Societal norms and ‘professionalism’ encourage us to push our emotions aside, or completely avoid them altogether. Whether you’re putting on a front for your peers or evading the complex emotions, stating that “it’s fine” with a smile is a common temporary remedy for sadness. Acknowledging your feelings does not always look like crying or panicking, it is much broader than that. No matter how your sentiments manifest themselves and it is completely valid for you to take the time to acknowledge and process them.
Stop and Breathe
It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by your emotions, especially when you’re trying your best to maintain your composure. Whether you’re having a panic attack or feelings of upset are sneaking up, it’s vital that you take initiative to be mindful of both your breathing and heartbeat. The most common technique is ‘4 7 8 method’. Inhale enough air to fill your lungs & belly through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. With a whooshing sound, exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds. This can help bring you to the present moment, as well as slow your heart rate and calm your emotions. Many smartphones offer free apps that guide you through the process.
Accept and Validate
Dismissing your feelings means that you don’t give yourself the appropriate amount of time to process them, which can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration in the future. It is important to understand your feelings, understand how they make you feel, as well as understand how you can manage them. If feelings aren’t properly validated, we will continue to feel the pain overtime. The best way to validate your feelings is to understand that while you can control your reactions, it’s nearly impossible to dictate the way that something makes you feel. Here are some things you can ask or tell yourself to help validate your feelings: It is normal to feel this way, I am making progress, It’s okay to be hurt by this,
The phrase “you are the product of your environment” applies especially to your mental state. While you are responsible for your emotions, it is also important to take note of the surroundings that can trigger those difficult feelings. It’s difficult to be happy in an uncomfortable setting. The quickest way to change your mood is to change your surroundings. If it’s impossible to physically move, close your eyes and imagine your happy place. Your happy place can be the beach, with your pets, on a plane, or cuddled up on the couch watching your favourite show.
Advocate for Yourself
Sometimes the people we care about say things that hurt our feelings. Though often unintentional, jokes or offhand remarks can leave lasting impressions on people, which can affect the relationship in the long run. While the comment could have been made in jest, there is a valid reason you felt uncomfortable with the statement. Take the time to figure out why you feel that way, and constructively communicate with your peers. Speaking up when you feel uneasy about a statement can be what strengthens the bond. You have set a clear boundary for yourself, and have created a space where others feel comfortable conveying how they feel.