How to Stop Freaking Out

How to Stop Freaking Out

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … it’s OK not to be OK all the time.

The so-called “negative emotions”, like stress and anxiety, depression and anger, are often normal and appropriate.

That being said, they can, especially if prolonged or too intense, overwhelm us and affect our decision making and, therefore, become unhelpful.

So how do we allow ourselves to feel without freaking out?

Well, in this Atlantic article the wonderful Arthur C Brooks explains exactly what we can do …

Americans are emerging from the pandemic more stressed out and reactive than ever. For example, in a typical year, the United States sees about 100 to 150 cases of “air rage”—passengers becoming violent or unruly on airplanes. In 2021, there were more than 5,700 cases, of which more than 4,100 were mask-related. The problem is not limited to the skies: As my colleague Olga Khazan writes, “disorderly, rude, and unhinged conduct seems to have caught on as much as bread baking and Bridgerton.”

You might not be disrupting a flight or assaulting a stranger in the street, but maybe you are more emotionally volatile than you would like—more prone to strong negative feelings, and more often ending up in confrontations you would prefer to avoid, perhaps with people you love. A friend of mine refers to COVID as “the Divorce Lawyers’ Full-Employment Act of 2020,” and indeed, evidence suggests that the pandemic has torn many families apart. Emerging data on adolescents abroad show that emotional reactivity—when emotions are unstable in response to the stressors of ordinary life—increased during the pandemic.

Whenever I hear about these incidents, I think of the best life advice I ever got, from my older brother: “Don’t freak out.” He was giving me a parenting tip, but really, it applies to everything in life. Freaking out—“emotional flooding,” in social-science jargon—never seems to make matters better, and we nearly always regret it. The fact that freak-outs may be happening with particular frequency right now is an opportunity to understand the phenomenon in ourselves and learn to manage our emotions better. If we do, we will be equipped with a skill that helps us be better friends, parents, spouses, and professionals, even when the pandemic is nothing but a distant memory…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE