Michelle Wilson, wellness program manager
Managing difficult emotions
Anxiety, confusion, and fear are natural responses during challenging times. We may find ourselves having trouble sleeping which makes it harder to enjoy our lives during the day. Sometimes we choose unhealthy behaviors, like eating sugary food, as we try to comfort ourselves with things that bring a temporary feeling of relief from our thoughts and feelings. The more we manage our thoughts and feelings, the more we are able to maintain our health and well-being.
Here are a few ideas to help us all manage our feelings when times are challenging:
Limit the amount of information you take in. With all that is happening in the world every day, it may be helpful to watch the news only once a day or read only a few articles a day. Too much information can create unnecessary stress. Focus on things you can control and let go of things that are not in your control.
When you do feel anxious or afraid, take a few deep breaths. When we breathe deeply and slowly, our brains slow down our thoughts and send messages to our bodies to relax. This is a simple activity we can all do any time.
Talking or writing about whatever is on our mind helps us release tension. We often hold tension in our bodies, and if this goes on too long it can lead to health issues. Sharing our thoughts and feelings can support us in thinking more clearly. Find someone you trust to talk with, or write your thoughts and feelings in a journal or notebook. Research shows that doing this for even a few minutes a day can help support our health and well-being by making us more able to cope with challenges.
Try a mindfulness class. We offer classes weekly, and we have short audio recordings of simple mindfulness practices that you can listen to any time. (See our Audio Library section on the main Wellness page.)
Tip: Try “box breathing” which is a simple way to relax your mind and body in less than a minute. Breathe in as you slowly count to 4, then hold the breath as you count to 4. Breathe out as you slowly count to 4, then hold your breath again as you count to 4. Do this a few times in a row and notice if it helps you feel more relaxed and at ease.