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Trauma and nurses: the role of positive coping strategies. Tap Into All Your Senses

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


Trauma and nurses: the role of positive coping strategies. Tap into all your senses to help improve your well being


Everyone knows about the primary five senses and how they impact our daily lives but did you know three other senses play a significant part in our well-being?


After all, we can become happier and healthier by looking at our sensory systems.


Let’s learn more about the lesser-known senses and how they can help us improve our well-being.



What are the three lesser-known senses?

Vestibular- It is known as the balance sense. It allows us to move smoothly through space and lets us know if we are upside down.

Proprioception- This is about body position and how we use muscles to bend or stretch our joints. This sense also helps us know how much force to use during everyday situations.

Interoception- This sense tells us what is happening in our body, e.g. are we hungry, thirsty, or cold?



What is emotional regulation?

Emotions can impact us positively or negatively depending on how well we recognize, manage, and respond to them. Working on your emotional regulation can help you develop healthy relationships and improve your well-being and overall quality of life.


Recognising and accepting our emotions, figuring out what's triggering them, and expressing ourselves constructively are all part of emotional regulation. Finding constructive methods of dealing with one's feelings is more important. This may entail dealing with difficult situations, establishing appropriate limits, caring for oneself, and reaching out for help when required. Emotional maturity allows us to deal with adversity, foster positive connections, and boost our well-being in general.



Why is emotional regulation necessary?

If we struggle to regulate our emotions, it can have a negative impact on our lives; this is called emotional dysregulation. Dealing with stressful situations at work or home can make us experience powerful emotions. If we don’t know how to deal with these effectively, it can cause tensions in our relationships, cause us a fear of certain situations, or make us anxious at work.


Emotional regulation is essential in our personal lives, health, and work. Working in healthcare may be stressful, and you may have to deal with complex patients daily. If you can keep your cool under pressure, you'll be able to better care for your patients and avoid burnout. Managing your emotions well can also improve your interactions with coworkers, allow you to resolve problems healthily, and keep the office atmosphere upbeat. If you want to succeed in life and your career, you must learn how to control your emotions.




Mental health conditions and emotional regulation

Several mental health conditions can be affected by emotional dysregulation. These include anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, complex trauma, and depression.


It is essential to remember that emotional dysregulation is not a mental illness but a symptom. Individuals who suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, complex trauma, and depression can better control their symptoms and enhance their quality of life if they have practical emotional regulation abilities. Seeking professional assistance, such as counselling or therapy, can be an efficient approach to acquiring and practising skills for emotional regulation, hence reducing the adverse effects of emotional dysregulation on one's mental health.



Signs of emotional dysregulation

You may be emotionally dysregulated if your reactions to certain situations are frequently inappropriate.

You may also be experiencing some of these symptoms, abrupt changes in mood, binge eating, crying spells, emotional outbursts, persistent interpersonal conflict, aggression, self-harm, substance abuse, or poor tolerance for frustration.


One further symptom of emotional dysregulation is having trouble controlling the strength of one's feelings. People who struggle to regulate their emotions may experience helplessness and overwhelm when confronted with situations that set off their symptoms. This could result in solid outbursts of emotion, such as sobbing bouts, panic attacks, or fits of rage. They may also have trouble returning to a state of emotional equilibrium and may continue to experience high emotions for a considerable time. This might be a complication for them. These symptoms, if left untreated, have the potential to have a significant impact on a person's quality of life as well as their relationships with other people.


Ways to help develop good emotional regulation


Self-awareness

Knowing how you are feeling and why is a great way to develop emotional regulation. Try writing down your emotions to help you become more aware of what is happening in your body.

Mindful awareness

Mindfulness helps us stay in the present moment and allows us to analyze our emotions objectively. Exercises such as breath control can help us become more aware of our body, mind, and emotions.

Adaptability

When we are emotionally dysregulated, our ability to adapt to changes around us weakens. Take part in objective evaluation to develop coping skills in difficult situations. Ask yourself what your trusted colleague would do or how you would tell a friend to cope in the same situation. As humans, we usually need to improve at taking our own advice.

Emotional support

Emotional support can come from within ourselves or from external sources. This could be family, friends, or speaking to a therapist. Studies have shown an increase in emotional regulation in those who use communicating as an emotional regulation tool.


Developing practical skills for controlling emotions requires time and effort, but the results are worth the investment. You can enhance your ability to regulate your emotions and better manage your reactions to harrowing events by increasing your self-awareness, maintaining mindfulness, learning to adapt, obtaining emotional support, and engaging in self-care practices. Remember that it is acceptable to make mistakes and that advancement is only sometimes made linearly. As you develop your ability to regulate your emotions, treat yourself with compassion and patience, and don't forget to acknowledge and appreciate your progress along the way. With time and practice, you may build the skills to live a happier and healthier life. These skills can be developed in a matter of time.



 

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Reflection

  1. Take time to think about how you’ve reacted to stressful situations this week

  2. Do you think you could have responded differently? How?

  3. What can you do this week to improve your emotional regulation?

  4. Do you have any tips or advice to regulate your emotions?


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