Managing Emotions with COPD
Mom was an emotional powerhouse. She had a quick smile, and burst into laughter easily. Because she had strong emotions, they could also be overwhelming, especially if she became discouraged or distressed. She was never mean, but let’s just say that when she was mad, you didn’t want to be on her bad side. As her lungs grew weaker, she grew more emotional. She learned a lot about managing emotions with COPD.
Taking Steps to Manage Emotions
Looking In – She knew how busy thoughts could lead to messy emotions. Sometimes when she felt feelings of anxiety or frustration starting, she would try and figure out the cause. Her chair and bed were surrounded by books, magazine articles, and of course, the internet. If she learned that some of her self pity was lingering around, she looked for things to be thankful for. If she were retelling a story from the past, she looked inside for what she called “Roots of Bitterness” and she pulled the weeds.
Looking in meant that she spent enough time alone to find a solution before she reached out. She looked at the big picture of her thoughts before she gave in to a big cry. She didn’t over look the value of a good whining and griping session, but she worked it out in her head first.
Reaching Out - Left alone, she sometimes grew restless. If there were an unexpected bill in the mail, it could throw her for a loop. Something happening with her kids? Oh my, she became fierce. If it were from a situation that she could change, get ready. When she knew that her actions would bring a solution, she was on it. A phone call, letter, text, or email was on the way to whoever she thought could help.
Reaching out was her way of asking for help or support. She approached it from a problem-solving viewpoint. She would think about what steps could lead to a calm resolution. By using her words to communicate ways of looking at the problem, she got creative. I watched her do that many times over the years and learned to do the same thing.
Little Steps Helped Us All
The process of looking in, and also reaching out, are important tools in directing our thoughts to the root of a problem. Instead of stewing in the emotion, she named it. I can still hear her saying, “That made me so darn mad”, or “Here’s what I told them”. Her proactive spirit lives on in me.
Raising 3 girls and a boy taught her a lot about communicating feelings. We were not a quiet bunch. As she learned to manage emotions with COPD, it helped us all. Most of the time, she did her inner work, and learned something about herself. If that wasn’t enough, she reached out and took action. Then, one of us kids were sure to hear about it later. Taking these steps helped dissolve some of the inner turmoil she was feeling. It also taught us to look in and reach out with our own strong feelings.
Have you taken our COPD In America Survey yet?