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Friday, September 25, 2009

3 Steps to Alleviating Emotional Pain


7 Tishrei 5770

Readers, I'm aware of some very sad people facing extremely difficult times and situations. The Jewish High Holiday and pending Winter Holiday seasons seem to highlight the conflict with expectations for feeling happiness versus facing gut-punching adversity.

Read on to alleviate your emotional pain in 3 steps, with a reprint of an essay I did at a long-ago blog (the URL is now inactive): Name the Feeling, Converse about it and ZIP Your Lips. This is only a starting point to a more pleasant outcome:

Some of my blog and book readers plus my Self-Help Coaching clients ask me for a quick explanation of my coping mechanisms. I can answer academically, but the true, better answer comes with your personal experience at coping. A person growing in coping competence needs to know, in their gut, what it feels like to fail to cope and what it feels like to succeed at coping. And they need to admit those feelings to themselves and to critically important others in their life.

Name your feeling (including the ugly, embarrassing ones) or the feeling of the distressed person speaking with you. That makes it more “real.” Now you can deal with it.

Converse about the feeling(s) with the caring person(s) involved in your life. Seek sensible strategies for managing the situation before you and/or the emotions popping up with that situation. Your increasing Self-Awareness can clue you in to your gut reactions (your completely honest initial response to anything at all). Go with your gut! If the decision you’ve made feels right, your tummy will feel calm and spread calmness throughout your body. If the decision is NOT good for you, you’ll feel the trouble. Cancel THAT decision!

When you’re dialoguing about conflicting, mysterious emotions, don’t insult yourself or anyone else by remarking “That’s not true!” or “No, you don’t know what you’re talking about (see my book’s opening remarks for a superb example about that problem).” It’s a brutal response and the victim of the insult will probably stop sharing honest thoughts with you, lie to you, and suffer more because the conversation died at birth. React with Respect (genuine respect). That keeps the dialogue going (plus the relationship!) and the solution soon to follow.

Zip your lips. The human brain needs an editor. Not all thoughts deserve to be said aloud. Plan your remarks. Learn to be silent as you consider your next sentence. See above paragraph ;^ )

Your relationships will improve and sweeten as everyone around you learns that you embrace them with honesty and acceptance. Some folks will need more time than others to become comfortable with the new you. Give them the time they need.

Emotional Competencies (Daniel Goleman model)
Self Awareness: Being able to read your own emotions and to let your gut reactions guide your decision making.

Self Management: controlling your impulses no matter the problem before you
Social Awareness: reacting to other people's emotions with respect (and NOT telling them that their thoughts or feelings are irrelevant) so that they grow in self-respect, and benefiting from social networks
Relationship Management

(Learn more about Emotional Intelligence HERE)

Want to feel even stronger? Mental health therapists recommend EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.

Yocheved Golani
Coping with a Medical Crisis?
Make the Changes You Need in Your Life

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