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Friday, May 31, 2013

Learning to Stay Calm During Uncertain Times: Part 2: Tips On How You Can Help Yourself

In my prior blog article,  Learning to Stay Calm During Uncertain Times: Part 1, I introduced the idea that uncertainty, at one time or another, is a common experience for most people.  We can't avoid times of uncertainty, but we can learn how to cope with these difficult times.

So, I'd like to focus on the kinds of things you can do to get through uncertain times, and then in my next blog article, I'll discuss how I work with psychotherapy clients, who are going through difficult times, when they come to see me in my psychotherapy private practice in NYC.

What Can You Do to Help Yourself During Uncertain Times?

Stay in Contact With Your Emotional Support Network During Uncertain Times
During times of uncertainty, it's very important that you stay in contact with your emotional support network.  This is not the time to isolate.  Friends and family, who are emotionally supportive, can help you during difficult times, not only by being available to see you and talk to you, but also to remind you that you've gotten through difficult times before and, chances are, you'll get through this stressful time as well.

Stay in Contact With Your Emotional Support Network During Stressful Times
On the surface, this might sound simplistic, but looking beyond the surface, it's often true that, when people are going through a lot of stress and they're caught up in their worries, they forget just how resilient and resourceful they really are.

It often takes people who know you well, but who aren't directly involved in the stressful situation, to remind you of your strengths.  This isn't just a matter of cheer leading.  It's really about these loved ones helping you to reconnect with your core strengths, which you can lose touch with when you're filled with worry during uncertain times.

Take Extra Care of Yourself During Uncertain Times
I can't stress this enough:  It's important for you to take extra care of yourself during stressful times.  Many people do just the opposite, and this makes a difficult time even worse.

Take Extra Care of Yourself During Uncertain Times
Getting enough sleep, eating well, engaging in exercise that's right for you, meditating, and finding other healthy ways to take care of yourself is essential to getting through a difficult time.

Also see my blog articles:  
Staying Emotionally Grounded During Difficult Times
Mind-Body Connection: Responding Instead of Reacting to Stress

Reconnect With Your Core Emotional Strengths:  What Did You Do When You Were Faced With Challenges in the Past?
It can be very helpful to remember a time that was difficult from the past and to ask yourself how you were able to get through that time.  Even if your current problem is very different from your past problem, there are often core strengths that you can call on within yourself that you might not be in touch with now.

What Worked For You in the Past When You Were Faced With Challenges?
For instance, maybe, in the past, you were able to step outside your problem and be more objective about it.  Maybe this enabled you to think of new possibilities or possible solutions that you couldn't see when you were immersed in your subjective experience of the problem.  Maybe it also enabled you to objectively assess that the odds of the worst case scenario occurring were very low, and this provided you with a sense of relief.

Think of Someone You Admire:  What Would He or She Do?
Sometimes, no matter how much you try, you might not be able to get in touch with your own strengths.  You can get caught up in a cycle of negative thought patterns that rob you of self confidence.

But, taking yourself out of the situation completely and thinking about someone else that you know and admire, you can begin to imagine what that person might do with a similar problem.  This could be a friend, a family member, a mentor, or even someone that you haven't been in touch with for a long time, like your high school coach.


Think of Someone That You Admire: What Would She or He Do?
It doesn't matter if this person isn't in your life any more.  In fact, it doesn't even have to be someone that you know.  If you can't imagine anyone you know handling the situation, you can imagine someone that you don't know personally.  So, it can a character from a movie, TV program, play or book that you admire and that you think would be a good role model for you with regard to the particular situation that you're dealing with at the time.

What matters is your ability to use your imagination in a positive way to help you tune into the qualities that you like in this person and to imagine yourself having these qualities as well.

Imagination is Very Powerful in Both Positive and Negative Ways
Just think about how your imagination can take you deeper into worry and self doubt, even when there's not much objective evidence for what you're imagining.

So, rather than using your imagination to create worst case scenarios, why not use your imagination to connect with someone or something that will help you?  It can be just as powerful and lead you out of your sense of worry and stagnation.

Also, see my blog article:
Using Your Imagination as a Powerful Tool For Change

I will discuss this further in my next blog article as well as how I help clients in my psychotherapy practice in NYC learn to stay calm during stressful, uncertain times.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me:  josephineolivia@aol.com


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