Oh FFS! What’s Your Method of Recovery?

Hi everyone,

How do you deal with frustrations and difficult situations? I quite like to sulk but then I remind myself that at the age of 47 I really should be way past that approach by now! As a more introverted person who likes a mental image I quite enjoy having a tantrum…in my head. My cartoon version of me throws things about, kicks the cartoon cat, waves her arms about, shouts and curses….and then I breathe more slowly and feel better! ?

I’m a strong believer in letting people know where you’re at and as someone who spent years saying I was ‘fine’ (that word should be banned!) when I wasn’t, then I know the full impact of doing that.  It’s not good ?  A more extraverted person will wear their heart on their sleeve a bit more and you’re more likely to know what kind of day they’re having, which is good as long as they’re not inflicting it on everyone else!!  A more introverted person keeps their feelings hidden so it’s worth checking in with them to ask how they’re doing.  You might also get a better response if you give them some notice about wanting to chat – something like “can we have a catch up in a bit, I just want to see how things are going?”.  That way a more introverted person can think about what they want to say and you’ll get a better sense of where they’re at.

The stress response puts adrenaline into our systems, so if you feel physically worked up when something frustrating happens that’s probably why.  The stress response evokes physical changes in us, so that nervous stomach or cold hands and feet are very real indicators of stress.  Mentally, you might feel quite emotional.  For years I heard my Stress Management clients say things like “I don’t know what was going on, I was crying like a baby”.  I believe we all have an inner child, which for me defines my sub conscious mind.  It keeps us breathing when we’re asleep and notices traffic lights when we’re daydreaming and our mind’s not on the road but in times of stress that inner child can feel very fragile, upset and emotional.  If your stress responses seem childlike, they’re reflecting the emotions of your inner child and sometimes that can link into upset from much earlier in life.

For instance, if you were often told as a child that you should ‘pull yourself together’, feeling upset can be a double whammy.  Something has made you feel upset and then you feel worse because that taps into the fact that you should be able to ‘pull yourself together’ because that was what you were always told, that was a learned lesson for you from earlier life.  It’s very complicated isn’t it, the mind?

If you need some help to unravel your thoughts, worries and emotions I’d seek help from a Counsellor, Coach or Therapist.  Friends and family can be brilliant at offering support but sometimes a more independent person, that you can leave all your ‘stuff’ with is useful.  I did a lot of my ‘unravelling’ with the help of books and research so you don’t have to speak to someone else and writing things down or drawing things can often be helpful.  Anything that works off that adrenaline push can be useful too; things like exercise and activity.  That helps physically by working off the adrenaline but also by diverting your mind onto other things for a while, which is good.

I guess my point is that it’s good to think about what your response is to a difficult or frustrating situation and to think if you can manage it differently sometimes.  That might give you some calmer responses which stop you kicking into the stress response so often and experiencing those physical symptoms.  Deep breathing is always good and consider the power of a mental image, just in a cartoon way of course!

Right!  I need to go and apologise to my cartoon cat as I pulled her tail off earlier and for some reason she’s not hugely happy! ?

Take good care please and have a great day.

Best wishes, Karen