact that everyone is not in the same space or place emotionally right now. If I drew it out on a continuum, we would have people at one end who are not too worried and at the other end we would have people who are beyond fearful and panicked. Two polar opposites of the emotional continuum. Neither one of them is wrong. Then we have the middle of the road people and everything in between. You are wherever you are emotionally. Just have it be okay whatever state you are in. The power in all of this is being able to learn the habits and practices on how to deal with your emotions. No one needs help dealing or managing their emotions when life is good or great. That’s easy. What we are typically NOT good at is dealing with loss, pain, suffering, hardship, and trauma – the negative emotions so to speak. When you have the life skills, habits and practices for dealing with the negative emotions including anger, then you have a much higher level of power in your life, more resilience and the ability to recover more quickly when life knocks you down. What this – the upending and disruption of the world – offers the majority of the population is the time for a pause. A time to reflect on how we have been living life or not living life. What is interesting is the number of people who are now turning to prayer and to God for Mercy. As a fan of God, obviously I support this move. It’s often what happens for people when bad things happen to people. What would happen if you took the time that you now have, unexpected and painful as it is for most people, and used your unexpected time to make your life better? What would happen if you used the “pause” that is happening to evaluate your life? Would you be willing to do that? Are you living your life in a way that is pleasing to yourself? Are you living a life that makes you happy?
Why Many People Are UnhappyGiven the statistics on happiness in the World, the answer for too many people is a clear and resounding no. Happiness for too many people is an elusive concept that never fully arrives. You might be experiencing the emotions of the “Flight or Fight” response, also known as the acute stress response, given the state of the world. That would not be unreasonable. The “Flight or Fight” response refers to the choices our ancestors had in response to danger – flee or fight. With what is going on now, the flight choice has left the station. Given that we are pretty much hunkering down in place – that removes the fight choice. What are you to do? I offer you the third choice of growing and developing while you are self-quarantined. I am offering you the alternative of learning new ways of thinking, new habits and practices that will give you extraordinary power in your life moving forward. Why am I able to be extremely happy at age 58 starting over in life with pretty much nothing? How is that possible? That is the question I get from people who hear my backstory, which unfortunately I can’t share in this forum because that would be dangerous and definitely not prudent. I am happy because I have learned how to generate my own happiness as a life skill separate from my circumstances. I am happy because although I weathered a really horrific situation, I have come out on the other side as a BETTER PERSON. Hardships can either make you or break you or somewhere in between. Please don’t let the hardships you are experiencing break you. Please let these difficulties MAKE you – into a better person. Let this world event mold and shape you in a way that you have a richer and more fulfilling life than before. How would that be for you to be able to be happy distinct and separate from your life circumstances? It might be pretty amazing. You could learn how to open your heart (see my post titled Living Life with Your Whole Heart from September 2019), which I believe is critical. You could heal past hurts. You could grow and develop such that you are not recognizable. Or you could stay the same wounded by the current events in the world. Anything is possible.
Adjusting Your PerspectiveYou could spend your precious time wondering why this has happened. You could spend your time worrying about your future. You could spend your time doing nothing productive to forward your life. You could spend your time being stuck feeling sad, angry, worried, anxious, fearful, depressed and unmotivated or any of the other negative emotions. You could do that. Or you could consider one of the gifts of this world event to be understanding how precious your life is. You could look at this horrible, awful event as a gift to assess and evaluate how you want your life to go moving forward. You could do lots of things to make your life better if you were not stuck feeling the way that you feel now. I understand that it can be hard to learn new things. I understand that this is foreign territory talking about how to deal with your emotions let alone the fact that you could learn to manage and control your emotions. I am well aware that this might sound like something that you can’t buy into. I get it. Yet, this is my assertion. You can learn to process, manage and change your emotions. If you are new to my blog let me share with you that I am not a therapist in any way nor am I in the medical profession. What I am writing herein therefore is not medical or therapy advice. You should get your medical or therapy advice from a licensed medical professional. If you are seriously depressed or considering suicide, please, please call 911 or the local or national suicide hotline – 1-800-273-8255. Given the state of things in the World, I would also suggest that if you are feeling suicidal that you let people know. People do care about you. People do love you. I care about you. I love you even though we have never met. This situation has created catastrophic financial losses for so many individuals, families, small businesses to large businesses. I have a lot to say about financial loss given that my own money was fraudulently taken from me and I have some ideas that might be helpful. I do think that subject of dealing with catastrophic financial loss is worthy of an entire post and as such I am not going to address it here other than to say I understand the significance of the loss. I have more to say about that and will in the near future. Right now, the power for you by beloved, is in getting a grip on your emotional state and learning how to process and deal with your emotions.
