Many people don’t realize how disempowering it is when we fail to empower ourselves and to manage our emotions, thoughts and physical sensations during scary times. We often give one another the wrong advice. For example, we tell people “Don’t worry” or “Don’t cry” or “Don’t get upset.” All these suggestions are barriers to leading ourselves to a healthier state of mind, particularly in scary times.
As an entrepreneur in the business of helping people, I am commonly called upon myself to walk the talk—to practice what I teach others. As a mental health professional with over 20 years of experience, I still find it to be a process when I find the need to sit with myself and give me a minute to apply the techniques that I know lead to empowerment.
These are uncertain times for all of us. People are running around frantically trying to find toilet paper, food, and disinfectant products. If you read my friends’ thread on my text messages, I assure you that you would find some humor in it all and laughter is good medicine.
But, reality hits. One way to manage your emotions and thoughts is to be aware of them. Below is a modified version of a text I sent to a few close friends last night:
“I feel disoriented like I am unsure of what direction to take. I feel like I am swimming and there is a rip current that I am trying not to get pulled into.”
It felt better that I disclosed how I was really feeling about this pandemic. After sleeping on it, I knew I what I needed to do, and I would like to share those tips with you. Exploring how we relate to ourselves is vital to healthy and positive outcomes and we can use that power to ride the wave and to avoid getting dragged out by the rip current in all the chaos and frenzied energy.
Use the power of rational living. Stick to the facts. Understand what is triggering you so you can get a handle on the self-defeating behavior and unhealthy negative emotion. Don’t “must” or “should” over it. Accept that life happens and realize that our world has been plagued by infectious diseases for centuries. This is not new to us. Many of us can still remember AIDS and look where we are today in terms of treatment. None of us want to get sick, however, the truth is, some of us will get sick and choosing HOPE over FEAR is a healthier alternative.
The choice of hope helps us to increase more positive emotions. Increasing positive emotion has true health and social benefits. Find ways to manage your healthy negative emotions so that it does not become unhealthy. It is understandable to be concerned about your health, your finances, and your family and friends. You want to stay in the range of healthy concern and avoid turning that into anxiety and fear. Fear immobilizes us—it even slows down our blood flow. We can’t think clearly if we are allowing our emotions to literally freeze like a deer in headlights. Find ways, including the use of the first tip, to dispute your irrational beliefs and to develop healthy emotional mastery.
Explore the language you are using. What self-talk is going on? Don’t be ashamed to be honest. Write it down and then find ways to come up with positive alternatives to negative and destructive thoughts. In fact, identify the strength and courage it took to be honest about what you are thinking. Don’t ignore your negative thoughts and emotion. It is crucial to work through it and sometimes deeper work is needed to get to the root of the issue. Watch your body language too. Are you tense and rigid? Find ways to relax your body.
Discover your power of self-awareness and how that energy feels in your body and how it impacts your emotions. Be aware of your thoughts, reactions and, feelings about things. You have the power to shift your energy based on your self-awareness. Again, be completely transparent with yourself and share with someone you trust how you are feeling. Vulnerability is empowering, although scary, you come out stronger by allowing yourself to get to that place and self-awareness will lead that journey.
As a whole, it is likely that humanity will survive this pandemic. While we need to first survive, the ultimate goal is to thrive. You cannot tread water endlessly—at some point, you need to swim and take strategic action to improve your condition. We thrive when we rely on strengths and the best way that I can sum that up here is this:
Find ways to bring peace and serenity into your life. Use these strengths to calm your mind and body. Rely on the strength of accepting the scary things in life and realize that you need the strength of wisdom to determine what you can and cannot control. Use the practice of courage to face things that feel threatening.
The practice of thriving is the practice of being strengths-based in all we do. Build up your personal reservoir of strengths and you will see how that broadens you intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Empower yourself with all these tools. By doing the opposite, you are disempowering and disabling yourself. You have the power to relate to yourself and other people in a healthy rational and emotional way. You can choose to use language, both toward yourself and other people, that actively builds better relationships. Increasing your self-awareness with fearless transparency will bring you closer to working through your challenges with purpose and clarity. Leaning into your strengths builds you up from the inside out on many levels.
For a free mini-course to OPTIMIZE YOU in 2020, click here.