6 Tips for Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty
By Pamela King
Emotions are an aspect of thriving. They help us attune to what is right and what is wrong. The key to thriving is not just to feel the emotions, but respond to these emotions wisely. In these uncertain and trying times, take a moment to reflect on and manage your emotions. Are you going through loss, grief, or pain? Big emotions are important signals that deserve our attention. Just like the warning lights on a car, they indicate that something is very, very wrong and requires urgent attention. Personally and collectively, we need to:
1. Come to a Complete Stop
At a time like this, when the world and our hearts seem to be on fire or perhaps in a meltdown, it’s crucial to pause. Pause from your typical lane of activity, and attune to the range and magnitude of feelings you are experiencing.
2. Look Under the Hood
Take some time to reflect, journal, and pray through what is the meaning behind these emotions. Why the anger? Why the fear? What do these emotions say about your most deeply held beliefs and values? What are you lamenting?
3. Get Help
I don’t know about you but I’m not so handy with cars, so I have to call for help. Do the same with your emotions. Share with a family member, trusted elder, a friend, a counselor, coach, or pastor. You don’t have to deal with these feelings alone. Make space among your inner circle to process this.
Time start fixing what was causing the root of the problem. What needs to happen so you can function well again? Do you need to reconsider your assumptions? Your beliefs? Do you need to readjust your navigation device or your engine?
5. Back on the Road
Whether you made a short or a long term adjustment, get back on the road and keep moving. Activate relationships, your skills, your resources to make a difference and to be more aligned with your values and beliefs. This may not be a long term solution, but what do you need to do? What do you need to learn? How can you make a difference for justice now?
6. Tune Up
Make sure you keep up with maintenance. Keep reading the indicator lights of feelings, and consult the owner’s manual. Seek professional guidance. Just as fine tuned cars run well, make sure that your beliefs, emotions, and actions are finely tuned.
About the Author
Dr. Pamela Ebstyne King is the Peter L. Benson Associate Professor of Applied Developmental Science at the Thrive Center in the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. Her primary academic interests are applied research at the intersection of human thriving and spiritual development. She combines psychology, theology, and community engagement to further understand what enable youth to thrive. Learn more about Dr. King’s work.
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