Sunday, May 1, 2016

Keep Cool in a Crisis

If you’re going through a crisis, your view of the world probably isn’t too rosy. Sudden, sometimes unexplainable events like loss of a job, death of a loved one, or illness or injury throw people into an emotional abyss.

Much of the stress triggered by a crisis arises from our perception of the event – whether we view a crisis as a challenge or a threat, an opportunity or a ticket to doom. 

Here are some skills that are useful for putting crises into perspective and surviving with minimal damage to emotional health.

  • Visualize the future in positive, healing ways.
  • Learn to physically relax. It’s hard to feel tense when your body is completely relaxed.
  • Be realistic when you describe your situation to yourself and others. Avoid exaggerating or using emotionally charged words like “never,” “always,” or “hate.”
  • Take one day at a time. Set goals you can measure and achieve, and don’t demand too much of yourself.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be bogged down in self-pity, but be willing to accept help from others. Love, friendship, and social support are powerful coping tools for managing stress.
  • Remember, you’re not alone. Whatever you’re going through, others have experienced and survived. You will, too.

Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010.