The Tipping Point To Reflect Back On Self-care

The Tipping Point
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The Tipping Point

All people go through difficult challenges in life. No one is immune to challenge. But while most people heal and move on confidently and stronger, others get stuck in processing their issues, pent up emotions that become besetting baggage that hinders their progress. Suppressed emotions are like a landmine just awaiting a simple step-on before they explode into a destructive force. These suppressed emotions may reach a tipping point and blow the lid off, just like steam from a kettle under fire does.

Life inflicted wounds might cause people untold emotional, psycho-social, and physical pain. The causes range from betrayal, false accusations, broken relationships, family issues, feeling misunderstood, wayward children, chronic illness, separation and divorce, miscarriage, blended family issues, financial challenges, debts, and loss. Life transitions challenges through phases of adolescence, adulthood, midlife, menopause, empty-nesting, ageing, brings its share of challenges too. So does abandonment, rejection, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and unfinished projects. These challenges can be emotionally draining, energy consuming and disempowering to any individual.

Reflection: If you just take a moment to look back into your own life, you will realize that there is a time you probably have encountered one or more of the above challenges? With emotions set off to a high, what helped you to overcome? 

Left unattended, the kettle under fire will suddenly boil over, blast its lid off and splash hot contents to the surrounding. Things can get messy when we fall apart, as emotions can tip in the same way through angry outbursts, temper tantrums, uncontrollable tears, physical and verbal abuse, self-harm, projecting negative emotions to significant others, and destructive responses. That is what happens when one lacks the capacity to contain these emotions.

How can the tipping point be avoided? For the kettle under fire, we simply reduce the heat, allow some of the steam to escape, or remove the kettle from the heat source altogether. “Turn off the fire” sounds simple – but isn’t it always easier said than done when it comes to turning off the emotional pressures waiting to explode all around us? Just like the contents in the boiling kettle, people are pressured by various issues in their hearts and minds, there is need to get it all together, to gain some control before things get out of hand. Turning down the heat may involve actions such as positive self-talk, or even crying.

Tears have their place Crying is anatural action and not always a sign of weakness as some cultures dictate. Women cry easily as tears give them healing release. They cry with others as well, sometimes tears of joy, other times tears of pain. Men on the other hand suppress their emotions and strive to man-up when they may be breaking in the inside. On the other hand, incessant crying is an issue of concern. Imagine a baby who cries all the time- though rare, ceaseless crying by a baby can cause even a strong mother to reach breaking point as feelings of helplessness take over. It is ok to cry; however, when someone cries at the slightest provocation, it may be a not just a sign of weakness but may also spell that there are underlying issues that need attention. Here are some nine tips to control the tipping over of emotions.

  • Acknowledge the pain you are going through: Painful emotions such as betrayal, loss, and grief, work-related issues, family issues ought to be acknowledged and shared. Suppressing them only leads to accrued emotional pain.
  • Express your emotions: Like an unzipped briefcase that falls apart spilling over its content, masking emotions will be to your detriment when you cannot contain them any longer. It is important to express how you feel. The tipping point will be avoided easily.
  • Journal your feelings: Pouring out your feelings in a journal offers a private place to vent out and help one to become calmer, less anxious, and more in control of the troubling situation.
  • Simplify your life: The global pandemic (COVID-19) experience has reminded people to put their priorities right. Life is not as serious as we often make it to look like. A change in perspective can lead to a change of lifestyle for the better.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle and feeding habits. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated, eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, avoid over-processed foods and indulgence in alcohol, break other bad habits and socialize with others who add value into your life.
  • Self-care: exercise, engage in outdoor activities, walk, enjoy the sunshine and nature around you, get adequate sleep, minimize screen time and engage in healthy leisure.
  • Positive self-appraisal: Avoid negative phrases about yourself.
  • Seek social support: Family and friends enhance the quality of our lives. We all need a sense of belonging and a place to turn to when faced with a need or crisis.
  • Seek professional support: Counsellors/Therapists, psychiatrists are some of the trained professionals to help people deal with issues and chart the way forward.

Get in touch with a Therapist/Counsellor at the Mind & Beyond Counselling Centre. For enquires, clarification, individual, group, couple, family therapy and online counselling.

References

  1. Dickinson, R. (2019). Self-care: Relax Mind, Body & Spirit. SJG Publishing, HP226NF, UK.
  • George, M. (1998). Learn to Relax: A practical Guide to Easing Tension & Conquering Stress. Chronicle Books San Francisco, CA: USA
  • Jordan, M. (2008). Wilderness Skills for Women: How to Survive Heartbreak and other Full-Blown Meltdowns. B&H Pub. House Tennessee: USA
  • Sandford, P. (2007). Healing for a Woman’s Emotions: Released from Damaging Thoughts and Emotions. Charisma House, Florida: USA

The Author Dr Jane Nyutu PhD. is a counselling psychologist, the founding Director and lead advisor at Mind & Beyond Counselling Centre.

Email: [email protected] Telephone: +254705270521


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