FEELINGS

I FEEL STRESSED

 

Some stress can be good when it pushes you to accomplish your goals. However, too much stress can affect your well-being.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Check The Basics
  • Write it all out: Focus on what you can do!
  • Identify and define the problem – set a goal; brainstorm realistic solutions and look at pros and cons – choose the best solution and plan how you will attain it.
  • Talk to someone who cares about you, who can provide support or help. It’s ok to ask for advice or to let them know you just need support/ to be listened to
  • Balance work and play and spend time on things you enjoy such as your hobbies
  • Try to exercise / Be active on a regular basis
  • If you often feel tense, set aside 20 minutes, YouTube “Progressive Muscle Relaxation” and let yourself relax by engaging in the  exercise. Notice any changes in how you feel.
  • Practice calm breathing or other relaxation exercises (see link below)
  • If the stress persists for many weeks, causes distress or impairs your functioning, consider getting help (see resources).

I FEEL ANXIOUS

 

When you feel anxious, it is important to acknowledge it and consider some coping strategies you can use.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Check The Basics
  • Identify the triggers that make you feel anxious and write them in a journal
  • If you are worrying about something that is happening right now, identify what the problem is and problem-solve (see www.anxietycanada.com/Problem-Solving)
  • If you often feel tense, set aside 20 minutes, YouTube “Progressive Muscle Relaxation” and let
    yourself relax by engaging in the exercise. Notice any changes in how you feel.
  • Recognize that your thoughts aren’t facts. Develop a more balanced way of thinking (see how:
    www.anxietybc.com/Realistic-Thinking)
  • Use a healthy distraction (do something you enjoy) when solving the problem isn’t an option
  • Find positive people to be around and talk to someone you trust
  • Talk out loud to yourself the way you talk to a friend going through the same thing – this can be reassuring. Make sure to show yourself compassion, not criticism!
  • If the stress persists for many weeks, causes distress or impairs your functioning, consider getting help (see resources).

I FEEL DOWN / DEPRESSED

 

Bad days happen. It’s normal to not always be happy, but feelings of sadness can persist and become
overwhelming.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Check The Basics
  • Have someone – a friend, a confidante, a counselor – that you can talk to or debrief with
  • Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend. Make sure to show yourself compassion, not criticism!
  • Recognize that your thoughts aren’t facts. Learn to put them to the test:
    psychhealthandsafety.org/pcwhc
  • Go for a walk or do some physical activity.
  • Do something you enjoy (or once enjoyed), even if you don’t initially feel up for it.
  • Accomplish something, no matter how small.If you are feeling distressed by your emotions or feel as though it is impairing your functioning, consider consulting a mental health professional (see resources)

I FEEL TIRED

 

Prioritize sleep, no matter how busy you are. If you are feeling tired much of the time or are having difficulty sleeping, follow these tips:

OTHER TIPS:

If you continue to feel tired or are experiencing insomnia, and it is affecting how you function during the day, make an appointment with a doctor (see resources).

i

READ MORE

I FEEL INCOMPETENT

 

It’s so common for students to feel incompetent that there’s a term for it: the imposter syndrome (Google it!). Try to reframe your thoughts into more constructive ones.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Check The Basics
  • Talk to someone. Even people you look up to have likely felt similarly.
  • Talk to yourself as you’d talk to a friend: Notice the difference between telling yourself “I’m a failure” and “Even though I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, at least I gave it a shot”. Practice speaking to yourself in this
    way, daily.
  • Accept failure, learn from it, and move on. If you’re not failing, you may not be trying new things!
  • Recognize when it’s normal to feel or be incompetent. No one is pro at anything on first attempt
  • Give yourself praise for all things that you do accomplish, whether big or small (e.g. started reviewing
    my course notes, learned from failure, responded to an e-mail, gave affection to my pet, took a shower).
    Make a list of your accomplishments.
  • If you have high standards for yourself or if things never seem to be good enough, see links on perfectionism below.
  • Engage in activities that give you a sense of accomplishment to gain motivation (even if it’s just washing one of those bowls that have been lying around in your sink).
  • Fake it ‘til you make it.
  • If you doubt your professional or academic choices, make an appointment with a counsellor or an academic
    advisor to chat about it (see resources).

