We both know it isn’t a matter of if, but when. Life can get flaming hot, especially for someone already trying to manage a mood or anxiety disorder. So what are we to do amid the flames? Here are eleven heat-tested emotional/mental first aid techniques…

Find yourself a safe and quiet place, and slow down long enough to get an accurate fix on exactly what’s happening. There’s no way you can expect to survive…

Life has been a little tough for our family over the past six weeks. I’m thankful it doesn’t involve physical health issues. Still, one of my children has had a rough go. And you know the drill – what hits one of us hits us all.

I was talking to a friend yesterday who’s aware of the situation. At one point during my outpouring I whined about not even knowing what I was going to write about this week. She looked at me like “Duh!” Actually, the thought had already occurred to me.

Needless to say, I’m not going to get into the details of my kid’s situation. But I’d love to get into how to survive the immediate fallout of flaming circumstances.

Emotional/Mental First Aid

How many first aid courses have we taken? Heck, I have a current American Heart Association card in my wallet. So I’m Johnny on the Spot should someone, including me, find themselves in a bad way – physically.

But what if someone’s in a bad way emotionally and/or mentally? Unjustly, that seems to be a different story. I have to say, though, that these days such circumstances are being more directly addressed with terms and curricula like Psychological First Aid.

For our purposes I’m going with emotional/mental first aid (E/M First Aid).

11 Things to Do When Life Gets Flaming Hot

how to cope with stressSo within the context of E/M First Aid and gut-wrenching circumstances like my offspring’s (and mine as I try to help), I’m bringing you the following techniques to turn to when life flames-up.

Certainly there are more, but these eleven have worked well for me over the years. And you don’t have to put them into practice exactly as I’ve written them. These are for you so season to taste, if you will. Most important of all, be proactive – don’t just take the hits…

  1. Understand that extinguishing the flames isn’t the goal. Sure, if there’s mitigating action you can easily take, roll with it. But save as much of your energy as possible for emotional and mental survival. That’s the bottom-line here.
  2. Find yourself a safe and quiet place, and slow down long enough to get an accurate fix on exactly what’s happening. There’s no way you can expect to survive in the immediate if you don’t know for sure what’s going-on. While you’re at it, take into account how you traditionally receive, interpret, and respond to troubling stimuli. Could that generate inaccuracies?
  3. Expanding upon #2, if you endure a mood or anxiety disorder I’ll bet the farm that cognitive distortions are a big part of your life. There are several that may come into play, but catastrophizing – the “What if’s?” with disaster being the expect – can unnecessarily fuel the flames.
  4. Recall a time when you found yourself amid flames. Maybe the circumstances are the same, perhaps different. Doesn’t matter. What did you do that worked? What didn’t? And if you fell to pieces, encourage yourself for this go-round by saying, “What better time to change? I’ll pull it off this time!”
  5. Don’t go it alone, unless you truly have no choice. Isolation will get you nowhere fast. Spouse, partner, family member, friend, mental health professional, spiritual leader – solicit help. You definitely deserve the company and support.
  6. Never, ever discount the positive influence of exercise, proper food and drink intake, quiet time, hobbies, meditation, yoga, rest, sleep – and more. Perfection in practice isn’t the goal. Considering and practicing the activities that work best for you is.
  7. I can think of all sorts of quick severe stress relievers: alcohol, cannabis, recreational drugs, tobacco, benzos, opioids, and then some. Don’t abuse – rely – upon any of them. You can do this without that kind of help.
  8. Keep a progress diary, updating it at the interval of your choice. What a great way to stay focused and disciplined. And it’s the perfect way to track progress. Keep it, by the way. It’ll be great inspirational and reference material for the next time.
  9. Reach-out to someone in need. Yep, I said that. Amid your own flames, help someone survive theirs. Don’t worry, there’s enough of you to go around.
  10. If you don’t have a spiritual figurehead and practice, what better time to find one? If you’re all set, what better time to nurture the relationship?
  11. Who knows how long the flames will last? Fact is, they’ll eventually be extinguished or they’ll snuff-out on their own. Always remember, you’re not dealing with a forever set of circumstances. And never detach from hope. It may be all you have at times.

Be Prepared

So what do you think? Will they work for you? And, hey, if you come up with more share with us in the comment section.

Yep, we both know it’s a matter of when, not if. The flames are going to hit and it’s going to be all about emotional and mental survival. Be prepared. Why not keep this article, as well as other material, around for when the moment strikes?

See, the thing is, when the chips are down, it’s important to be able to say to yourself, “I got this.”

Chipur is a reservoir full of hundreds of mood and anxiety disorder centered articles. Really now, hit the titles.

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