The Power of EmotionsEmotions are extremely powerful. Emotions drive our lives in ways that we don’t understand or at least most of us don’t understand. Emotions are what allow us to get connected to other human beings. Emotions are what motivate us to do certain things or NOT do certain things. If you want to have a really happy, joyous and powerful life then, in my humble opinion, this is the power source of life. To be able to have abilities and skills in the area of dealing with and managing your emotions. It goes without saying that no one needs help when it comes to the positive emotions like love, joy, happiness, peace and contentment. You get a raise or a bonus, you get a job or promotion, you get into a new relationship, you make a new friend and you don’t need any help feeling happy. It is the negative emotions that are the ticking time bomb from where I stand. We don’t know how to grieve a loss. We don’t know how to deal with anger in a healthy respectful way so we are passive-aggressive or act out. We don’t know how to let go of resentments or forgive fully. The ability to handle your negative emotions will give you untold power and peace in your life because you can express yourself in a healthy, assertive, non-threatening way. It will go a very long way to increasing your happiness in life. I am all about happiness. It’s one of the commodities that I trade in – how to be happy in life regardless of your circumstances. This is a shit storm for sure. What I have learned about life is that every painful problem or issue I have been forced to deal with has given me precious gifts. Not that I would ever want to go back and relive some of the traumas and ordeals, but I have found a way to grow and develop out of the trials, tribulations and traumas. You can too. It’s a matter of perspective. It’s a matter of how you want your life to go. This awful mess that the World is in right now could be a moment in time where you change your life for the better moving forward. It could be. It has that potential. The whole point to my blog is to help you LOVE your LIFE. What I promise you is that if you took processing your emotions to heart, IF you took on the practices that would allow you to manage and deal with your emotions like a champ that your life would never be the same. Your life would be infinitely richer. Your life would be so much better. You will never regret learning how to process, manage and deal with your emotions. I PROMISE YOU THAT. Or your money back! Haha. This is a free blog so this costs you nothing! Trying to lighten the mood here. We are borne into the world and most of us don’t get a lesson on how to deal with and manage our emotions. We just start living life and figure it out as we go. Some people believe that emotions are NOT something that they can control. For some, emotions just come and go and they have little or no ability to change how they are feeling. So, there are two parts that I want to address for you: (1) Processing your emotions, and (2) Changing your emotional state. If you never heard or learned that you can, in fact, learn to “Flip the Switch” on your emotions, of course, you would believe or think that. I believe that it is extremely important to know HOW to process your emotions so I will start there before moving onto what I call “Flipping the Switch”.
Steps to Deal with and Manage your Emotions
- Identify how you are feeling, name it, own it. When you start learning how to process your emotions it is very helpful to have a list of emotions that you can find online to help you with this. When I was working with my children years ago, we got a two-page document that listed feeling words for both positive and negative emotions. I highly recommend that. Regardless, the ability to identify and name how you are feeling is the first step.
- Acknowledge and Accept your feelings. It is powerful to acknowledge and accept your feelings. Trying to suppress or deny your feelings is the opposite of powerful. Suppressing or denying your feelings can, in my humble opinion, lead to greater and potentially larger problems including both health and psychological problems.
