E is for: A to Z of Emotional Health and Wellbeing
Continuing with the Emotional Wellbeing A-Z, we are now looking at the E’s
I’m sure there will be ones that are very meaningful for you that I may have missed and I would ask that you please do add these to the blog as it always helps to hear your thoughts views and feelings
There are a fair few to be chewing over, many of which I hope will help you increase your own emotional wellbeing and self-awareness. I will try and keep these a bit shorter and punchier with lots of ideas of how to achieve some of these.
Ego states – A theory devised by psychoanalyst Eric Berne. Berne studied the behaviour of people and came up with his theory of Transactional Analysis (TA). Here is a description of how Berne saw the interactions between people. For more info click here
“The unit of social intercourse is called a transaction. If two or more people encounter each other…sooner or later one of them will speak, or give some other indication of acknowledging the presence of the others. This is called transactional stimulus. Another person will then say or do something which is in some way related to the stimulus, and that is called the transactional response.“
Following on from this theory came Bernes Ego states – It was important I felt to outline what TA was as they intertwine with each other. I have inserted a diagram to help explain the Ego states below.
Mainly they represent our Parent, Adult Child and we can become any of them at any time depending on the situation e are in and how we are feeling. We can interact with our partners and take on the ͚parent state͛ (how many of us have done that) or decide that today we͛re not going to be an adult and respond in our ͚child state͛ (I know I͛ve done that) – The aim is to be able to interact as an adult with an adult in our ͚adult state͛.
E is for Embarrassed – This is a feeling that is often brought on by an external locus of evaluation. What does that mean? A locus of evaluation is a condition of worth we apply to ourselves and depending on where we look for those conditions, depends on whether we have an internal or external locus of evaluation. How do you spend your time and energy? Do you value others opinions of you more than your own, wondering what others might think of you, depending on others for advice, being embarrassed when you make a mistake? If so it is likely your LoE is external. If you are spending time and energy believing what you say, standing your ground (even when someone disagrees with you), relying on our own advice, openly admitting a mistake, we can be happy with ourselves irrespective of what others might say, then your LoE is likely to be internal. Working towards having an internal LoE will have a more positive effect on resilience and emotional wellbeing
E is for Empathy – One of my favourites for emotional wellbeing – Having empathy for someone is so different from being sympathetic to their situation. If you show empathy to another person it can demonstrate that you really do ͚get it͛, it can be a real difference to someone if they feel genuinely heard. It allows deeper exploration of what is going on for that person, they have the opportunity to feel listened to which in itself can be a huge relief. Someone hears me, Someone believes me. It is often said that people with autism do not feel empathy, I would disagree with this and am following research carefully. Although much of the evidence is anecdotal, my own experience is that empathy can be all encompassing, potentially triggering a sensory overload which could potentially be quite traumatic if you have an autism spectrum condition. Therefore, keeping oneself safe becomes a way of survival. And one way would be to build a barrier to the effects of empathy, therefore making it look to outsiders that empathy is not something that is experienced by people with autism.
E is for Empty – How I feel when I know I have a battle on regarding my child͛s education –Completely drained and empty of my emotions. At a time like that self-care it of the utmost importance. Meeting friends for a coffee, an early night, a night out with friends, A hot bath, a walk, meditation, a nap, whatever works for you, take the time and look after you. It will help you to deal with whatever it is that you need to in the coming hours, days or weeks ahead
E is for Emotional – Becoming emotional is a state we experience where we don͛t know what the ͚real͛ feeling is – I often become emotional when watching something sad or when one of my children achieve something I thought would never happen. These responses are often as a result of unprocessed feelings that may point to events in our own past or that of someone close to us. It is a good feeling to be aware of and even better if you can allow the feeling to ͚be͛ . Don͛t try and block it but allow the feeling to wash over you if that is possible (obviously if something impacts you in the middle of a meeting at work with the boss, then that might be a time to park it an explore it later, but don͛t avoid it)
E is for Enthusiastic –It͛s how I feel at the beginning of most days. I͛m the really annoying member of my family that wakes up singing ͚Good morning, good morning, see how the sun shines bright, good morning good morning to you͛ It doesn͛t always have the desired effect on other members of the family immediately but I know they appreciate my positive outlook to the day. My emotional wellbeing impacts on them and can rouse them out a ͚getting out of the bed the wrong side͛ kind of a moment
E is for Equality – I always find equality a bit of a tricky one as it should (If I can use that here) have quite a broad meaning that allows everyone to have equal rights, but, as we know this is rarely the case and because of this it leads to all sorts of other feelings being evoked. The idea in principle is great and something often strived for especially by those who experience a disability either directly or indirectly. Those that campaign for equality are really helping those if us that don͛t have the time or ability to do so for ourselves. I think where this fits in with emotional wellbeing is another one of those where we have ourselves have to look at alternatives to keep ourselves emotionally healthy – otherwise life can become one huge battle just to have the access to the things that should often be ours by right. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree it is right to campaign for what is rightfully yours it can be just as good for us to know when we need to stop, pause and regroup. Self-care is especially important here.
E is for Exams – Something that can have a huge impact on somebody͛s emotional wellbeing. Depending on the pressure applied by outside influences such as schools and colleges and the internal pressure applied to self to achieve can be the decider as to whether you get through the exam period unscathed or whether you temporarily fall apart. I say temporarily because often once the exams have passed then so the emotional responses pass, however it is good to have a toolkit to prevent the stress of exams overwhelming you. Something like……
E is for Excited -Another feeling I love – The anticipation of an event or seeing something or experiencing something longed for. I love that excited feeling. A great one to stick with to support good emotional wellbeing. Also something to be aware of with children though because it can be a confusing feeling for them and can often require adult intervention to name the emotion for them if they suspect that it is what the child is experiencing –Otherwise it can lead to tears and a feeling of being overwhelmed very quickly, leading adults to become confused about what is going on for the child. An example of this for me was once telling my son that I had booked for us to go on a trip he had been talking about for a long time. When the day came his excitement was so much that he became overwhelmed and refused to come out of his room. I was confused and upset because I didn͛t understand what was happening and he was upset because he didn͛t either . I could have avoided this happening by being understanding this and talking him through what might be going on for him.
E is for Exhilarated – An often wonderful feeling and great for emotional wellbeing. Allow that feeling to just be when you experience it.
E is for Exonerated – A feeling I have experienced myself when having to make decisions that I really wasn͛t confident about but that went well. An example of this for me was deciding that only an ASD specific school was the right environment for my son. I was challenged, albeit lightly, by professionals telling me that I was wrong (they didn͛t actually say that, but it was the only way to interpret the feedback I was. I am very pleased to say now, 11 moths later that I made the right decision and I truly felt exonerated.
E is for Expectant – Not one of my favourites if I͛m honest – Expectant implies an element of judgement, or perhaps that has been my experience to date. How do you feel about an expectant person or situation?
E is for Exposed – Another example of where your Locus of evaluation is (see Embarrassed for a definition). Work towards having an internal locus of evaluation and life will become easier to experience as your sense self and inner belief will reap you emotional well-being.
Debs is one of the co-founders and Directors of Bringing Us Together. She is mum to three child with a variety of SEND and has a great husband.