I FEEL ANGRY / UPSET

 

Being hurt by someone’s actions can make us angry. When we hold on to these negative emotions, it can be destructive for our self-esteem and health. It can also cause us to act out irrationally, which leads to escalating
emotions and uncontrollable situations.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Check The Basics
  • Try acknowledging the feeling and reason for your anger (e.g. are you emotionally hurt?)
  • Are you upset over something that you can accept and let go? Or do you need to talk about it with the involved individuals?
  • If you need to communicate your anger, use assertive communication to avoid escalating the conflict:
    psychology.tools
  • If you are feeling distressed by your anger, have difficulty controlling your anger, feel as though it is impairing your functioning, or if it is causing you to do things that are hurtful to yourself or others, or to do
    things you regret, consider consulting a mental health professional (see resources).

I FEEL LONELY

 

Everyone feels alone from time to time. This is normal and does not have to last long.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Check The Basics
  • Think about what is making you lonely. Do you miss people, or feel misunderstood by them?
  • Make new connections. Follow your interests towards like-minded people.
  • Open up. Confide in a trusted friend or family member about how you are feeling. Sharing your feelings can make you feel less alone.
  • Take it slow. Start with activities you feel comfortable with (e.g. whether that be one-on-one, chatting with people online or large group activities)
  • Avoid comparisons.
  • Social media often tempts us to compare our lives to the lives that others depict on social media – don’t fall for it! We all put our best selves on social media, not our everyday selves.
  • Check in with your feelings. Are you feeling stressed, sad, depressed, anxious? See the rest of this website for help!
  • Get some help. If you continue to feel lonely, or that your mood or anxiety is getting in the way of connecting with people, please consider consulting a mental health professional (see resources).

I AM GRIEVING

 

Losing a loved one can be extremely painful. Many people will feel a range of emotions and these often come in waves. Some may have difficulty feeling anything at all.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Connect with caring and supportive people. Don’t be afraid to ask for support.
  • Give yourself enough time. Grieving can be a long process.
  • Let yourself feel whatever you need to feel.
  • Express yourself with friends or in a journal.
  • As grief diminishes over time, allow yourself to reengage with things that you enjoy
  • If you are having difficulty coping with grief, are feeling distressed or feel as if this is impairing your functioning,
    consider consulting a mental health professional (see resources).
i

READ MORE

MY EMOTIONS ARE OUT OF CONTROL

 

University is a stressful time and can be overwhelming. It is important to learn strategies to cope with our emotions so that they don’t interfere with our ability to enjoy our lives and be productive at school.

Don’t make decisions or act on something until you’re in a calm place and are feeling more neutral. Everything seems less manageable when our emotions are high. Try these techniques to help bring yourself down to a more neutral state:

 

FOR THE FUTURE

Consider the following strategies (PLEASE):

P & L Treat Physical Illness – treat any immediate physical needs
E Eating – eat a well-balanced diet, reduce excess sugar consumption
A Altering Drugs – avoid taking drugs unless prescribed by your doctor
S Sleep – getting enough sleep is essential for emotion regulation
E Exercise – move your body at least once a day!

  • Check your basics!
  • If you are having difficulty coping with your emotions, are feeling distressed or feel as if this is impairing your functioning, consider consulting a mental health professional (see resources).

GET HELP

Consider talking to a mental health professional (see resources)

I FEEL OVERWEIGHT

 

Most people, at some point, will feel “fat” or that they are overweight.

r

PRO-TIP:

Remember: “Fat is not a feeling.

