Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Getting Over Emotional Hangovers

Jumping in Puddles asked a great question: How do we bounce back from emotional hangovers?

The first step is recognizing this is what's happening and that we don't have to feel this way—we have a choice.

Second step is doing what I call emotional aerobics. This means:

1)Reminding ourselves of every situation we have been able to handle, every success of our lives, every strength we have, every reason that exists for us to believe we can cope with what is happening.

2)Doing things that make us smile and therefore reminding ourselves that NO MATTER W HAT we can have moments of joy in our lives.

3)Asking what good could come out of the situation.

When we do these things we are reminding ourselves that we are not hostages to anyone else or any events in our lives ANY MORE. It is how we choose to handle the challenges that arise in our lives that determines the quality of our lives.

I know that's hard to believe when we're in the middle of a difficult situation. Believe me, it took conscious effort and daily aerobic emotional exercises to cope with the chaos of my visit back to NJ. And even so it took me a week to shake off all the effects—in large part because until the emotional hangover lifted, I didn't even recognize that was what was going on. Even so, doing the 3 steps above made a huge difference.

I didn't get mired in fear based thinking. I didn't retreat to old behavior patterns with my ex or with my son. I didn't give in to depression. I did manage to find some things to bring back with me. I did manage to be upbeat with my son and set appropriate limits. I did manage to cope with the crises that kept arising—without getting drawn into doing things my ex asked me to do that are no longer appropriate (like finding and buying 4 new tires for his car).

Remembering that we DO have choices, that we can create moments of joy, that we can choose how we respond to situations is immensely powerful AND the key to bouncing back from emotional hangovers.

Here's hoping all of you keep bouncing back from any emotional hangovers you might be facing! Sending blessings and safe and gentle ((((((hugs))))))).

PS Check out what Keepers has done with some of the sayings from my Survivor's Manifesto!


keepers said...

Dear April_Optimist

Thank you for the link back to us, we are really having fun putting some of your manifestos on our site. We also agree with you that having some methods to rein ourselves back in when things are happening that tend to put us in a "bad place or mindset" is critical to a fast recovery from the hangover you mention.

peace and blessings


April_optimist said...


Glad you're having fun! And I hope those sayings mean as much to others as they did to me writing my "Manifesto."