Emotional first aid
Photo by Road Trip with Raj
Life is full of emotional injuries, it’s unavoidable. And the damage ranges from tiny hurts, like someone forgetting to hold the door open for you to huge, like when you experience loss of someone or something significant, like a parent or life partner. Some injuries are caused by a one-off event and others have a long timeline and result in a buildup of ongoing stress.
In my career, I have experienced a wide range of emotional injuries, and I believe its so common, I would love to hear from anyone who has a few years of work under their belt and has had a totally smooth ride. That said, some injuries are just small bumps and knocks and its easy to get up and get going and, generally, forget they every happened. And some knock you sideways and it’s hard to believe that life will ever be the same again once they are over.
Like with a physical injury, it’s worth having a process for dealing with emotional pain. This is a 4 step framework I recommend:
Step 1: Assess the damage
How bad is it? Is it just a bruise to your confidence or is it really impacting on your life possibly by interfering with your sleep or ability to concentrate? If it’s severe and your life doesn’t feel the same, then it’s time to get some therapeutic support. Your GP is a good first out of call for this. If its just very painful but you feel nothing is broken, it’s time to assess whether you are able to manage it yourself or hire a thinking partner to coach you through some exercises to strengthen your emotional resilience.
Step 2: Make a plan
Alone or with your coach, you will need to create a plan, to respond to the source of pain: do you need to get out of the situation you are in or maybe you need to make changes so that it’s better designed for your needs. Are there skills that you need that would make a similar injury less likely to happen in the future? Perhaps a change of perspective might make things look very different.
Step 3: Implement
Now you know whats needed, it’s time to take action. Easy in theory but sometimes a lot toucher in practice when it’s easy to get discouraged or otherwise put off. How are you going to hold yourself accountable, especially at a time when you might still feel emotionally under par, in order to see that planned changes though? Make sure you put a plan in place for this otherwise you risk letting negative behaviours like procrastination and fear of moving out of your comfort zone stop you making progress.
Step 4: Evaluate
There are no guarantees any intervention will be 100% effective. The only way of assessing how well you are doing is by observing and assessing. Are the symptoms still present? If they are noticeably easing, you will recognise that you are on the right track. Time to pat yourself on the back and carry on with whatever you were doing. If some time has passed and the emotional pain hasn’t reduced in any way or has actually increased, please consider getting some professional support if you didn’t take that option earlier. Either in the form of a therapist if the pain is acute and interfering with your normal life, or a coach who can help you build the skills to help shrug it off, now and ideally in the future.
Need help getting over an emotional injury? I can help you bounce back better than ever! Please use this link to book a free call so we can talk about whats going on for you.
7/10/2022 12:12:12 am
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25 years experience in helping teams build user centred products and services, now helping digital colleagues learn how to bounce back better than before from the challenges life throws at us from time-to-time.