Workshop: Management of emotions in moments of uncertainty

From confinement, the reality of working from home is much more like a race of psychological obstacles than a forced vacation: dealing with uncertainty, fear of the consequences of confinement, cut wages, attending to housework, self and family care ... and also work as if nothing had happened.

The current situation forces us to exercise the role of employee, father / mother, son, cook, school teacher and caregiver ... at the same time, which inevitably affects our mental balance and our performance as an employee.

The workshop included Management of emotions in times of uncertainty born with the aim of put mental order in this chaos, offer techniques to reduce anxiety and thus work with less psychological burden.

It is an online but interactive training that allows employees to share how they feel, work on their emotions and acquire psychological tools.

Workshop Features:

  • They count 2.5h online
  • Workshop adapted to the concerns of the participants through a previous questionnaire.
  • Psychological strategies are taught to detect irrational thoughts and adapt them to reality.
  • During the workshop all the participants apply the learned strategies adjusting their own concerns. This decreases anxiety and increases the feeling of control.

More than the 80 employees who have done it highlight that it has helped them to get to know each other better, stop the chain of negative thoughts and act more closely to reality ... all of which reinforces their resilience and equips them to deal with situations of high uncertainty.

Common concerns about Coronavirus

The Covid-19 has turned our world upside down without previous warning.

The current uncertainty to which we are subjected to plus the forced lockdown can generate significant psychological instability that can interfere with our wellbeing. Specifically, the state of confinement places us in an uncomfortable position of little control. This threat activates primitive fears and a strong sense of submission to external circumstances that can arise important anxiety. It places us in a regressive place from which we may feel that we cannot make use of our adult resources, like deciding and acting accordingly.

Some of the most common concerns at the moment are:

  • Am I infected?
  • What happens if I got it, what happens to me and my family?
  • Will my family members be safe?
  • What will happen to my work situation?
  • I have a relative infected with the coronavirus. I can't see him and suffer because of that.
  • I juggle my job responsibilities and caring for my family. I am more stressed than ever and I'm going crazy.
  • I have a hard time focusing on my work tasks.
  • I feel stressed and anxious and am not sure how to handle it.

Feelings of confusion, stress, loss and anxiety are absolutely normal given the current circumstances. However, if these affects our wellbeing or erodes our relationships, they must be addressed.

How does psychological support help during confinement?

We all go through difficulties in life that can be handled with our own resources. However, when these difficulties pile up, we can feel overwhelmed and anxious.

Psychological support during lockdown can help to:

  • understand how we feel,
  • understand why we feel that way,
  • implement mechanisms so that these emotions do not become overwhelming or have side effects on our personal relationships.

Also, received in early stages can prevent the development of serious mental health problems.

What's more, psychological support is strongly recommended for those who have experienced mental difficulties in the past, as the current situation can only add more stress and increase existing mental instability.

Job insecurity among young adults

The difficulty to find a job, despite many years of college studies and the job insecurity in Spain, are an increasing reality among young adults. Moreover, the prolonged frustration derived from not finding a decent job can lead to anxiety, stress and depression (in students) and hopelessness in their parents.

In this short interview in the television program "It's Happening" -EITB- you will find:

  • Some helpful tips to deal with this reality.
  • What HR recruiters value in graduate inexperienced students.
  • Tips on how parents can support their children throughout the job search.

I hope you find it useful.

Click here to view video

Risk Factors (while abroad) of a student

Beyond the known "culture shock" suffered by students from elsewhere, there are other risk factors that occur once settled which greatly aggravate their proper adjusting process and prevent them from having a good experience.

After months of preparation and expectations they finally arrive to Barcelona, ​​but nothing is what it seemed; sometimes it even rains and Spaniards speak so fast and with such a weird accent... Aspects which never crossed their mind, but can get used to by transiting through the common culture shock process.

However, there is another set of factors that tend to erode as a Malayan drop and that take their toll within two or three weeks. These are caused by their personality traits or exceptional situations they might go through.

