We are experiencing unprecedented times. How do we build our emotional resilience? The Work From Home has been a reality for a long time .. but it’s different now.
How are your feeling today? or How is WFH treating you?
The answers will vary from person to person. Some say they are happy as they are getting to spend time with their family, others say it’s tough. Some have lost their jobs, while others are anxious about how will they manage after the reduced salary.
Emotions can be positive or negative. Either ways need to deal with them.
Emotions are real. Emotions are us. Traditionally we’ve learnt to dismiss our emotions by saying words like
– “it’s all going to ok”,
– “you’re thinking too much”,
– “Try and divert your mind” ,
– “Stop watching the news, listen to some music”
– “Forget the anger; ”
Emotions Controlling us
What are the different ways we are coping during COVID times, binge watching Netflix, Over-eating, Over exercising, over connecting with friends and family or anything else. These coping mechanisms are telling us that emotions are controlling us not not the other way round. These emotions are sending us messages, are we listening to them?
The anxiety shows up in the tone we speak with our loved ones. The anger and frustration find their way with our loved ones. Imputes our health. – both mental and physical
Would we like to take control of our emotions.
Resilience comes from the word “Resilio” meaning “bouncing Back”The phrase “Emotional Resilience” would indicate that we have to be going down to be able to “bounce back”. During COVID times resilience would mean managing your emotions, every day
Resilience during these times is ensuring we do not allow our fears and anxieties get better of us. Managing our emotions in a manner that they are helpful rather than them controlling us.
Traditional Coping Strategies
Typical Coping strategies are either suppressing our emotions or expressing them completely are the flight or fight response. Both kinds of the response may be the best way, Expressing them completely could result in behaviours or actions which I may be something I regret for life
Viktor Frankl, an Austrian Psychiatrist, a Holocaust survivor says between stimulations and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Choosing the response (coping Strategy)
- Acknowledge the discomfort:
- Name the emotions: Labelling the emotion is more difficult. While naming make saying “I’m angry” may not give the right message. Instead say “I’m feeling angry” of “I’m having a feeling of anger”
- What is causing the emotion? Write down, what are the reasons for my emotions. e.g. What are my fears. What are the consequences that I’m concerned about? A detailed
- What can I do? Given the current circumstances what are the action can I take. Steps that I can take. All the action
- Finding the courage to do: Courage is doing something despite my fears.
Building Emotional Resilience in every day life
e.g. If you are one who lost your job.
- Acknowledge the there is an emotional disturbance
- Name the emotion – am I anxious or am I sad or whatever else I am. Use the wheel above to support you in naming the emotion
- What are all the thoughts that are causing the emotion. Am I worried about not getting a job. or am I worried about how will I be able to pay the school feed. Write down as many as you can
- Given the current situation what all can I do. Can I start writing a blog or create a vlog. Can I call up some people who I’ve not been in touch with.
- Which of the steps above can I start today. Take up one things. Do it despite the fears that are there.
The example here is that of losing a job, but may be applied to
In my personal life, if my kids don’t wake up on time to help me out
- Acknowledge that there is something not ok
- Name the emotion – upset, angry, frustrated … or anything else or even combination of two or more emotions.
- What are the thoughts that are causing the emotions – my children don’t care or they get to rest or they will not be responsible adults or any other thoughts .
- Given the situation, what action I take : Have a conversation with them, distribute tasks. While doing writing, also remember, what kind of a mother, I would like to be – compassionate, fun-loving, always there, cool mother …. . Choose your response accordingly.
- Find courage to take one action: Start with having a conversation with children. Now here you may not need the courage but you do need a positive mindset. unless I go we a mindset of finding a solution, I will only end up blaming everyone for my misery.
In all this maintain a non-judgemental attitude and lots of self-compassion.
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