Life consistently presents us with challenges and changes and at times this can lead to us feeling stressed. Planning how to manage and cope in various life situations, and finding out which coping skills work best for you, is the key to succeeding with stress rather then experiencing distress.
Ideas For Coping with Acute Emotional Distress
1. Use of distraction: the aim of this is to limit the time you spend in contact with the emotional stimuli, the things that are causing you to feel emotional. The stimuli could be anything from another person to the thoughts that you are having. Distraction involves doing something else to absorb your attention.
2. Imagery: think of safe and soothing images. This involves imagining images that make you feel good, it may be a favorite place, person, pet or scenes from nature.
3. Relaxation: learn a simple technique like using peripheral vision to induce relaxation. Peripheral vision is effective at switching on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system responsible for making us feel calm. It's not possible to feel anxious or distressed whilst fully relaxed in peripheral vision.
4. One thing in the moment: as adults we tend to spend much of our time stuck contemplating what went wrong in the past or what may go wrong in the future. Try and just focus on the moment. Perhaps this may involve thinking something like I'm in my house in my favorite chair, I'm warm and comfortable and I have a good book to read'.
5. Exercise: physical activity can help to disperse the chemicals released in your body by the stress response. It also releases feel good chemicals known as endorphins.
6. Sooth yourself: do something to nurture your 5 senses. Be kind and gentle to yourself.