So, if studying abroad seemed a simple thing, being able to turn it into a satisfying experience, ultimately depends on: previous factors and situational factors that take place while abroad. Among the most important:

  • Not belonging to a group of friends in the first month.
  • Not relating to any of the students in the program.
  • Feeling anxious, listless, unmotivated, not wanting to leave the room, feeling sad ... all of which with no apparent reason.
  • Feeling overwhelmed and extremely lost.
  • Feeling deeply anxious and unable to be alone or to not keep themselves constantly busy.
  • Having something serious happening to their loved ones while being in Barcelona.
  • Constant difficulty to concentrate in class and even needing to run away.

If any of these vital circumstances appear it is recommended to ask for help AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to a psychologist who is familiar with this type of issues. In most cases, if the intervention is at the beginning, there is a very high chance of being able to redirect the problem. Fortunately, human beings have a great capacity to adapt, and more when receiving support. Hence most students end up being able to go back to track and transform hell in a very good life experience.

Myths about anxiety

"I am anxious, when I lay down to sleep I cannot stop mulling things over, my heart beats so fast it seems to jump out of my chest, I am running out of air and am sure will suffer a heart attack ...".

Often, life situations places us out of our comfort zone and confronts us with our own resources. It is common to think that by aging we learn to have things under control and that the experience of going through many situations is an antidote to suffering and anxiety.

Anxiety, due to its disabling and annoying symptoms, is seen as the bad cop, and is often closely related to the next prejudices:

• Anxiety is the enemy to fight against.

Maybe.

As any painful, disturbing and inexplicable feeling, our first natural reaction is to try to get rid of it. However, if we take advantage of it and read between the lines, anxiety can be taken as a sign of alarm. It can be a useful source of information that reveals that something is not working properly, that there are situations that fracture our balance. It might be the reflect of pending internal conflicts.

• Sure there is a way of controlling anxiety through my thoughts!

Another extended believe I hear frequently is the statement "sure there is a way to control anxiety through controlling my thoughts"… as if there were a magic phrase, a mental trick (for instance to draw a blank) or a talisman that as a plaster can avoid such discomfort. Unfortunately, the rational control is not always able to fight emotionally based issues.

In these cases, the best way to reduce anxiety and prevent future episodes, is to find its origin to understand where it steams from, confront it and find a better outlet (accept what it going on, take action, etc.). Only by confronting the underlying issue, anxiety can be eradicated.

The American nightmare: Studying Abroad

Beach, paella, bullfights, parties, alcohol ... are some of the siren songs that attract American students when choosing Barcelona as a destination to complete their studies.

They expect to have fun as ever, start from scratch, grow as a person and some even reinvent themselves. " Become a self made man" as the American dream.

However, they find a very different reality: they do not know the country, culture, language, future fellows ... So instead of the imagined paradise, they are confronted with highly stressful situations which produce uncertainty and above all, a lot of anxiety.

Some of the worries they share with me in my office are:

  • "I feel I do not fit. I thought I would make new friends here but I feel different from them. Some go out and drink too much. I wish I could also do other things, but I feel dragged by them otherwise I feel very lonely. "
  • "I've been here for three weeks and feel more and more nervous and anxious. I overthink and have trouble sleeping. "
  • "I doubt whether I can finish my studies here, sometimes I am looking forward to going back home, I miss my family and my friends."
  • "I'm reflecting on what to do with my life,I thought I had it all figured out but now I begin to doubt it."
  • "I had wised to come to Barcelona for a long time. Before coming, I did not feel totally accomplished and thought that by coming to Barcelona I would feel better, but I feel much worse. "

The solution to all these concerns depends on each case and person.

The first step is to always check the personal and family expectations associated with the studying abroad experience. Once they are detected we can take off some unreal excess load ("become a great person in three months", "become what I never was before," "leave my problems behind ") and adjust them to the external and internal current reality.

Once the expectations are adjusted , the future begins to look in a different colour, and you will feel more capable and start to relate others in a more adapted way.

Although it seems unbelievable, these doubts are an opportunity to develop self-awareness, strengthen self-confidence and to get off this experience with an helpful luggage.