- Even if it is for a short moment, that space away from the stubborn emotion is similar to taking a breather. Think of it as your mental lunch break. As a teacher I’ve worked with colleagues who “talked shop all the time.” They would enter the faculty room and constantly discuss problems with students, curriculum, administrators, parents… I quickly learned to sit away from these people. I needed a break to eat, talk about the Eagles, or discuss fun weekend plans. That break allowed me to finish the day with the necessary energy and patience.
- Some people, whether consciously or subconsciously, trick themselves into believing that worrying about a catastrophe will prevent it from happening. Sorry, worrying about getting dumped, fired, or going broke isn’t going to prevent it. Action will prevent it.
- Establishing different perspective is a big part of my therapy. One of the most valuable shifts in perspective that someone can experience comes when they understand, and more importantly believe, that emotions are temporary. One of the factors that can make everyday anxiety or sadness transform to clinical anxiety/panic or a major depressive disorder is the belief that these difficult emotions are permanent. Many people who enter therapy express concern that they are “always going to feel this way.” Everything changes. High stress loses its edge and goes away quicker when you remind yourself that it will soon be gone.
- Finding that small part of you that is trying to say that “you are going to be ok.” I often ask clients tell me how that would support a friend who is going through the same thing. They respond with various comments that all endorse the same sentiment “you are going to be ok.” When we are overwhelmed it is hard to see that we will be ok. That feeling of “being ok” might take a little while to emerge, but it will happen. Putting the thought “I will be ok” into your focus, is much like being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It can allow you to persevere and move forward on a dark and difficult journey, rather than giving up.
For many people this time of year involves a lot of joy. For others, it involves a lot of anxiety and sadness. Hopefully this information can allow you to try out a new perspective to make things a little better.