A client once asked me to fix the emotional pain that she was experiencing. She was determined to get over her cheating spouse, move on and meet someone else. She asked what she should be doing to get over the emotional pain as quickly as possible. She reported that she still loved her spouse, but that it was time to move on and wanted to know how to stop loving him. Well, there is no magic wand for emotional pain. There are no directional books on how to skip the emotional pain, the only way it through it.
The pain is there no matter how you cope with it. It will not just disappear. Some people medicate emotional pain by drinking too much, taking drugs, misusing prescription drugs or quickly jumping into a new romantic relationship in an attempt to numb the pain. In the end, the emotional pain is there waiting for them. The best way is to find things that help you through the pain without being destructive to yourself. Some people journal, some meditate, some run, some knit, some pray, some take karate classes….what is it for you? Is it surrounding yourself with people who will support you, allow you to vent yet not judge you for your decisions in the end? Is it taking long walks as you process your feelings?
As time passes, so will the emotional pain. Things will become clearer and you will know what the next step is for you. While feeling emotionally distressed, do not make hasty decisions, allow yourself time to process and become balanced. If you are grieving the end of a relationship, realize that you will need to work through the stages of grief. It will not just disappear. You cannot just shut off your emotions. If you realize that the emotional roller coaster is too much to work through on your own, seek out a licensed therapist in your area to help guide you through the pain and establish healthy coping skills as you go through this journey.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from infidelity, intimacy anorexia, sex addiction and intimacy deprivation. Ingela Edwards Counseling serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and Sherman area.
Life sometimes feels like it beats us up. Maybe we struggle with stress, depression or people who have hurt us. Maybe we carry unresolved grief, resentment and disappointments. We may not have fulfilled dreams that we had, advanced in careers like we planned or we may feel unappreciated in our relationships. That can change if you choose to change it. It could be that that your thinking has become stuck on focusing on all the negatives in your life; it could be that your self-esteem has taken such a hit that you no longer have faith in your own capabilities.
Counseling can help steer you in the right direction, but it will not fix the situation unless you are willing to fight for yourself. Counseling is not a passive magic pill that is popped once a week and then not looked at again until it is time for the next session. Personal empowerment takes a lot of active work on a daily basis.
Your thoughts lead to your feelings, which in turn, lead to actions. Start your personal empowerment journey by writing the messages that you “hear” in your mind about yourself. Do you affirm yourself or do you have a tendency to keep your focus on what you did not do right? If you find that your focus is primarily on negativity towards yourself, make an effort to change your thinking towards the things that you are doing right. Once you decide to give up on the self-defeating negativity, decide to focus on what you are doing right and keeping yourself accountable for the “stinking thinking” and negative thoughts that come to your mind. You can learn to retrain your brain to challenge the self-destructive thinking.
You could use a rubber band that you wear on your wrist. Anytime you catch yourself dwelling on negativity towards yourself, snap the rubber band and remind yourself to focus on something positive, say a prayer or recite a poem to distract your brain from dwelling on negativity, self-comparison or perfectionistic tendencies.
Another aspect that has worked for many is to write down affirmations. Keep a journal of things that you are proud of, how you handled a difficult situation, how you helped your neighbor, and things that you like about yourself. Then end the day by writing a gratitude list. Use your gratitude journal to write down things that you are grateful for. Maybe it was the kind smile from a stranger at the grocery store, maybe it is that you are grateful to be healthy or that the sun was shining all day. Add to your list daily.
As your focus changes to what positive qualities you have, your self-esteem improves. Over time, you feed into your self-esteem and learn to trust yourself to make good decisions. Personal empowerment helps in tackling the things that you may want to change in your life- whether that is to seek a promotion, set boundaries or ending a bad relationship.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. Ingela Edwards Counseling serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and Sherman area.
When faced with emotional distress, what do you do to cope with those feelings in a healthy manner? Most likely, you may want a quick fix for the emotional pain, but there is no such thing. Sometimes people may drink alcohol, engage in process addictions or take pills to numb the emotional pain
only to realize that the pain is still there waiting for you until you decide to work your way through it.
When faced with emotional distress, you need to have an
“emergency tool kit” available with potential coping skills to help you manage through the emotional turmoil. Your coping skills may be quite different from other people’s coping skills as this tends to be very individualized. You may find comfort in painting a representation of your thoughts and feelings on a canvas. You may find comfort in pouring out your thoughts and feelings on the pages of a journal. You may find solace in walking- realizing that when in distress, walking provides you with a time to think, cry, and move your body until the edge of the emotional distress has subsided.
Some additional coping skills that clients have shared with me are: going to a park, coloring, listening to music, meditating, yoga, calling a friend, stepping up the self-nurturing by going for a pedicure, massage or
taking a long bath, engaging in deep breathing techniques, exercising, petting or playing with the family pet, learning to ground yourself by taking your shoes off, planting your feet on the floor and forcing awareness into your body by noticing what sensations you are experiencing in your body.
There are no quick fixes for emotional distress. There is no short cut. The only way is through it- one day at a time- sometimes minute by minute. If you find yourself in distress, practice different coping skills and
learn what works the best for you. Your coping skills will not magically erase the pain, but they will help you cope through it. And remind yourself, “This too shall pass……”
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS specializes in helping individuals and couples
heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. Ingela Edwards Counseling serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist