5 Ways to Cope With Emotional Stress

Warning Signs and Risk Factors for Emotional Distress

5 Ways to Cope With Emotional Stress

Learn about the common warning signs and risk factors for emotional distress that children, adults, and first responders often experience.

It is common to feel stress symptoms before or after a crisis. Natural and human-caused disasters can have a devastating impact on people’s lives because they sometimes cause physical injury, damage to property, or the loss of a home or place of employment. Anyone who sees or experiences this can be affected in some way.

Most stress symptoms are temporary and will resolve on their own in a fairly short amount of time. However, for some people, particularly children and teens, these symptoms may last for weeks or even months and may influence their relationships with families and friends.

Common warning signs of emotional distress include:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and things
  • Having low or no energy
  • Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Excessive smoking, drinking, or using drugs, including prescription medications
  • Worrying a lot of the time; feeling guilty but not sure why
  • Thinking of hurting or killing yourself or someone else
  • Having difficulty readjusting to home or work life

For those who have lived through a natural or human-caused disaster, the anniversary of the event may renew feelings of fear, anxiety, and sadness.

Certain sounds, such as sirens, can also trigger emotional distress.

These and other environmental sensations can take people right back to the disaster, or cause them to fear that it’s about to happen again. These “trigger events” can happen at any time.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors for Children and Teens

Children are often the most vulnerable of those impacted during and after a disaster. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a growing body of research has established that children as young as infancy may be affected by events that threaten their safety or the safety of their parents or caregivers.

Disasters are unfamiliar events that are not easily understood by children, who can find them emotionally confusing and frightening. During the time of turmoil, they may be left with a person unfamiliar to them and provided with limited information. Some warning signs of distress in children ages 6 to 11 include:

  • Withdrawing from playgroups and friends
  • Competing more for the attention of parents and teachers
  • Being unwilling to leave home
  • Being less interested in schoolwork
  • Becoming aggressive
  • Having added conflict with peers or parents
  • Having difficulty concentrating

For teens, the impact of disasters varies depending on how much of a disruption the disaster causes their family or community. Teens ages 12 to 18 are ly to have physical complaints when under stress or be less interested in schoolwork, chores, or other responsibilities.

Although some teens may compete vigorously for attention from parents and teachers after a disaster, they also may:

Children and teens most at risk for emotional distress include those who:

  • Survived a previous disaster
  • Experienced temporary living arrangements, loss of personal property, and parental unemployment in a disaster
  • Lost a loved one or friend involved in a disaster

Most young people simply need additional time to experience their world as a secure place again and receive some emotional support to recover from their distress.

The reactions of children and teens to a disaster are strongly influenced by how parents, relatives, teachers, and caregivers respond to the event. They often turn to these individuals for comfort and help.

Teachers and other mentors play an especially important role after a disaster or other crisis by reinforcing normal routines to the extent possible, especially if new routines have to be established.

Access SAMHSA publications on helping youth cope with disaster-related emotional distress:

Learn about coping tips for dealing with natural and human-caused disasters.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors for Adults

Adults impacted by disaster are faced with the difficult challenge of balancing roles as first responders, survivors, and caregivers.

They are often overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of responsibility and immediate task of the crisis response and recovery at hand.

They must also take the time to address their own physical and emotional needs as well as those of their family members and community.

Warnings signs of stress in adults may include:

  • Crying spells or bursts of anger
  • Difficulty eating
  • Losing interest in daily activities
  • Increasing physical distress symptoms such as headaches or stomach pains
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling guilty, helpless, or hopeless
  • Avoiding family and friends

Adults most at risk of experiencing severe emotional stress and post-traumatic stress disorder include those with a history of:

  • Exposure to other traumas, including severe accidents, abuse, assault, combat, or rescue work
  • Chronic medical illness or psychological disorders
  • Chronic poverty, homelessness, or discrimination
  • Recent or subsequent major life stressors or emotional strain, such as single parenting

Adults most at risk for emotional stress include:

  • Those who survived a previous disaster
  • Those who lost a loved one or friend involved in a disaster
  • Those who lack economic stability and/or knowledge of the English language
  • Older adults that may lack mobility or independence

As with children and teens, adults also need time to get back into their normal routine. It is important that people try to accept whatever reactions they have related to the disaster. Take every day one-at-a-time and focus on taking care of your own disaster-related needs and those of your family.

Read SAMHSA’s Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Stress – 2007 for additional information. Learn about coping tips for dealing with natural and human-caused disasters.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors for First Responders and Recovery Workers

First responders and recovery workers include:

  • Fire fighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, 911 operators, and other fire, emergency, and medical personnel
  • Military service men and women
  • Clergy
  • Staff and volunteers serving with disaster-relief organizations, including sheltering, animal rescue, food service, and crisis counseling

First responders and recovery workers are not only physically and emotionally tested during an emergency, but they also may have loved ones in the area for whom they are concerned. They also are often the last to seek help for work-related stress.