  • If fat is not a feeling, then ask yourself: what am I really feeling?
  • Do you accept yourself the way you are or are you very self-critical? Recognize your triggers
  • Why are you feeling this way?
  • You might be triggered by comparing yourself to other people. Learn to change the negative self-talk into positive, loving thoughts.
  • Shower yourself with thoughts of “I love myself.” “I accept myself.”
  • Write a list of things that you like about your body – whether they are physical attributes or things that your body can do

Make a commitment to accept your body right now, the way it is.

  • Hating your body will not change it.
  • Accepting your body is the first step towards having healthy body image.

Be easy on yourself.

  • It is hard for most people to have positive body image these days.
  • Be patient with yourself
  • If you are having difficulty coping with these feelings, are feeling distressed or feel as if this is impairing your functioning, consider consulting a mental health professional (see resources).

I HATE MY BODY

 

Having feelings of hating your body is unfortunately very common.

r

PRO-TIP:

Stop negative self-talk immediately

  • While you still may not like what you see in the mirror, learning to describe yourself with neutral, objective phrases can help stop the cycle of poor self-esteem.

Focus on the things you like about your looks.

  • Every time you look in the mirror, say something positive to yourself.
  • Find other things about yourself to be proud of (like your accomplishments)

Respect Yourself

  • Take care of the body you have, now.

Say what you mean.

  • Sometimes negative body thoughts are a way of expressing discontent over other issues in your life – self-reflect and determine whether other areas of your life need work.

Dress the part.

  • Don’t delay buying clothes. Buy what fits you, what you like, and look the very best you can.

Celebrate body diversity!

  • Consider becoming a champion for bodypositivity!
  • If these thoughts turn into behaviours, and you begin to binge and/ or purge, or restrict your calories, please consult a mental health professional(see resources).

I AM ADDICTED

 

The misuse of substances like drugs or alcohol often starts as a way of coping with difficult situations. When people continue using substances despite harmful consequences (e.g., difficulties at school, at work or in relationships), they might have a substance use problem.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Consult with your doctor. Stopping may lead to withdrawal symptoms,which can sometimes be medically dangerous. Your doctor can also direct you to appropriate treatment services in your area.
  • Find a local support group: www.champlainhealthline.ca/listServices
  • List the pros and cons of using. One of the first steps towards recovery is feeling certain that you want to
    change.
  • Keep a substance use diary. This might help you measure your use, identify problem situations and track your progress over time.
  • Identify your triggers. Think of when, where, and with whom you typically use. You may need to prepare a plan
    on how to handle cravings in these situations, or avoid them entirely.
  • Make a contract with yourself, and set clear and realistic goals for reducing your use.
  • Practice saying no. Prepare different ways of saying no in tempting situations. Enlist the help of friends and family. Let them know that you’re stopping. Ask them to help you manage or avoid triggers.
  • Learn to cope with cravings. Try delaying your use by 30 minutes (your cravings will likely lessen), distracting yourself with other activities, reviewing your pros and cons list, and relaxation.
  • Self-care. Make sure you’re taking care of your physical needs (e.g., drinking water, exercising, eating regularly,
    getting enough sleep).
  • If you are feeling distressed, if this is causing you to do or say things that are harmful to you or others or if you
    feel as that this is impairing your functioning, consider consulting a mental health professional or call the Ontario Drug and Alcohol Helpline: 1-800-565-8603 (see resources).

I CAN'T REACH MY GOALS

 

University can be overwhelming. It is important to set realistic, achievable goals in order to feel successful and
encouraged.

r

PRO-TIP: SET SMART GOALS

Specific

  • Be very specific about whatyou want to achieve
  • E.g. “I want to exercise this semester” vs. “This semester I will be working out 60 mins/day, 3 days per week”

Measurable

  • When will you know when your goal is reached?
  • E.g. “I know I have reached my goal each week when I have worked out for 60 minutes on three occasions throughout a given week”

Attainable

  • How will you meet this goal?
  • E.g. “I will go to yoga once a week, bike once a week, and go to a gym class once a week”

Realistic

  • Is it possible for me to reach this goal?
  • Can I take the necessary steps to get there?
  • Can I overcome the hurdles that I anticipate will occur? What obstacles do I expect to face? How can I overcome them?

