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Friendship

Quick Start Help Page for Those in Emotional Distress

If you’re in emotional distress and want to turn things around quickly, this page is designed to help you.  We’ve found these steps to be the easiest and fastest way to jump start emotional improvement.  While the recommendations are not difficult to implement, they often require courage and commitment.  But for people who have taken these steps with determination to improve their internal state, results typically come fast.  Although why these things work is at times counter-intuitive, they have proven themselves to be effective.

Being in emotional distress is something that is often difficult or embarrassing to tell others.  But here, you are among friends who understand.  Most of us here, have at some point in our lives, been through our own intense struggles and we know what it’s like to be there, often times being there alone. We know first hand how difficult it can be to open up about it.  Which is part of what brought us together.  We wanted to create a place for others to go, so that don’t have to go through what we went through alone.

Being in prolonged emotional distress can be like having an unrelenting hail storm pelting you with unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  Here are some “emergency response” steps that can help you quickly gain control and move to a happier state:

GET SOME SHELTER

Get some social engagement.  One of the most difficult things is feeling isolated and alone.  Connecting and interacting with people can be a lifeline that  helps lift the oppressive feeling of isolation.

If you don’t have a social network you can call on, contact us.  We’re here to help and we understand what it’s like to be in the hail storm.  We also have experience getting people out of it.    Contact Us Link

If you do have a social network, engage them with the objective of making THEM laugh and smile.  When we take our minds off of ourselves and expend energy making others happy, it helps lift our spirits, lifts their spirits as well, and makes them want to interact with us more.

GET SOME WARMTH

Find a worthy charity and contribute 2 hours a week of your time, talents and efforts.  Sending donations is not adequate in these circumstances.  A direct personal interaction with the people at the charity and those they help soothes our deep seated instinctual need to cooperate with and help others.  It makes us feel good at a level that logic doesn’t really get.

STOP THE BLEEDING

Stop runaway thinking.  When we don’t control our thoughts they can cause us great pain.  There is a tendency for the mind to tend to project the course of things into the future, to try and figure out what the full ramifications of things will be.  For example, an attorney who battled with depression explained how his thinking typically went.  A client called him up and canceled an appointment.  The attorney figured the client must be unhappy with him and he must have done something wrong.  And because of that, the client would probably be firing him soon.  And if what he had done was bad enough to get fired over, he was probably making serious mistakes on other cases, and most of his other clients would probably be leaving him soon and speaking badly of him to others.  Soon he would be out of business and default on his mortgage and wind up homeless.  There’s two main problems with this kind of thinking.  The first is that the mind can run down those roads of determination so fast we’re not actually consciously aware of it.  All we are really aware of is the client cancels an appointment and it feels like the world is coming to an end.  Many times we don’t even know why it feels that way.  This is especially likely to occur with very intelligent people who’s subconscious works superfast.  It can run through a chain of assumptions like that in a fraction of a second- before they realize what’s happened.  Moreover, we are wired by nature to assume the worst.  It’s a survival instinct to assume the worst, so that you can be prepared for it and stay alive.  The second problem, is the attorney’s entire line of thinking is based on assumptions, the vast majority of which were probably wrong.   So the key to stopping this kind of runaway thinking is to stop our minds from making assumptions.  If we can’t prove our hunch is true, then we must refuse to let our minds go down that road of thinking.  This requires being consciously aware of all we’re thinking, as we think it.  It’s not easy at first, but it gets much easier with practice.

 

Refuse to be judgmental;  Find ways to love people instead.  While the connection is not obvious, one of the most common contributors to people being unhappy, is engaging in judgmental thinking about people.  When we routinely engage in critical judgments of other people there is a part of our mind that does the same thing to us.  When we refuse to judge others, and instead view them with compassion, it enhances our ability to love, appreciate and be happy with and about ourselves.

 

Stop all negative thoughts;  Accept what is (even while working to change it); And find the positive.  Negative thinking magnifies negative feelings.  Moreover, it inhibits our ability to be creative and find solutions.  And when we refuse to accept reality as it is, we cripple our ability to move forward.  As William James said, “Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.”  Finally, it is extremely helpful to focus our efforts on finding the positive in any situation.  Most scenarios in life are “glass half-full” scenarios.  We can focus on the empty part or we can focus on the full part.  What we focus on moves to the forefront of our minds.  This can significantly affect what impact an experience has on us.  For example- two men get into a car wreck.  One thinks “This is horrible.  I’m going to have to pay a lot of money to fix this, and be without my car for a week.  It’s going to be a huge hassle.  I’ve got terrible luck.”  The second man thinks “Thank goodness nobody got hurt!  I was really lucky this time!”  Clearly the second man felt much better about what happened, even though their experience was the same.

HEAL THE DAMAGE

Keep a journal and follow the pain.  Keeping a journal of your thoughts can be very helpful in a number of ways.  It can help break the natural tendency to think about things over and over.  Once it’s written down and memorialized, it is easier for the subconscious to let it go and stop obsessing over it, because the risk of forgetting about it/losing our thoughts on the subject is gone.  A journal is also very helpful to track the progression and evolution of our thinking on things.  Having such a record can help us see the path we’ve taken to where we are, and by extending that path, help us understand where we’re going.  By using a journal to analyze the things that cause us pain, we are better able to follow the pain back to its origin and understand its true cause.  It is only when we arrive at the very origin of our pain that we can begin to eliminate it.  For example if Tom says to Susan, “I’m not sure about that dress.” and it hurts Susan’s feelings, the first response is to feel that Tom shouldn’t have said what he said.  But as Susan asks herself why Tom’s comment bothered her, she realizes it’s because she’s insecure about her weight.  If she tries to resolve her pain by trying to correct Tom’s behavior or buying a different dress, she won’t get to the actual origin of the problem.  Consequently she won’t solve the cause of her pain.  Many times the actual origin of our pain is buried many layers deep in our subconscious.  If you would like more information on journaling, please go to this page.  http://www.appliedconsciousnesssystems.com/sunrise-meditation/

Become mindful of all your thoughts and their impact on your feelings.  While this seems simple, the actuality is that most of most people’s thinking occurs outside their conscious awareness.  They subconsciously make assumptions and connections that they are not even aware they are making.  This process requires paying close attention to all our thoughts, as they arise.  While it takes practice, the benefits are huge because it gives us control over what our mind is doing.  And the vast majority of the time that we experience emotional distress, it’s because we are not wisely controlling what our mind is doing.

If you would like assistance with any of the above processes, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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