It’s easy to blame ourselves for how we feel or even tell ourselves we should be feeling a different way, but shaming or squashing our feelings makes us feel worse. This is because when we’re feeling lots of emotions, especially anger, fear, tension or anxiety, our brains start pumping out stress hormones and that becomes overwhelming and hard to ignore.
What can we do about this? Dr Daniel Siegel says, ‘Name it to tame it’. Just name what you’re feeling - out loud, by writing it down, or just in your head. This really works! It tells your brain to switch off those stress signals and helps you to start feeling calmer and either a bit more able to focus on solving the problems you can solve, or just able to find other sources of joy.
‘Name it to tame it’ isn’t always easy at first, especially if you’re not used to thinking about your emotions. But it’s a simple trick you can try any time to help you feel a bit better in difficult times.
Try to have some compassion and talk to yourself as you would talk to a loved friend. Life might be difficult right now, and we’ve been living with a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for a long time. However you’re feeling is normal and human. Remember: if you’re not feeling great right now, you won’t feel like this forever. Our brains are very good at making us think that what we’re feeling right now is how we will feel in the future, but these challenges will pass. Talking to trusted friends and whānau about how you’re feeling can really help, too.
If your feelings are overwhelming, very distressing, or stopping you from living your life as you’d like to, you may need extra support. See the helplines
page for advice about where to get help.