Many of us at the moment, are feeling frustrated and even out of control. In this new world of restrictions being put in place and then lifted, students being taught in the classroom then online, over and over again, going to work, staying home, being let out, and then arguing about it all online or in the home – we can wind up feeling powerless. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Angry.
So what CAN we do to help bring back a feeling of control? Whether you are living with restrictions or not, there is always something you can do for yourself that doesn’t involve any one else making decisions on your behalf.
First and to be clear, you are not really out of control, you feel out of control. So how can you come back to feeling calm and in control? To help with communication (less fighting) and make better decisions? To better regulate your emotions? How you feel, act and react. What you say and don’t say, how you say it or choose not to. Whilst sometimes our emotions may feel out of control, they are actually withIN our control.
Let’s understand this better.
The goal with emotions is not to just be happy all the time. What we are in fact looking for is balance. Balance of emotions. Being able to deeply feel an emotion whilst keeping it in balance with all of the others. Frustrations and even anger usually build up over time before we have that exploding moment – but there are signs, often many signs that the level of frustration or anger is building up.
Photo by James Balensiefen on Unsplash
Have you ever tried pushing an inflated balloon under water? It pops back up, right? So you push it back down, and it pops straight back up.
Now imagine the balloon is your emotions. You feel frustrated for example, you want to ignore it so you push it down. But later on it pops back up – again, again and again. And it will keep popping back up no matter how hard you try and hold it down.
The balloon, the emotion, needs to be processed, understood, and released.
Pick up a pen and paper and write. I know this sounds overly simplistic but writing can genuinely calm you down, right there and then. Write down your frustrations, hurt, anger, bewilderment, or whatever it is. It doesn’t need to be ‘right’ or neat or pretty. You can furiously scribble in a nonsensical way if that’s what you need. The greater your level of frustration or anger, the more likely you are to explode at the next person or thing that happens. Rather than push those feelings down (only to explode later), bring them UP and OUT onto the paper.
If you feel angry at the world, at yourself, a family member or friend, even a stranger on social media, you can write about it, or even write them a letter. Let out all of your frustrations, you can even swear and carry on to your heart’s desire. Write, draw, scribble. Let everything out. This is your safe place to say whatever you want. In this process you will start understanding what you are actually feeling. Different topics, people, and thoughts will flow on and off the page until you feel you are done. And you will feel lighter.
Please do NOT send, email, or show the person. This is FOR YOU, not them.
Then simply throw the piece of paper out. Burn it if you like.
The frustration (or whichever emotion) is let out like the deflating of a taut balloon.
Now balance can be restored.
The beauty is that you can do this whenever, wherever you like. And as often as you like. So give it a try today and see how it makes you feel.
by Romi Grossberg