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Friday, January 6, 2012

Emotional Emergency Management: Step 3 of a 4 Step Process

Crisis Management is all about building plans and creating steps to help you move through an event with ease. It's about being prepared for an event because you've thought it through and considered how to deal with it.  Emotional Management can be approached in the way way.

If you've followed along you've got at least one definable emotion that you'd like to manage better.  Balance can be found when the impact of an event, or in this case an emotion, is matched with appropriate resources. So there are two ways to tackle this plan.  You can either lessen the impact of your emotion or increase your resources to deal with it.

There are lots of examples of this type of planning from the emergency management field.  Let's say you move into a new house and the first time you get a heavy rainfall your basement floods. All the items and boxes you had sitting on the floor floated around for awhile before you got home. You decide to build a plan to manage this situation the next time it rains. You could lessen the impact by not storing anything on the floor in your basement.  You could move everything up a level, above the high water mark. That would be lessening the impact.  You still might have water in the basement but it won't be as devastating to you when the accountant needs the year-end files. Or you could put in a pump that will automatically drain the water before it accumulates.  In order to ensure this pump will run if the power goes out at the same time, you buy a generator and wire it in to automatically come on.  Now you can still store your things in the basement because you have increased your resources to deal with the heavy rainfall. 

There are ways to lessen the impact of your emotions as well.  If you go back to Step 2 and review that whole spider incident, you could lessen the impact of that by sealing off that basement and avoiding it all together.  There are people that wouldn't agree with me, but in my opinion, sometimes avoidance really is a strategy.  When you are honest with your self and really analyze the impacts (Step 2) you might find there are certain people or events that trigger an unpleasant emotion in you. It isn't always about "working through it" or "forcing yourself to deal with it".  Sometimes it's about walking away to lessen the impact. If you know that agreeing to take the lead in the school fundraising committee this year will cause you to feel overwhelmed with responsibility, maybe you can decline the position this year or agree to be part of the committee but not the chairperson. If you know that you get really impatient every time you drive to work in rush hour maybe you can lessen the impact by altering your work hours to go in earlier or later. Maybe a soothing CD will calm your impatience.

Sometimes you can lessen the impact by confronting the emotion head on. Maybe there is someone in your life that pushes the "guilt button" for you.  You know every time you meet with your brother, and the subject of elder care comes up, you're going to feel guilty that you aren't doing enough for your parents even though at all other times you feel very secure you're doing everything appropriate. Maybe it's time you decided to have a head on conversation with your brother about what he says that pushes your guilt button. Maybe you've been skirting the "real conversation".  It's called "addressing the elephant in the room".  Sometimes avoidance of the issue increases our emotional imbalance. It's important to think this through and plan this out though.  Once you really understand how you're impacted you're more likely to have a positive conversation and get to the root of the matter. You can't cause or change anyone else's emotions, you can only manage your own.

Sometimes the best way to balance your emotions is to increase your resources to deal with them. This too involves honest planning and preparation. You might have guessed that each of the 38 emotions listed in Step 1 is linked to a Bach Flower essence.  Figuring out what Bach Flower essences might help your body balance your emotions is a way to increase your resources.  A few drops of Rock Rose might go a long long way towards releasing the frozen fear of spiders.  Carrying a spray bottle of Rescue Remedy (which contains Rock Rose among others) might also help when that real estate job takes you to old farm root cellars. If you need help in figuring out which essences would be the best match for you consider a Bach Consultation.

When you're in the "heat of the moment" and really feeling emotionally imbalanced, it's hard to take an objective approach to emotional management.  That's why you need to prepare by developing the plan. A lot of time we don't ask for help and can't see the opportunity to increase resources. Back to the spidery basement- instead of calling your husband to complain about the misplaced stroller and start a fight, you might be able to call a friend that has multiple kids, and a double-decker stroller that would be more than happy to pack everyone up and go to the library with you. No one misses out on the story time or the concentration time and you can probably share a laugh over the spider threat as well. That's increasing your resources.

Building a plan takes time, effort and a calm mind.  It also requires you to be really honest with yourself. You might even have to consider options outside your comfort zone in order to really find peace and comfort in the long run.  Once you've built a plan you exercise the plan.  Try it on on a small event. Practice having that conversation. Talk about your plan with people that love you no matter what.  Let your plan with you a bit and become a part of you.  If it doesn't feel right, tweak it a bit.

Stay tuned... there's one more step.

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