Welcome Wellness - Sometimes it’s not all rainbows: 3 ways to cope when things are bad

by our Wellness Officer for Psychiatry, Deirdre Conroy, Ph.D. 

There’s a lot going on these days: the pandemic, war, injustice, fires, violence, continued threats to the welfare of women and BIPOC communities, etc, etc. In addition to this, you may be experiencing conflict in your personal life. 

How do you respond? Do you feel that your suffering is not worthy of airtime because, after all, so many other people in the world are suffering? Do you tell others, “I’m fine thank you,” or “positive vibes only”?

When things feel really bad, sometimes we can fall into the habit of not acknowledging how we’re really feeling or expressing a lot of outward positivity. This can affect your own health negatively by pushing negativity inward. The relationships around you can also be negatively affected by keeping others in the dark about how you’re feeling. 

Here are 3 ways you can AIM to move through negative emotions when things are bad:

  1. Awareness of your emotions (e.g. irritated, frustrated, scared). Keeping these emotions cloaked in false positivity can be toxic to yourself and those around you.
  2. Invest time in others. Studies show that feeling part of something bigger than ourselves can help with negative emotions.
  3. Move the emotions: exercise, stretch, scream, share, move, meditate.

For additional resources, visit: https://wellnessoffice.med.umich.edu/knowledge-hub/resources/training-webinars


View all of Dr. Conroy's articles on the Welcome Wellness homepage.