Question of the Week
Tools for dealing with complex emotions
Happy Friday all!
It’s been a tough, emotional week. The news about the abhorrent treatment of Christian Cooper and the murder of George Floyd have dominated the headlines. The reality of it all has left me exhausted and overwhelmed. A conversation with my therapist reminded me that it’s moments like these that I really need to rely my coping tools.
This week I want to go back over a few tools that can help you deal with the emotions that are likely arising. Again, I’m not a therapist. But I’ve dealt with significant trauma, and these tools have helped me face my fear and cope with the anxiety created by uncertainty and the unknown. I hope they can provide some comfort to you as well.
Focus on what you can control
Ignoring your fear, anger, resentment and anxiety won’t make it go away. However, focusing on what you can control can help you release those things that you can’t. For example, you can’t control the centuries past or the centuries to come of systemic racism. But you can control what you do and how you react to this situation.
Here is a list of resources you can use to educate yourself on anti-racism and tools you can use to cope with what’s happening. Some of my favorite:
- The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehra Baradaran
- Codeswitch by NPR
- Selma (Ava DuVernay)
Take care of yourself
You can also focus on taking care of your physical and emotional health during this stressful time. That includes
- getting lots of rest, eating healthy food
- drinking plenty of fluids
- being physically active
- doing something that gives you energy and joy
- limiting the amount of time you spend reading or watching news
For instance, you can get off of the Internet and go for a walk. Buy yourself some flowers. Or clean your house with Janet Jackson blaring in the background (an example that helps one of my friends). These small treats can make a big difference in your mental space and energy.
Also, it may be helpful to talk to friends or family to release some of what you’re feeling. Please reach out to me if you need a listening ear. I’m here for any and every emotion that comes up.
If you find yourself getting extremely stressed or depressed, it may be helpful to consult with a mental health professional who can help you navigate the depth of these feelings. We’re all in this together and can help each other share the burden of dealing with the situation.
One day at a time
Lastly, one of my favorite mantras, is “one day at a time.” The only day we have is today. So rather than worry about the past or what has yet to happen, stay focused on the present.
You can do that in many ways such as:
- take at least three deep breaths
- mentally scan your body for how you feel
- creating gratitude lists (5 things you are grateful for today)
- focusing on the thing you are doing in the moment
Being present and not dwelling on the past or the future, will help keep your problems right sized.
Quote of the Week
“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Task of the Week
Try one of these tools this weekend. And if need be, try all three! I hope they can provide some comfort in these trying times.