Where do you go during your emotionally challenging times?
One of the best things you can have in life is a friend who comes to you to talk about hard topics when they feel it is needed, they come from a place of caring, insight and support. These are the people who will pull you up on an area where they know you are letting yourself down or they will help you to see a side of yourself that you hadn’t seen in the past, they care about you and can communicate their thoughts in a supportive way and become very important people to have around.
A few years ago one of my very good friends did just this, they came to me and gave me insight into an area about myself to which I was blind. We were having a conversation about how I dealt with tough times, he said ‘what’s interesting about you Bevan is that when you are faced with emotionally tough situations you push everything away, you close off to your world in a way that hurts yourself and pushes those who can support you away’. I’d never seen this behaviour in myself but once his words hit my ears I knew that he was absolutely correct and looking back I could see that in emotionally challenging times how my behaviour ultimately lead to me struggling for longer and pushing away those important people.
My friend’s insight made me realise this was an area I needed to work on and the question I explored to do this was ‘what are healthy ways for me to deal with the emotional times?’.
Within my different roles, people share a lot about themselves and I’m fortunate to gain a massive insight into their lives. Over time I have learnt a huge amount about how we all deal with different situations but one of the biggest observations I’ve made is that many of us have terrible strategies when it comes to dealing with emotionally challenging times. Many of us head towards self destructive behaviours and often in extreme ways, it’s the person who instantly thinks about having a drink when the going gets tough or the person who uses food for comfort or more extreme behaviours like cutting or violence.
Emotionally driven times can lead towards an unhealthy place not only for an individual but also for those people around them. Think about yourself, when you are faced with an emotionally driven time where do you go to, either internally or externally, to deal with the situation? Think back to the last time you were faced with this, how did you deal with it? If you go to a self destructive, unhealthy place what affects does this have on your life and your relationships with those around you? Does it ultimately lead to you hurting yourself and others in some way?
It’s a pity that we aren’t taught in school how to deal with emotionally challenging times, it’s seems that often we learn this behaviour when we are very young and reacting to a difficult situation in a way that is not necessarily the best way. The good news is that it is something you can change, you can develop your behaviour in a way which enables you to better cope with hard times.
Exercise, creative outlets, communication with the right type of person, meditation and reflective planning are a few ways to deal with these times. If you know that you use destructive behaviours when you are emotional it’s definitely worth putting your energy into developing some of the method. Ultimately you want to develop a multi-angle approach so for example when faced with a tough time you could go for a walk, talk to your understanding friend, write your thoughts down and remove pressures from other areas of your life.
The other area we need to develop is recognising when we are heading towards this place. We need to become great at knowing when we are heading down the destructive path and then use triggers to activate healthier behaviours. If previously you thought to yourself ‘everything’s getting on top of me, I need a drink’, you could recognise that this very thought is a trigger and it’s time to implement your healthy strategies.
Life is not always easy, we are all faced with challenges, some of which can be extremely hard to get through and whilst we all have our own ways that we deal with them if we can have healthy strategies that create a place that doesn’t hurt us or those around us, we can actually become stronger for it.
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