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Emotionally Stressed!?Learn how to deal with it
« on: Jul 28, 2011, 02:33 PM »
Relationships aren't the only cause of emotional stress, however. A financial crises, an unpleasant work environment, or a host of other stressors can cause emotional stress, which sometimes tempts us toward unhealthy coping behaviours in order to escape the pain, especially when the situations seem hopeless.
Fortunately, while you can't always fix these situations overnight, you can lessen the emotional stress you feel, and the emotional toll this stress takes on you. Here are some exercises you can try to effectively cope with emotional stress:

Feel The Stress Physically
When we feel emotional stress, it's also often experienced as physical pain: a 'heavy' feeling in the chest, an unsettled feeling in the stomach, a dull headache. It's common to try to escape these feelings, but it can actually be helpful to go deeper into the experience and use mindfulness to really notice where these emotional responses are felt physically. Some people notice that the pain seems more intense before dissipating, but then they feel the emotional and physical pain is lessened. What happens when you try it?

Distract Yourself
It used to be believed that if we didn't express every emotion we felt (or at least the big ones), they would show themselves in other ways. In some ways, this is true--there are benefits to examining our emotional states to learn from what our emotions are trying to tell us, and 'stuffing our emotions' in unhealthy ways (like drinking alcohol for the purpose of muting emotional pain) can bring other problems. However, it's also been discovered that distracting oneself from emotional pain with emotionally healthy alternatives--a feel-good movie, fun activities with friends, or a satisfying mental challenge, for example--can lessen emotional pain and help us feel better.

Block Off Some Time
If you find that emotional stress and ruminations are creeping into your awareness quite a bit, and distraction doesn't work, try scheduling some time--an hour a day, perhaps--where you allow yourself to think about your situation fully and mull over solutions, concoct hypothetical possibilities, replay upsetting exchanges, or whatever you feel the emotional urge to do. ( Journalling is a great technique to try here, especially if it's done as both an exploration of your inner emotional world and an exploration of potential solutions.) Talk to your friends about the problem, if you'd like. Fully immerse yourself. And then try some healthy distractions. This technique works well for two reasons:
1. If you really have the urge to obsess, this allows you to satisfy that craving in a limited context.
2. You may find yourself more relaxed the rest of the day because you know that there will be a time to focus on your emotional situation; that time is just later.

Practice Meditation
Meditation is very helpful for dealing with a variety of stressors, and emotional stress is definitely in the category of stressors that meditation helps with. Meditation allows you to take a break from rumination by actively redirecting your thoughts, and provides practice in choosing thoughts, which can help eliminate some emotional stress in the long term. Try a few meditation techniques today.

Talk To a Therapist
If you find your level of emotional stress interfering with your daily activities or threatening your well-being in other ways, you may consider seeing a therapist for help working through emotional issues. That's what they're there for. Whatever the cause of your emotional stress, you can work toward lessening and managing it, and feeling better in the process, without losing the 'messages' that your emotions are bringing you.
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Emotionally Stressed!?Learn how to deal with it
« on: Jul 28, 2011, 02:33 PM »