Crisis

In Times of Crisis: Managing Anger and Frustration

Angry man hand over face

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. You came to this country to take advantage of the opportunity and you did just that. Not only did you take advantage of the opportunity, but you also put down roots here. You created a family here and brought some over to live in this country. Now everything is in a tailspin.

You are frustrated by having to be grateful to have something that you built with so much hard work and effort. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Maybe, you are frustrated because you are an “essential” worker which almost feels like an “expendable” worker having to work long hours and not necessarily having the protective equipment you need to do your job. Or, You are frustrated because you promised aid but the loans and expansion of unemployment in your stated just haven’t gone to effect and you don’t know when it will. You are angry because you are being told to be grateful for what seems like chaos.

You feel on edge and those around you are starting to pick up on it. They try to soothe how you are feeling but it only causes you to feel even more frustrated.

What do you do?

Take a Time Out

If you feel like you’re suffocating by all that is around you, take a break from it. You are still allowed to take a walk or a run. Utilize that. Sometimes, walking away from something that appears to have no answers or endpoint insight gives you the space to have a little clarity about the situation at hand.

It allows you to not be in the middle of your most reactive feelings. It allows you the space to know that it is not the ones you are nearest to making you feel this way even though you may have made them feel this way.

Giving yourself this space and time to be alone away from the most intense issues surrounding you, can give you the mental bandwidth to make intentional decisions about how you act and what you say instead of deciding on impulsive choices that you may regret later

Humor

Giving yourself a break to have a laugh may be just what you need. Humor can get your mind off things and ease the tension in tough situations. It can also normalize your feelings about different situations meaning that often comics will talk about what a lot of people feel like and simply put it in a funny way to make you laugh

There are also studies that show that laughter in itself can be therapeutic. Laughter can relax you, boost your immune system and release endorphins. All of which you will need to have in the middle of the worst public health crisis that we have seen in the last hundred years.

So, don’t trivialize this time to laugh. It is important to your health that you are able to laugh.

Mindfulness Techniques

As always mindfulness techniques help! They allow you to be in the present moment instead of lamenting a past that can never be changed or may never be again. Conversely, expending energy on fearing a future that may never happen.

Mindfulness techniques keep you intentionally in the present moment. You are not able to spiral out of control if you are in the here and now. You stay in one place instead of bouncing back and forth amongst different time frames.

Identify Your Feelings

Take the time to identify your feelings. Anger is known as a secondary emotion. This means on the surface, you feel anger but underneath you may actually be feeling pain, disappointment, saddness, fear or a host of other emotions.

Take time to evaluate the deeper feelings that you are having right now. Where is your angry coming from? What do you feel is provoking you to have these feelings? Do you have control over this situation? Is your perception of control over the situation, an accurate perception or is it part of your emotional reaction to the situation?

When we give ourselves this time to do further reflection, at times we can be embarrassed by how we have acted before. This reflection should not be judgemental or to think negatively of ourselves. It is to gain a further connection with ourselves and to understand where we are at.

Utilization of “I” Statements

When you are ready to open up and be vulnerable with others, remember, to use your “I” statements. When you say “I am feeling…” this way or that way, it will not be taken as combative because you are taking full ownership, responsibility, and accountability over how you are feeling or your reactions to certain situations. How you are feeling put into an “I” statement makes it much for difficult for the other person to continue to fight with you. It allows the person that you are communicating with to not only logically understand what you are going through but emotionally connect with what you are going through as well.

If you do not use “I” statement then there will be a high probability that the other person will feel attacked and then close off from you in the conversation. When someone closes themselves off to you that means that they will not be able to truly hear what you are trying to say because they are now trying to protect and defend themselves from you.

Ask for Help

If your feelings are becoming too overwhelming and hard to handle, it just may be time to seek outside support. You are not alone. Right now Telehealth counseling or teletherapy is on the rise due to COVID-19. There are clinicians out there all around you who are accepting new clients and are willing to help in these uncertain times.

And By the Way!

My name is Tara. I am a therapist who provides online counseling services in the state of Illinois. This blog post is not therapy and it should not be used as a substitute for therapy. If you would like to talk more, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation, click here!

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