Timely

  • How long will it realistically take to achieve this goal?
  • E.g. “I can start next week. I may need to take a break when I am on vacation in June but can resume when I return to the city a week later”

CONSIDER THESE EXTRA POINTS:

  • Are you trying to get too much done?
  • Try: breaking down tasks into smaller chunks
  • Write these tasks down and cross them off when you’re done
  • Plan ahead.
  • Prioritize goals – you can’t do everything!
  • If you have high standards for yourself or if things never seem to be good enough, see links on perfectionism
    below.
i

READ MORE

www.anxietycanada.com/Perfectionism

Book: Overcoming Perfectionism (Shafran, Egan, & Wade, 2010)

I FEEL LIKE LIFE ISN'T WORTH LIVING

 

Many factors contribute to someone developing thoughts of suicide. When hope is overcome by despair, these thoughts may be hard to control, and you might find this to be very scary. It’s important to know that like other difficult thoughts and emotions, thoughts of suicide are temporary, and with help, can and do subside.

If you have a plan to end your life and intend on carrying it out, call 911 or go to the Emergency Department of a hospital.

r

PRO-TIP:

  • Connect with others or talk to someone you can open up to. Keep contacting people until you find someone who can help and support you.
  • If necessary, get rid of ways to hurt yourself or go to a place where you are safe.
  • Call a crisis line, go to a walk-in counselling clinic, make an appointment with your doctor or a mental
    health care provider (see resources).
  • Distract yourself: name 5 things that you can see/ hear/ smell/ touch right now. Take deep breaths (for other ideas: www.getselfhelp.co.uk/distract)
  • Do something you enjoy or once enjoyed (e.g. listen to upbeat music, go for a walk)
  • Think of reasons for living (e.g. family, friends, pets, recognizing that emotions are temporary, causes close to your heart, pride, hope, responsibility towards others, food or hobbies that you like, religious beliefs, etc) and future plans (can be big (e.g. career aspirations) or small (e.g. seeing a movie, having tea), write them down.
  • Remember things that have helped in the past
  • Develop a safety plan (use this: www.getselfhelp.co.uk/SafetyPlan)
  • If in distress, and if your health permits, take a cold shower or hold ice cubes in your hands. Your body will go into survival mode and it helps emotions go down.
  • Remember that all is temporary. Crises are time-limited. Solutions exist, feelings change and unexpected positive events happen.

I FEEL WORRIED ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE

 

If someone you know is currently in distress, it is normal to be worried about them.

r

PRO-TIP:

Engage

  • Listen actively and encourage them to speak if comfortable to do so. Avoid trying to problem-solve and don’t assume.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Just be ready to respond with support and empathy

Express concern

  • Use a neutral tone and clearly express your care and concern. Offer support.
  • E.g. “I have noticed that you haven’t wanted to come out with us recently, you’ve been sleeping a lot and missing classes. I’m worried because I know how much you care about school. Is something going on? I am here to help if you need me.”

Support

  • Be compassionate and empathetic. Reassure them that you want to help and are there to listen.

Refer

What if I disagree?

  • Don’t challenge them on their thoughts or beliefs – this won’t help. Keep the lines of communication open by validating the ruth in what they say (e.g. how they feel) and not confronting them.
  • If you notice that they are an immediate risk to themselves or another person, call 911 or take them to the emergency room.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are thinking about hurting themselves. You will not “put an idea in their
    head”. You will give them the chance to tell you about it.
  • Stay calm while interacting with them but be mindful of your own frustration. Don’t forget to attend to your own needs and know your limitations!