This CMHA Mental Health Week, we’re diving into how we feel. It’s hard to deal with our emotions when we don’t know what we’re feeling.
You may have been taught to push your bad feelings away, but research shows that understanding and naming our feelings can make sadness, anger and pain feel less intense.
And there’s no question—these pandemic times of pain and anxiety are intense! New CMHA research with UBC found that 77 per cent of Canadian adults experienced so-called negative emotions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Common responses include feeling ‘worried or anxious,’ ‘bored,’ ‘stressed,’ ‘lonely or isolated’ and ‘sad.’
Many of us are exercising outdoors to deal with the stress, but one in five are using substances like drugs and alcohol to cope.
Unfortunately, ignoring our unpleasant feelings, and going numb, just makes them dig their heels in. They can take us on a scary rollercoaster and make it hard to get a hold on them. Emotion science tells us that naming how we feel helps put the brakes on.
So, this year, CMHA is focusing on how naming, expressing and dealing with our emotions—even when they’re uncomfortable—can make us feel better.
When we understand and work with our emotions, this helps protect our mental health, during tough times like the pandemic and throughout all stages of life. Indeed, when we understand how we are feeling, we are better able to understand and empathize with others, too. That helps create a climate of support and acceptance.
Heavy, painful feelings lighten when we put them into words. This Mental Health Week, don’t go uncomfortably numb. #GetReal about how your feel. Name it, don’t numb it.
Mental Health Week is May 3-9. For info and tools, visit mentalhealthweek.ca.