What's in Your Emotional First Aid Kit?
I'll bet, like most people, that you've got a cupboard or a drawer where you keep all the things you need for health emergencies - plasters, painkillers, cough syrup, bandages, and so on. You're ready to deal with cuts, bumps, bruises, rashes, headaches, temperatures and more. You've probably got your doctor's number ready in your phone, just in case.
But what do you have ready for an emotional emergency?
It's so weird that we are prepared for most minor health problems and mishaps - especially since they are usually quite rare - but when the poop hits the fan emotionally, we often find ourselves at a loss. We don't know what to do with our emotions, so we just put up with them, wait uselessly for them to pass, or collapse under them. You might feel this way too - maybe you might have a friend you usually call - or you might feel that you don't want to burden other people with your emotions.
Perhaps you feel like your emotions are having you - they are in control and you are helplessly in their power.
You can't help how you feel, right?
So if that's true, and you feel bad, what choice do you have? Just suffer? Wait until it feels better (how long will that take?).
Or - Option B - you can do something about it and feel better now.
I know, believe me, that when you feel like crap, the last thing you want to do is, well, anything. But - I also know that taking control of your emotional state is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself. And you'll be happy to hear that it doesn't take a lot of effort either.
Climbing the ladder from despair to happiness doesn't have to be done in one go, but gently and easily, rung by rung.
I'm not talking about popping pills or artificial quick fixes here - I'm talking about making a practical list of easy, simple actions you can take to start feeling better straight away.
Everyone's list is different - and that's the fun part.
So, for example, while your friend's list might have 'go for a run' on it - that idea might fill you with horror. That's totally fine. We're not looking for things that you 'should' do - in fact that defeats the purpose. We're looking for anything that has the power to lift your spirits, to shift your emotional state, even if just a little bit.
We're looking for that first rung.
It's got to be something that appeals to you personally - and it's got to be realistic. You're not likely to have the ability to instantly find yourself on a sun-drenched beach - but maybe looking at pictures of a dream holiday destination might feel inspiring to you? I once had a client who would keep a picture of the Taj Mahal close by, it felt so good to look at it.
Choose things that are easy for you to do - it could be something as simple as taking a glass of water, taking ten conscious, cleansing breaths, having a nap (not to be underestimated, this one!).
What about a short, guided meditation? Check out my collection of 5-minute meditations for instant relief here.
Another really powerful way of quickly shifting emotional states is EFT (tapping) - you can check it out here.
Maybe you have an awesome, never-fails song that you could listen to, or a favourite movie to snuggle up to. You might have a beloved cat or dog to pet (studies show that petting animals is a fantastic stress reducer and a great way to lower blood pressure) - but if not, could you watch some funny animal videos online? Make a painting? Cook your favourite meal? Bake a cake?
You might not be able to get to a Reiki or Hypnotherapy session immediately - but you feel an immediate sense of relief when you make the appointment, don't you?
Make a list of 10 things that you know will work for you - and don't worry if your list is weird - it's yours, no-one else's. Once you've made it, decorate it and pin it to your fridge, or mirror or anywhere you often look. Make sure that you always have it to hand and then, when the blues strike, pick your favourite and do it. See the instant results and feel even better, knowing that you did that - you made yourself better.
It doesn't mean that you'll never feel bad again, it means that when you experience negative emotions, you get to decide how you'll get past them, how you'll process them and when you'll start to feel good again. You'll no longer feel a slave to your emotions - you'll begin to recognise them for what they are - just weather. And now you'll have an umbrella to hand.
For more inspiration on things to add to your list, read this.
Tend the body. Free the mind. Heal the soul.