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10 Things You Can Do to Help Yourself Now

by Mark D. Lerner, Ph.D.

Chairman, National Center for Emotional Wellness

CEO & Creator,

Much has been written about what we can do to help ourselves after a challenging experience (e.g., crisis intervention). However, little has been written that addresses what we can do during and in the wake of a crisis (e.g., Acute Traumatic Stress Management). This TruthJava post provides ten strategies to navigate through a harmful experience.

1. Become aware of your feelings and try to label them

(e.g., “I’m feeling nervous.” “I’m feeling sad.”

“I’m feeling frustrated.” etc.).

2. Try to identify your thoughts and how they are

precipitating, or being influenced by, a feeling (e.g.,

“I’ve been thinking about how I responded to her and I’m feeling angry.”).

3. Learn to accept that feelings are not right or wrong …

they just are.

4. Slow down and think before you act; make goal-directed choices.

5. Realize that you can choose your focus—what you think about.

6. If you find yourself thinking repetitively about something that is causing you emotional discomfort,

identify the thought and try to dismiss it (e.g., “Stop it. This is not productive.”).

7. Know that it’s OK not to be OK during considerable challenges and change. Allow yourself to

experience normal reactions in the face of an abnormal event.

8. If you are grappling with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, distract yourself and change what

you are doing (e.g., Take a walk. Exercise. Listen to music. Speak with a friend or loved one. etc.).

9. Speak with people with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings—people who listen more

than they speak. Rely on interpersonal face-to-face communication.

10. Strive to become the person you would ideally like to be. While this may be a hypothetical

construct, something that can’t be directly observed and is subject to influence by the world around

you, choose your “bullseye.”


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