Warnings signs of stress in responders and recovery workers may include:

  • Experiencing a rapid heart rate, palpitations, muscle tensions, headaches, and tremors
  • Feeling fear or terror in life-threatening situations or perceived danger, as well as anger and frustration
  • Being disoriented or confused, having difficulty solving problems, and making decisions
  • Engaging in problematic or risky behaviors, such as taking unnecessary risks, failing to use personal protective equipment, or refusing to follow orders or leave the scene
  • Becoming irritable or hostile in social situations, resorting to blaming, and failing to support teammates

First responders and recovery workers most at risk for emotional distress include those who have experienced:

  • Prolonged separation from loved ones
  • Life-threatening situations
  • Previous deployments that caused disruptions in home or work life
  • Trauma from having witnessed or been exposed in some way to difficult stories of survival or loss

For first responders, being prepared for the job and strengthening stress management skills before a disaster assignment is the best protection from stress. Responder stress can be diminished by practicing for the disaster role, developing a personal toolkit of stress management skills, and preparing themselves and loved ones for a disaster.

Get information in SAMHSA publications on helping first responders and recovery workers:

Learn about coping tips for dealing with natural and human-caused disasters.

Intimate Partner or Family Violence

Disasters can be extremely disruptive to individual families and community routines, leading to stress and inviting all types of violent behavior, including intimate partner violence or family violence. Women and girls can be particularly at risk.

Following a disaster, resources for reporting violent crimes may be temporarily suspended or unavailable.

For women and girls who have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or family violence, this can further heighten their sense of isolation and vulnerability.

Before, during, and after a disaster, what may seem fighting between intimate partners or family members may actually be a symptom of a larger pattern of abuse.

Further, during the response and recovery phase after a disaster, the risk for violence against women and girls becomes greater.

These disaster survivors may become displaced from their homes and moved to shelters or temporary housing, where they encounter overcrowded, co-ed living conditions and a lack of security, among other things.

If you or someone you care about is or may be experiencing intimate partner, sexual, or family abuse or violence, call the Disaster Distress Helpline. Other resources are also available:

Источник: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline/warning-signs-risk-factors

10 Ways to Boost Your Emotional Health

5 Ways to Cope With Emotional Stress

Taking care of your emotional health is as important as taking care of your physical body. If your emotional health is balance, you may experience high blood pressure, ulcers, chest pain, or a host of other physical symptoms.

When you feel good about yourself, it's much easier to cope with life's little ups and downs as well as bigger events, such as divorce or a death, says Jeff Gardere, PhD, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City.

Here are 10 ways you can practice better stress management and boost your self-esteem. These strategies will help you stay resilient through everyday stresses and when larger personal issues arise.

1. Grow Your Circle of Friends to Expand Your Support System

«It's very important that you have a support group of friends and family,» Dr. Gardere says. «You need people whom you can talk to about your problems — people who will listen to you when you need to get things off your chest — so that you know you're not alone in whatever it is.»

2. Learn More to Lessen the Fear of the Unknown

«Knowledge is power,» Gardere says. If you have a problem, learn whatever you can about the issue or the health condition you're facing. The more you know, the less you will fear what might happen, Gardere says.

3. Get Moving to Improve Mood and Lessen Anxiety

Any form of exercise that you enjoy will do. «Regular exercise works as a good partner for people who are on medication,» Gardere says. Exercise also works well for people who have mild or moderate depression and don't need to be on medication. Think of it as a great tool for stress management.

4. Have Sex to Build Confidence and Self-Worth

Intimacy within a committed relationship has all sorts of emotional benefits — it can help make you feel good about yourself and boost self-esteem. «Figure out a schedule that works for you and your trusted partner — that could be once a week or three times a week or twice a month,» Gardere says.

5. Develop a Passion by Investing Time in a New Hobby

Everyone should have at least one hobby, Gardere says, whether it's taking care of plants, collecting antiques, or listening to music. You should do something that brings you some real joy — a passion that's all yours and that no one can take from you. Having a hobby and taking pride in it is a great way to boost self-esteem.

6. Eat and Drink Healthfully and in Moderation

Alcohol can be a good stress reducer, but you must indulge in extreme moderation, Gardere says. The same advice applies to indulging in food. You can eat what you want and enjoy it as long as you eat smaller portions and get regular exercise, he says. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your physical and your emotional health.

7. Meditate or Practice Yoga to Relieve Stress

These types of activities are effective for stress management. Meditation is a focused form of guided thought. Yoga and tai chi, while movement-oriented, are also proven stress busters.

Other stress-reducing techniques include deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. If you're unsure of how to get started, take a class and learn how to practice on your own for 30 minutes, three times a week.

