Thursday, March 10, 2022

Managing Strong Feelings


The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has many of us feeling helpless. Sure, we can open our wallets and send money or buy much needed supplies to be sent to aid the refugees. Yet, beyond those actions, what more can we do? As gas, oil, and other prices surge, this adds another layer of stress over things we cannot control. The frustration or anger that can well inside us from situations that are out of our control chips away at our peace of mind and releases stress hormones which, left unattended, can lead to health-related problems.

However, there are things we can do to manage the emotional toll. The capacity to manage strong feeling, emotions, and impulses involves being able to:

  • take action without being impulsive and responding out of emotion
  • put emotions to the side when clear thinking and action are required
  • use thinking as a way of managing one’s emotions

When we allow ourselves to get worked up, we are needlessly causing our bodies to go into fight-or-flight mode. That's why perspective is so important. I remember my mother, who was a young woman during the World War II era, talking about the rationing of bread, flour, sugar, and other staples. I, myself, remember gas rationing back in the the 1970s. And while we are not there (and hopefully will not get there) think of all you do have.

The people in Ukraine are losing there homes, businesses, schools, towns. On February 23, sixteen days ago from the writing of this post, people in Ukraine were living life as we live it today..... planning weddings, graduations, awaiting the birth of a child.....all the thing that are part of the normality of everyday life. And then it all was shattered. In two weeks time, nearly two-million people fled from their lives as they knew it on February 23.

Take a few minutes to think about that. Imagine yourself waking up on February 24 and having to flee your home, your town, your life as you knew it, with little more than the clothes on your back. Think about this when the urge to complain about the price of gas as you fill up your car....the car that will then take you to the store, to your workplace, to the comfort of your home.

Perspective. Perspective can and will make the difference in how your manage your emotions and your stress.

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