We're Not Powerless

young Black professional woman feeling stressed
Stephanie Schwenn Sebring Photo
Contributing Writer
Fab Prose & Professional Writing

2 minutes

9 coping mechanisms to gain control of negative emotions and build a healthier long-term perspective

Fear, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed all contribute to burnout for women. However, there are coping mechanisms that can give immediate relief and a healthier long-term perspective.

CUES member Leo Ardine, president/CEO of $304 million United Teletech Financial Federal Credit Union, Red Bank, New Jersey, and a certified professional coach and founder of Wisdom Leadership Group LLC, has spent several years coaching individuals on overcoming a variety of negative stress responses. “The trick is to acknowledge what you’re feeling and move through it quickly to an emotion or a response that would better serve you, the moment, or another person—whether it’s an email, a conversation, or something else.”

For example, to feel happier and more in control of your negative emotions, Ardine suggests that you:

  • Have self-awareness. If you’re snapping at people or embarrassed about something you said, take a step back. Ask, “What’s triggering me?”
  • Acknowledge that what we’re going through will eventually change. Who knew how to have a pandemic? Of course, it feels awkward, uncomfortable, and scary with the threat of illness. Are you doing the best you can in this moment? Good, now breathe!
  • Pause a few times daily and take deep breaths. Fill your belly and chest up to your shoulders and let it out slowly. Breathe in through your nose for three seconds, pause, and ever so slowly, out through your mouth for six. Do this a few times in a row; close your eyes if you like. Try this before a meeting, call or sending that email, and definitely before you enter your home or family room.
  • Minimize triggers. We can do some things to help alleviate the sense of threat we’re feeling today.
  • Limit exposure to social media or opinion news. Determine your acceptable dose and use technology (phone or computer) to limit it.
  • Switch off. Change your email settings from “push” notifications to “pull” (you get them when you’re ready). Ensure there are no smartphones or computers in the bedroom.
  • Cultivate moments of quiet; let your mind rest. A quiet walk in nature is often useful. So is a cup of tea before the rest of the house is awake.
  • Serve others. We work in an industry devoted to helping others. How can you turn the aspects of that work into real service? Service pulls us out of ourselves and allows the focus to move to the one that’s needing help. In that process, we stimulate empathy and, in turn, lessen our load.
  • Connect to the extent that it’s possible and safe. Spend time with people who are good for you. And just be you—not the executive, colleague, parent, spouse, or partner.

Stephanie Schwenn Sebring established and managed the marketing departments for three CUs and served in mentorship roles before launching her business. As owner of Fab Prose & Professional Writing, she assists credit unions, industry suppliers and any company wanting great content and a clear brand voice. Follow her on Twitter @fabprose.

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