8. Manage Your Time by Setting Weekly Goals

If you make a schedule and set goals for yourself for the week, «you'll be more on top of your days, and when you're more on top of your days, you're more on top of your life,» Gardere says. As you cross off the tasks on your to-do list, you will feel a sense of accomplishment which will help reduce stress, he adds.

9. Get Enough Sleep to Maintain Energy and Increase Productivity

«People who get a good night's sleep wake up with more energy and tend to be more productive,» Gardere says. If you are overly tired, every task and responsibility can seem exaggerated, and even small problems will feel big ones.

10. Learn to Say No and Refrain From Overextending Yourself

If you try to do more than you can handle, you will only end up frustrated and stressed out. If someone asks you to do something you absolutely can't do, say no. At the very least, ask for help. And if you can't do it, explain why kindly but firmly.

Nurturing your mind is as important as nurturing your body, and it will make you better able to handle whatever life throws at you. However, if your emotional problems are serious and you can't seem to shake them yourself, or if you're having issues with anxiety or depression, it's very important that you see a mental health professional and get help, Gardere says.

Источник: https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/10-ways-to-boost-emotional-health.aspx

6 Simple Ways to Deal With Emotional Stress

5 Ways to Cope With Emotional Stress

Stresses commonly faced nowadays include pressure at work, studies, health issues, social situations, finances, future planning, and career choices among others.

Stress is emotional tension or a type of mental distress that many of us experience in our modern day, hectic lives. However, according to experts, not all stress results from negative experiences.

Occasionally, even good news may lead to unexpected anxiety and stress as a result of our overthinking about the outcome of such news.

What’s more, in small doses, stress can even help us perform better and get things done on time; but certain types of stress can also bring about life-threatening issues.

Emotional stress itself can be difficult to deal with and can make sufferers feel miserable, pained, and uncomfortable — and it’s a type of stress that offers no particular benefits.

What Causes Emotional Stress?

Whatever type of stress you’re dealing with, the only way you can effectively control it is by first determining the root cause. Identifying the root cause of your stress is the first obstacle that needs to be overcome when dealing with emotional stress.

Some of the most common causes are interpersonal relationships. Emotional stress brought about by a relationship creates strong internal emotional feelings in its victims and has a severe impact on their lives.

While a happy and healthy relationship keeps everyone happy and hopeful, dysfunctional relationships can wreak havoc on the emotions of those involved.

Apart from personal relationships, things workplace tension, financial problems, and career issues can also contribute to emotional stress.

Dealing with Emotional Stress:

Though recovering from a stressful situation may not be easy, emotional stress can certainly be managed and reduced. Here are a few ways that can help you effectively cope with emotional stress:

  1. Accept Things for What They Are: Thinking you can control everything around you is unrealistic and only leads to more stress. Accept the fact that things don’t always go as planned, that there are certain situations over which you have no control. Learning to accept certain things for what they are is vital to reducing emotional stress levels.
  2. Distract Yourself from Emotional Pain: Many people advocate sharing painful and unpleasant experiences as a way of coping with emotional pain – and most of us have done so with mixed results. To some extent, this advice holds true as bottling up emotions can have serious consequences on a person’s mental, and sometimes even physical, health. However, studies have shown that distracting yourself from emotional pain and engaging in emotionally healthier activities is a better way of dealing with emotional stress. You can go to the movies, hit the gym, or even take a vacation – anything that distracts you from your emotional pain will help you feel better.
  3. Take Up Meditation: Meditation is a great way to deal with emotional stress. In fact, it can help you recover from a variety of stress-related issues. Meditation helps in eliminating emotional tension and diverts your thoughts towards better alternatives. Over time, regular meditation can even improve your focus and boost your self-confidence.
  4. Look for Positivity: Oftentimes, being surrounded by the wrong company or being in a negative environment can contribute to emotional stress, rather than help you manage it. The environment in which you live has a great deal of influence over your personal stress levels, so living in a positive environment is paramount. When dealing with emotional stress, it’s imperative that you immerse yourself in a positive environment and surround yourself with people who bring positivity in your life and make you feel good. Depressing and pessimistic people can only add to your pain – avoid interacting with negative people as much as possible.
  5. Diet and Exercise: Something as simple as a balanced diet can also contribute to reducing stress levels. At the very least, don’t skip meals. While it’s understandable that food would be one of the last things on your mind during a stressful time, an empty stomach can never make you feel good. It’s also worth remembering that a fit body means a fit mind. Studies have shown that regular, light to moderate exercise helps keep stress levels low.
  6. Seek Professional Guidance: If you feel that it might help, consider visiting a professional therapist or counselor. Many times, if you feel you’re overwhelmed or that things are only getting worse, a professionally trained therapist or counselor can help you find and overcome the root cause of all your stress.

Emotional stress, regardless of the cause, is something that almost everyone faces at some point in their life. Following the above tips can help you cope with and overcome emotional stress, but ultimately, it’s you who’s in control of your own life and it’s up to you to take those first steps toward a new, stress-free life.

Источник: https://pacificsolstice.com/blog/6-simple-ways-to-deal-with-emotional-stress

Dealing With Difficult Emotions

5 Ways to Cope With Emotional Stress

Emotions (feelings) are a normal and important part of our lives.

Some emotions are positive. Think of happiness, joy, interest, curiosity, excitement, gratitude, love, and contentment. These positive emotions feel good. Negative emotions — sadness, anger, loneliness, jealousy, self-criticism, fear, or rejection — can be difficult, even painful at times.

That's especially true when we feel a negative emotion too often, too strongly, or we dwell on it too long.

Negative emotions are impossible to avoid, though. Everyone feels them from time to time. They may be difficult, but we can learn to handle them.

Here are three steps that can help you handle negative emotions.

Step 1: Identify the Emotion

Learning to notice and identify your feelings takes practice. In addition to focusing on your feelings, check in with your body, too. You may feel body sensations with certain emotions — perhaps your face gets hot, for example, or your muscles tense.

  • Be aware of how you feel. When you have a negative emotion, such as anger, try to name what you're feeling. For example:

    That guy Ian in my study group makes me so mad!

    I get so jealous when I see that girl/guy with my ex.
    I feel afraid whenever I have to walk past those bullies.

  • Don't hide how you feel from yourself. You might not want to broadcast your feelings to other people ( your ex, for example, or that guy in your study group who is making you mad). But don't suppress your feelings entirely. Simply naming the feeling is a lot better than pretending not to have it — or exploding without thinking.
  • Know why you feel the way you do. Figure out what happened that got you feeling the way you do. For example:

    Whenever we do group projects, Ian finds a way to take all the credit for other people's work.

    Our teacher thinks Ian's the star of the team, even though he never has his own ideas.
    When I see my ex flirting with other people, it reminds me that I still have feelings for him/her.
    Even though the bullies don't pick on me, I see what they do to other people and it worries me.

  • Don't blame. Being able to recognize and explain your emotions isn't the same as blaming someone or something for the way you feel. Your ex probably isn't seeing someone new as a way to get back at you, and the guy who takes credit for your work might not even realize what he is doing. How you feel when these things happen comes from inside you. Your feelings are there for a reason — to help you make sense of what's going on.
  • Accept all your emotions as natural and understandable. Don't judge yourself for the emotions you feel. It's normal to feel them. Acknowledging how you feel can help you move on, so don't be hard on yourself.

Step 2: Take Action

Once you've processed what you're feeling, you can decide if you need to express your emotion. Sometimes it's enough to just realize how you feel, but other times you'll want to do something to feel better.

  • Think about the best way to express your emotion. Is this a time when you need to gently confront someone else? Talk over what you're feeling with a friend? Or work off the feeling by going for a run? For example:

    It won't solve anything to show my anger to Ian — it may even make him feel more superior! But my feelings tell me that I need to avoid getting in another situation where he takes control over a project.

    I'll hold my head high around my ex, then I'll put on some sad songs and have a good cry in my room to help me release my feelings and eventually let go.
    My fear of being around those bullies is a sign that they have gone too far. Perhaps I should talk about what's going on with a school counselor.

  • Learn how to change your mood. At a certain point, you'll want to shift from a negative mood into a positive one. Otherwise your thinking may get stuck on how bad things are, and that can drag you down into feeling worse. Try doing things that make you happy, even if you don't feel it at the time. For example, you might not be in the mood to go out after a breakup, but going for a walk or watching a funny movie with friends can lift you that negative space.
  • Build positive emotions. Positive feelings create a sense of happiness and well being. Make it a habit to notice and focus on what's good in your life — even the little things, the praise your dad gave you for fixing his bookshelves or how great the salad you made for lunch tastes. Noticing the good things even when you're feeling bad can help you shift the emotional balance from negative to positive.
  • Seek support. Talk about how you're feeling with a parent, trusted adult, or a friend. They can help you explore your emotions and give you a fresh way of thinking about things. And nothing helps you feel more understood and cared for than the support of someone who loves you for who you are.
  • Exercise. Physical activity helps the brain produce natural chemicals that promote a positive mood. Exercise also can release stress buildup and help you from staying stuck on negative feelings.

Step 3: Get Help With Difficult Emotions

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can't shake a tough emotion. If you find yourself stuck in feelings of sadness or worry for more than a couple of weeks, or if you feel so upset that you think you might hurt yourself or other people, you may need extra help.

Talk to a school counselor, parent, trusted adult, or therapist. Counselors and therapists are trained to teach people how to break negative emotions. They can provide lots of tips and ideas that will help you feel better.

Источник: https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/stressful-feelings.html

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