This morning, I was walking my dog when I witnessed four different cases of people talking on the phone, shouting, and apparently taking part in an argument.
I realized that with the current global crisis, people need emotional support more than ever. It is not only our physical health at stake, but also our mental well-being.
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has made many people feel like prisoners. All these people somehow need to vent their frustration. In this article, you will learn how to manage negative emotions; not just during the pandemic of Coronavirus, but for the rest of your life.
The first step is to accept and acknowledge your emotions. Do not ignore your negative emotions. Do not pretend that they do not exist or affect you. Lying to yourself may temporarily feel good. In the long run, however, if you choose to ignore your negative emotion, it will fire back even stronger. When this happens, you may also experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach issues, insomnia, and autoimmune disorders. You may escape Coronavirus now, but you certainly don’t want to have other symptoms. As a rule of thumb, I have created the abbreviation DAWN™ to help you.
Distance yourself from the emotion by taking a break.
Approach as if it is someone else’s emotion. How would you advise them to handle it?
Work on an action plan to change everything you can change.
Nurse yourself by practicing self-care.
Once you have accepted your negative emotions, you can then deal with them. You can use the following steps for the most effective management of your negative emotions.
1. Understand your emotion.
How do you feel? How has it affected you and your life? What is the cause of this emotion? Remember that it is fine to feel weak at times. You know this emotion will finally cease and you will fix yourself as soon as it passes.
2. Take a break from your emotion.
Stop mulling it over for a while and relax. Read, dance, meditate, exercise, talk to a loved one, laugh or do anything that will take your mind off the specific situation. If nothing works, try to count from one to ten, as it sometimes works miracles!
3. Distance yourself.
Observe as if you were watching a movie or reading a book. What would you advise Harry Potter, Frodo, or Ethan Hunt, Hermione Granger, Wonder Woman, or Miss America, to do if they felt the same way?
4. Act on your emotion.
Find the positives in this negative situation and do what you can do. Remember that there is always a positive. This time, with COVID-19 lurking, it may be that you get to spend quality time with your family or you get to learn something new, or you get to clean your house thoroughly, or a million other things.
If you feel anger and your blood is boiling, instead of shouting, distance yourself and identify the reason behind your anger. If you feel disgust by something unpleasant or offensive, distance yourself and identify the reason why. If you feel fear, assess the situation objectively. Is there a dangerous situation? If yes, make a plan for how you will proceed and tackle the situation. Recall past experiences and fill up with energy from past success. Now channel all this positivity to your new plan.
On a final note, I would like to remind everyone that the way you react to a negative emotion or a tough situation can be entirely different to the way your parent, sibling, friend, colleague, or significant other reacts. This does not mean that something goes wrong with one of you. It just means that you have developed different coping mechanisms and one of you may need more time to overcome the new challenge or your way of coping is entirely different. You may feel better when you sing while someone else may feel better when they cry for example. All healthy coping mechanisms are fine as long as they help someone. Therefore do not judge others, but encourage them to accept their negative emotions and then deal with them.
Let’s all stick together to face Coronavirus and remember Mick Rory’s words ‘You can’t change the things you did, but you can change what you become.’ As always, I am just an email away.