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Coping with bad events

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Continued from last week

13. Find perspective.

While your bad news may genuinely be catastrophic and traumatic, keep in mind that these difficult, overwhelming feelings will not last forever. Time is a good healer, and with each passing day you may find yourself working through your feelings and slowly figuring things out. You will find a new normal. Be patient with yourself, as this does not happen overnight.

Do your best not to ruminate on the future, creating worst-case scenarios in your mind. This creates additional stress, which you certainly don’t need right now.[11]

For example, if you find yourself worrying about far-off possibilities, like leaving the country to seek medical treatment, or wondering if you will need to take out a second mortgage on the house, it is probably time to distract yourself with a self-care activity.

14. Stay confident.

Continue to believe in yourself and have faith in the world around you that things will turn out for the best. You may have to overcome obstacles, but believe in your ability to surmount them and succeed.

Feeling confident in your ability to handle a situation translates into a greater likelihood of success. Pretend you are a superhero: There’s trouble, but you have the power to fix it.

15. Be flexible.

People who are resilient will bounce back from bad news by re-evaluating their goals and coming up with a new plan. They do not see bad news as roadblocks; rather, it is a detour or another destination entirely.

Say, for example, that you have had to quit your dream job of owning your own massage therapy business because of a debilitating wrist injury. You are devastated, but while you are reflecting on what to do next, you remember how your favourite thing about massage therapy was helping people relax. Since you already know about running your own business, you decide to open a yoga studio.

Develop a habit of reframing bad news into something positive. For example, you might say to yourself, “I didn’t get into my top choice college, but I did get into most of the other schools I applied to.” Or, “Even though getting laid off is scary, it is also exciting because I get to pursue a new career.”

Tip 3: Practise Self Care

16. Spend time in nature.

Being outside helps calm you down, decreases your blood pressure, and helps you become more present by observing what’s around you.

Go for a walk. Walking in nature helps you stop focusing on your bad news and helps you push your “reset” button. Walking outside will also help you get some exercise, which has its own mental health benefits.

17. Write.

Spend some time writing down your problems in a journal. This helps your mind organize your thoughts and feelings, and provides an expressive outlet, particularly if you are not able to talk to someone as often as you’d like.

Writing in a journal will also help you reduce stress.

18. Take a personal day.

If you can, skip a day of work or school to rest, relax, and take care of yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to concentrate because of your bad news, speak to your employer or school and let them know you need a day to rejuvenate.

You could say to your boss, “I need to take today off for personal reasons,” or “I need to take a mental health day”, depending on your relationship with your boss and your workplace policy. If your boss is familiar with what you are dealing with, they may be more willing to be flexible.

You may wish to spend your day catching up on sleep, writing in a journal, exercising outside, or spending time with a good friend. While you may be tempted to spend the day on the couch, watching TV, this is not the healthiest approach.

19. Connect with your spirituality.

You may find your faith to be a source of support for you as you cope with your bad news. Suffering is a universal human concern, and you will find many religious teachings and texts addressing it. Focusing on your spiritual life will help you feel calmer and help you feel better equipped to handle stress. Attend religious services and connect with others in your religious community for support.

Pray: Connecting to a higher power and sharing your troubles has been found to help people feel less stressed. Meditate: Not only is meditation proven to help you decrease stress, but it can help you to connect with your spirituality and a sense of “oneness”, a feeling of being connected to the divine.

Adapted from WIKI HOW….

Dr Miller is Health Psychologist at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

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