There is so much going on around the world lately — natural disasters, an ongoing global pandemic, wars, rumors of wars, job loss, and inflation, among others. On top of those, you also have personal problems to deal with. At times, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by these circumstances, no matter how hard you try to maintain a positive outlook. Here are some things you can do when you feel like you’re spiraling.
Don’t ignore what you feel
When everything around you is too much to handle, always remember that your feelings are valid. Expressing your emotions help give clarity so you can avoid making rash decisions or jumping to conclusions. Never think that exhibiting vulnerability shows weakness.
Reframe your thoughts
Cognitive reframing is all about turning negative thoughts into positive ones. Doing this helps you see things or situations with less distorted thinking. It also changes your behavior, making you more relaxed and in tune with your mind.
You can follow Emotional Intelligence (EI) Executive Coach Svetlana Whitener’s ‘traffic lights‘ method to learn how to reframe your thoughts.
In the ‘traffic lights’ method, you identify your feelings and understand the emotions behind them and then take action. Here’s how it works:
- Red light: Identify the negative emotion you’re feeling.
- Yellow light: Pinpoint what triggered the feeling, then address it by reframing your response, choosing an alternative, positive response.
- Green light: Let yourself feel and enjoy the positive emotion.
This exercise will help you express yourself positively and increase your optimism.
Listen to soul-soothing music
While listening to music is already a habit for many, it’s a proven way to get your mind off surging emotions or stress as well. Boost your mood by playing soft music or creating a playlist full of your favorite bops! Before you know it, that heavy feeling is slowly lifted off your chest.
Take a deep breath
Okay, this tip may sound very cliché, but it works. Clinical neuropsychologist Kristoffer Rhoads emphasizes, “When you’re stressed or anxious, your breathing tends to be irregular and shallow.” Also called diaphragmatic breathing, deep breathing is a good way to calm your nerves by allowing more air into your body.
All you have to do is close your eyes, concentrate on breathing from the stomach, then take longer breaths while pushing your tummy out as you inhale. You may not get it right on the first try, but don’t worry because it gets better with more practice. Try it with this video:
Talk to your loved ones or friends
Sometimes, all we need is someone who’ll listen to everything we have to say without judgment or prejudice. If you have friends or family that you can trust, talking to them about things bothering you will go a long way. Add your favorite snacks or drinks to lighten the mood a bit! Great food and conversations always make a perfect combo.
Go for a short walk
Walking gives you time to think and process your emotions. It also helps if your surroundings are pedestrian-friendly and peaceful. Don’t think about speed or accomplishing thousands of steps in one round — take it one step at a time.
Grab a pen and write it down
There’s a reason why journaling is recommended by so many therapists. Writing down your thoughts fosters clarity and a healthier outlet to de-stress. You can write daily or whenever you’re feeling down. Treat your blank notebook as a space for self-growth, optimism, and recognizing negative thoughts.
Be kinder to yourself
One can agree that we are often the harshest critics of ourselves. But you also have to remember that you’re human, a multifaceted individual. There are times you’ll stumble or make wrong decisions, but it doesn’t always mean you’re a bad person. Give yourself more room to breathe and remember that you’re a work in progress — just like everyone else.