by Dr Sam Tan, Senior Clinical Psychologist
As cliché as it may be, we will all experience emotional crises in our lives. It is an inevitable part of our lives. Emotional crises occur when life changes occur in an intensity or frequency that overwhelms our usual abilities to cope. Mood changes such as numbing, depression, anxiety, anger, confusion are common manifestations of an emotional crisis.
What can be done to help us move away from this crisis situation? Here are some simple steps / strategies which might be useful:
Don’t be too eager to solve the problem RIGHT NOW! Because our emotions are running high, we may make poor decisions, which only worsen the crisis situation. Set aside limited time everyday to think about the crisis and try to solve the problem. Once that time is up, go and do something else that helps protect or enhance your mood.
2. Keep a basic routine going. Focus on being consistent with your sleep, your food intake, medication and exercise. Minimize unnecessary chores / tasks so that you have space to recover. Introduce more small pleasant activities to balance out the negative emotions that tend to pervade a crisis situation.
3. Involve yourself with your social network. There is a tendency for us to withdraw when we feel overwhelmed. Think of friends or family members who are supportive (not intrusive) and spend more time with them. You can choose to engage them in problem-solving or just seek out their companionship. This prevents us from feeling that we are suffering on our own.
4. Question your assumptions and perspectives. Ask yourself questions that can help to prevent tunnel vision and catastrophization, which tends to hit us hard in a crisis. The following are useful questions to help to change our views
- “What will I think of this situation in 10 years time?”
- “Which parts of this situation is within my control and which parts are outside my control?”
- “Besides the crisis situation, what else is ‘normal’ or even good in my life now?”
Seek professional help especially if you are still struggle to move out from the crisis state.