We are taught many things in life, but dealing with feelings seems to have been relegated to the backburner. Here are some tips on how to cope with those emotions. Before they get too much.
Have a good cry
Having a good sob is reputed to be good for you. So is laughter, which has been shown to help heal bodies, as well as broken hearts. Laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body shake off allergic reactions. Research also suggests that the mere act of anticipation may make people feel better hours before they get around to watching a funny video.
Take action: Make an appointment with a few good friends today, take out a funny movie or put in a few days leave and take a break. Any enjoyable event – even if it's just a relaxing afternoon at home – could spark a positive reaction.
Strong people go for help
Gnashing your teeth in the dark will not get you extra brownie points. It is a sign of strength to ask for assistance and people will respect you for it. If there is a relationship problem, the one who refuses to go for help is usually the one with whom the problem lies.
Take action: Don't delay if you need it – make an appointment with a therapist today. Your GP should be able to suggest therapists. An organisation, which deals with the problem you encounter, will also have a referral list.
Dealing with road rage
When the guy in the yellow car not only cuts in in front of you, but throws you a zap sign to boot, you have visions of exactly how you would like to rearrange his anatomy. Problem is, recently people have started to do just that and received lengthy prison sentences. But prison sentences, aside, being a road hog is just not on.
Take action: Allow for traffic problems on the way to appointments, make sure you are alert, especially in slow-moving traffic, and remind yourself that being agitated makes you a lot more accident-prone. Getting home two minutes later is infinitely preferable to lying in hospital with a fractured jaw.
In therapy? Be realistic
A therapist is there to offer a supportive, safe environment in which you can deal with your problems. But there are certain limits to what you can expect from your therapist.
Don’t expect your therapist to have a magic wand – you've established patterns over a number of years and these can’t be unravelled in one or two sessions. Although you might feel that your therapist has become your friend, your therapeutic relationship should only exist during therapy – a therapist cannot be on call at all times. Your therapist cannot “fight your battles for you” – only in certain cases (and only with your consent) will other people such as your employer or spouse be contacted by your therapist.
Do you worry all the time?
Do you worry excessively about being dirty, or that something terrible might happen to you, or whether you've switched off the stove? You may be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – a psychiatric disorder characterised by obsessions and compulsions.
You may have OCD if your obsessions or compulsions do the following to you: cause you marked distress; persist and take up a lot of time – people with OCD may spend hours each day performing compulsive acts; significantly interfere with your normal routine, work, social activities or relationships; are senseless.
People with OCD also often have depression or depressive symptoms, including: guilt, sadness, low self-esteem, anxiety and fatigue. See your doctor if you suspect you may be developing symptoms of OCD.
(Health24, January 2006)