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- Naming emotions: Often, labelling an emotion can help us feel better. Naming an emotion is a skillful technique that requires paying attention to how we feel, understanding what we feel, and using language to communicate it (even just to ourselves). The next time you notice a strong feeling, pause and label the emotion you are experiencing. Be as specific as possible. The feeling wheel was created by Dr. Gloria Willcox as a tool to help people identify and talk about their feelings. You can use it to help you be more specific in recognizing your feelings.
- Increase motivation: Use checklists and goal setting to track your short- and long-term accomplishments. Reward yourself for every small win.
- “Scheduled” emotional release: Plan a fixed amount of time in your schedule to check in with your emotions, typically no more than 30 minutes. Let yourself cry, yell privately, or release emotions through physical exercise, which can help relieve anxiety by reducing stress and tension in your muscles.
- Grounding: Find ways to get “out of your feelings” and “into your body.” Use your senses — sight, taste, touch, smell, and sound. Go through each sense and pick out three things you notice using each one (i.e., three things you can see, three things you can hear, three things you can feel). Alternatively, do a short activity that engages your senses (e.g., squeeze clay or ice in your hands, or walk barefoot on the grass).
- Self-love: Do one small thing that makes you happy each day to remind yourself that you deserve to feel good.
- Identify your emotions: How have your moods and emotions been impacted by stress and trauma? Consider the emotions of guilt, shame, anger, and fear. What does each mean to you? When do you feel them? How do you experience them?
- Challenge negative thoughts: Write down the negative thoughts you have about yourself. Using the table above, try to identify any thinking traps you may have fallen into. Then write down why each thought might not be completely true.