Whenever an emotional emergency arises – and let me assure you, at one point in your life, the negative feelings will hit you – a first-aid kit for your emotions is something can make all the difference. In this post, I will show you, how you can prepare it and what should go into it.
You can and should prepare these things while you are feeling good and add them to your emotional first-aid-kit:
- A list of good rituals for your self-care
- Prepare a box of beautiful things you love
- A list of things that make you smile or laugh out loud. Please add links to videos, texts or pictures that make you smile so you can click on them immediately.
- A happy-song-list – all songs that make you happy. Sad songs are only allowed when they remind you of something great like meeting your partner. Even better: choose songs you can dance to.
- Find a beautiful journal you can write into.
- Cultivate a gratitude routine
- Make a list of actions that make you go into the flow
- Download an app to relax or meditate on your phone and already try it
- Buy a daylight lamp if light is something that makes you particularly happy.
Something that helps a lot of people is to put together an emergency box. This is a real box that you buy or create yourself and in which you put all the things that make you feel better. In other blog posts in this series, I have already shown you exercises you can do for the body, the mind or the heart (click on the words to find the blog posts). The first step to filling that box is to print out the PDF with all the exercises that you can download for free here. Put that in the box.
Among those exercise pages, there are two pages where I have listed all the exercises in a smaller format. When you have printed the pdf, cut them out, fold all the paper pieces and put them in a little bag or a jar. Then draw one if you don’t know which exercise to choose. Because sometimes it is so hard to make a decision when you’re sad.
What needs to go into your emergency box?
Additionally, you can put everything in the box that makes you happy. This can be your favorite tea, a candle, a certain perfume, a DVD with your favorite movie, something that you just love to touch, pictures of your loved ones or animals that you love and so on. If you want to see what is in my emotional first-aid kit box you can watch this video here.
Only beautiful things and whatever makes you happy are allowed in that box. You will take this box out when an emotional emergency arises. It is also something that you can physically hold onto, which is very important in an emotional emergency. Pick an especially beautiful box and take your time to find the right things to put in there. Celebrate the time that you use to prepare this box for your future self.
Make a fun project out of it
If you have children then you can also prepare a box together with them. They can also make a box for themselves because they will have moments when they feel negative feelings like you. They also need something to hold onto. Probably they will fill up their boxes with totally different things than you. Just show them how to do it and give them examples of what can go in there. While you’re doing this you should explain to them how negative feelings feel like, where they might feel them in their body and how to recognize them. Also, explain to them that it’s okay to have those negative feelings and that all human beings have them. Having feelings means that you are human.
We often think that children know how negative feelings feel, but they often have a hard time differentiating between anger, fear, sadness and so on. Practice with them to name the feelings and to recognize them. Show them pictures of cartoon characters who are angry, sad, happy and so on. You can also print those pictures out and put them near those boxes and they can point to the pictures so you both know how they feel when they are in a bad place. This is a great way to connect with your children.
Connect with a friend on a deeper level
Or if you want to you can also prepare this box together with a good friend. This can be somebody with whom you are going shopping for the beautiful things that go into your box or it can be a friend who lives far away and with whom you meet via Skype or Zoom to plan your boxes together.
The feeling of sharing something so beautiful and important with another human being even though when this person is not sitting right next to you already helps to feel connected. And feeling connected is one of the best feelings you can have. So feeling connected with somebody might already be part of your emotional first-aid kit.
How I can help you in creating your emotional first-aid kit
When you choose your exercises and items for your first-aid kit please keep your personality type and your motivators in mind. Everybody is different with a different history and the exercise that helps one person might not help the other one. An introvert might pick other exercises than an extrovert.
Additionally, you should think about the things that motivate you as you can pick the right items for your box or for your lists. For example, a person who is motivated by exercise and health might pick dancing or go to the forest and somebody else couldn’t care less. But that person might be motivated and energized by learning something new and therefore she would pick to make a list of things that make her smile and have already lots of fun while making this list.
If you don’t know what your personality type is or what motivates you, there are tons of tests online that you can choose from. Or you can do a live coaching session with me to learn about all the things that motivate you. In my Discovery Coaching session, you will learn all about your personal motivators (which are 20 different motives like harmony, independence, justice, family, health and so on) and I will coach you on how you can use this to best shape your life and make it better. If you are interested in working with me just take a look at my offer and contact me if you want to work with me.
This article is part of a series. Read more about the specific exercises for your kit and how you can prepare it. Just click on the links below:
- blog: The first-aid kit for your emotions
- blog. First-aid exercises for your mind
- blog: First-aid exercises for your heart
- blog: First-aid exercises for your body
- Youtube video: How my emotional first-aid kit looks like
- Expat Partner Podcast: Why you need an emotional first-aid kit when you live abroad