- Share your feelings and emotions with someone else. While that would mean being vulnerable, I believe having the ability to be vulnerable is magical – my post on being vulnerable might help you with that. It is titled The Power & Magic of Vulnerability: Top 10 Ways You Can Start Increasing Your Ability to be Vulnerable, March 10, 2020.
- Breathe and understand that no emotional state is permanent or at least is doesn’t have to be. Breathe. You are going to be okay. Tell yourself that. Believe it.
- Take on a self-soothing or self-care practice that nourishes your heart and soul instead of an addictive practice or habit that does not forward your life.
- Consider your emotional quotient or emotional intelligence level – in general. The situation we are in magnifies worry, anxiety, fear and depression for people who typically experience worry, fear, anxiety and depression. Where are you on the emotional quotient or emotional intelligence scale? I wrote a post about emotional intelligence/emotional quotient titled Top 17 Benefits to High Emotional Intelligence and Why It’s Important, October 25, 2019. There is never going to be a better time – right now while you are sitting at home with LOADS of time on your hands – to get a handle on this subject of emotional intelligence. How emotionally intelligent are you? This is great stuff. At least in my eyes it is.
- Take back your power and sense of control by making a plan for your life OR taking actions that will give you a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction.
- Learn how to Flip the Switch on your emotions.
Flip the Switch on your EmotionsThe process of what I call “Flipping the Switch”, which you could call shaking it off after the Taylor Swift song involves you taking a definite action to change your emotional state. Obviously, you would need to recognize that you are feeling some negative emotions and then you take a purposeful action to make yourself feel better. Once you start this process – noticing you are angry, or depressed or feeling unhappy – and then you take an action that allows you to feel energized and better – this will then become a habit that you will want to continue. Having been in 3 concurrent really awful traumas for an extended period of time, and being of a personality type that I LIKE to be HAPPY, I learned a long time ago how to “Flip the Switch” and manage my emotions because I believe you simply can’t allow someone else or some circumstance dictate how you feel. You can learn to “Flip the Switch” or shake it off. It’s not that hard.
Examples of Activities to Help You FLIP the SWITCH
- Go for a walk if you are able, which you can easily do with social distancing in place.
- Pick something to be grateful for and experience the feeling of gratitude for that thing or person.
- Pray or meditate. I find that a few minutes of prayer will change my mood every single time. I have heard that about meditation, but since I don’t meditate I can’t speak to that.
- Call a friend or family member and SAY out loud: I need a pick me up call. Are you available? Keep making calls until you get someone who is available. If you don’t have many or enough friends, then go on social media and say that same thing. Trust me, people will rise up to support you sometimes in unexpected ways.
- Take a 15-minute cat nap to get centered and relaxed. I have even done this in my car while waiting for someone. It can be refreshing and help you flip the switch on your emotional state.
- Go do one small chore as in a 10-15 minute task, which should be helpful.
- Make a list! If you are not a list maker, then it’s high time to start. If you want to have a life that you love and get through difficult times, lists can be your guide, your support and extremely helpful. I have blogged about this in two posts titled Top 35 Ways that Making a List Will Help You Have a Life You LOVE, November 18, 2019 and LOVE the TIME of YOUR LIFE – September 12, 2019.
- Engage in one of your self-care practices as you learn self-soothing skills. I wrote about self-care in my post titled Self-Mastery, Self-Motivation, & Self-Care: The Holy Grail of Happiness & Joy, January 30, 2020.
- Spend some time doing a hobby that you love. If you don’t have any hobbies, then I might gently suggest that you look at my post on hobbies because I am beyond a fan of hobbies. My hobby post is titled How Hobbies Can Help You Love Your Life and the Top 23 Reasons You Should Hobby Up, December 11, 2019.
- Listen to music that you love.
- Think of someone you could be of assistance to and provide what you can, which can be done with social distancing in most cases.
- Read an inspiring book or short story or watch some inspiring show.
- Do something that is likely to make you laugh. Laugh as much as you can and as often as you can.