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Our emotions provide us with essential information about our psychological and emotional well-being in various situations. But is knowing about how we feel enough? What happens then when we feel emotionally overwhelmed

The Covid-19 pandemic hit the world by surprise and economy across the globe was also hit by the sudden change. In Singapore, unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in the last decade and the number of job opportunities is at its lowest. (Nupus, 2020). These are probably not the most motivating statistics there is out there, but it proves that you are definitely not alone in this. Thankfully, all adversities have an expiration date! The good news is Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat, announced plans to provide 21,000 traineeships for fresh graduates in a variety of industries such as marketing, sports nutrition and social work(Ho, 2020). Even though the job market seems more competitive than ever, it does not mean that all is doom and gloom.

 

Job application process can be rather daunting and the fate of a successful application appears to be in the hands of the employer. As one waits to receive a response from prospective hiring managers, the wait time can be rather stressful, worrying, and perhaps even anxiety provoking. Or, if one experiences multiple rejections or simply not hearing back from the organization of interest may lead to one feeling disheartened and possibly questioning their abilities. All these emotions are real and valid to the situation in hand. However, is knowing our emotions enough? Is there more that we can do? How can we bounce back from each unsuccessful job application? Being aware of our emotions is the first step to getting to know more about ourselves and why we feel certain emotions, what are some thoughts that we have about the situation, and what can we do to help ourselves. Therefore, we need to go beyond just identifying and acknowledging the emotions that we feel. Our emotions are like an iceberg, and being aware is just the tip of it.

Here are some aspects of emotions you should know:

Why is understanding our emotions so important

Understanding why we experience our emotions is crucial because our emotions are informative. They provide us with essential information about our psychological and emotional well-being, they also help us to generalise and compartmentalise future situations as our brain remembers the emotions that we experience. Furthermore, we are actually more aware of how we feel more than how we think (Nathan, Rees, Lim, & Correia, 2003). This means when we are emotionally overwhelmed our judgements might be clouded and eventually affect the decisions we make. Thus, by understanding our emotions we are effectively taking charge of them and deciding how it affects us.

 

Differentiate when your emotions lead to healthy and unhealthy behavior 

It is very easy to know that we are experiencing an emotion but it is a lot harder to identify if these emotions are healthy or unhealthy for us. We would like first to address that emotion themselves are not defined as “healthy” or “unhealthy”, but rather it is our responses and behaviours after the experience of an emotion (Chernyak, 2019).

As humans, we all react to our emotions very differently. Some of us choose to deal with it quietly in our room, while some of us take it out by punching a wall. A sign that you could use to see if the way you are handling your emotions is healthy or unhealthy is how you feel after you react to your emotions. If you feel way worse than before, it could be a sign that your behaviour or the way you cope is unhealthy. (Chernyak, 2019)

How we deal with our emotions is important because it is the behaviour (what we do with our emotions) that people see and not the emotions itself. Therefore, avoid overreacting or becoming overly anxious and instead try going out for a walk, talking to someone, or simply just enrolling yourself in a kickboxing gym. By doing so, you can slowly transform unhealthy responses into much healthier ones. (Chernyak, 2019)

 

Ways to manage your emotions

With that being said, here are more practical tips on ways to manage your emotions in a much healthier way.

  1. Take some time to process your emotions

One of the biggest lies that we tell ourselves is, as long as we don’t think about it, it will go away eventually. As much as we all would love to wish that is true, it almost isn’t. Just like Inside Out, not all emotions are fun like Joy. Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of it is to deal with these emotions by taking the time to sit down and process what we are feeling, even if it is unpleasant.

So, get a piece of paper and process your emotions by writing your answers to these following questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. What were your thoughts?
  3. How did you feel?
  4. How did you respond?
  5. What are you going to do now?

 

  1. Take the time to upgrade yourself as you wait to hear back from prospective employers

Instead of putting yourself down, pick yourself up by diverting your attention into the different ways that you can occupy yourself as you wait on the responses from prospective employers. Perhaps, you can look into upgrading yourself by using this time to discover what type of jobs would suit you the best. Then read a couple of job descriptions and take note of the skills they are looking for and ask yourself, “do I have the required set of skills?”  And even if you do have the required set of skills that they are looking for, try looking into courses that are complimentary for your profession (Joseph, 2020) as “one of the tricks of not falling behind is to keep on learning” (Joseph, 2020).

The good news is, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, many universities have come forward to announce that they would be providing people with free online courses, and Harvard being one of the universities is currently offering 67 free online courses with printable certificates, from courses ranging from computer Science, Social Science, Data Science, Humanities, Business, Health & Medicine, Mathematics, Programming to Education & Training. (The Jakarta Post, 2020). With these opportunities at hand, it is definitely a great time to not only learn new things but to also keep yourself updated with the current economy.

It is important to note that we are all just humans and sometimes, our emotions can become overwhelming. However, you do not have to deal with these emotions on your own and it is okay to ask for help when things are just beyond your reach. If you ever find yourself in the position where you are unable to deal with your own emotions or if you know of someone who is facing this problem, here are some resources that will be able to provide some help. You can call on the following numbers for immediate advice/help:

  • National CARE Hotline: 1800-202-686
  • Community Psychology Hub Online Counselling: cphonlinecounselling.sg
  • Mental Health Helpline: 6389 2222 (24 hours)
  • Counselling Helpline: 1800-283 7019
  • Helpline: 6757 7990
  • SOS: writing to pat@sos.org.sg, or calling the 24-hour hotline at 1800-221 4444

 

Camellia Wong (M.A), Demi Ng

 

References

Chernyak, P. (2019, March 29). How to Tell the Difference between Healthy and Unhealthy Emotions. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Tell-the-Difference-Between-Healthy-and-Unhealthy-Emotions

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (2014, May 4). Improve Your Perspective Using Cognitive Reappraisal. Retrieved from

http://cogbtherapy.com/cbt-blog/2014/5/4/hhy104os08dekc537dlw7nvopzyi44

 Ho, O. (2020, June 6). Singapore more prepared to help fresh graduates than in 1997. Retrieved from

https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/singapore-more-prepared-to-help-fresh-graduates-than-in-1997

Joseph, S. (2020, June 27). Lost Your Job Due To Covid-19? Here’s How To Stay Competitive.

Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelcyvjoseph/2020/06/27/lost-your-job-due-to-covid-19-heres-how-to-stay-competitive/#187a658968e7

Nathan, P., Rees, C., Lim, L., & Correia, H. (2003). Back from the Bluez. Perth, Western Australia: Centre for Clinical Interventions. Retrieved from https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/-/media/CCI/Consumer-Modules/Back-from-The-Bluez/Back-from-the-Bluez—03—The-Thinking-Feeling-Connection.pdf

Nupus, H. (2020, June 15). Singapore: Unemployment highest level in decade. Retrieved from

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/singapore-unemployment-highest-level-in-decade/1877741

 

The Jakarta Post (2020, April 16). Harvard University offers 67 free courses for those in quarantine. Retrieved from https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/04/16/harvard-university-offers-67-free-online-courses-for-those-in-quarantine.html

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