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Coping Through Crises by Connecting With Others

Coping Through Crises by Connecting With Others

When a crisis happens, our stress tolerance level depletes from the shock and emotional pain. We become overwhelmed, which inhibits our capacity to cope. Yet, it’s completely understandable why we would feel the way we do. And during a rough time, sometimes people doubt themselves and avoid sharing what they’re going through with somebody else for fear of being judged. But the need for connection doesn’t go away if we ignore it – emotional stress still accumulates. And you can’t run away from it, because it’s running you. At some point, we have to reach out and connect with the hearts of others.

Some years ago, I was in a meeting with three coworkers. They were talking about a problem they were having with another coworker and feeling I hadn’t handled the situation as well as I could have. I felt misunderstood, then began questioning whether they were right, and found myself going around in my head. Even while I was going about other work, my thoughts and feelings were churning and draining my energy. I had to do something or I would stay stuck there. It was scary. I didn’t want to be wrong. I knew I needed to open up with someone, so I shared with someone at work who I felt would hear my heart and  wouldn’t judge me. She used HeartMath’s intuitive listening tool, reflecting back what I said and acknowledging my feelings. I felt so cared for, so seen. Something let go inside me. Yes! Then I was able to share with the other three coworkers why I handled the problematic situation the way I did. They told me that they understood where I was coming from and said it would have really been helpful if I could have shared that in the meeting at the time. I realized it had been a safe place after all, and was able release it all and move on.

Man conforting women

The good news is that you can create a psychological turnaround and increase your ability to cope effectively— especially during a crisis — if you work through your challenges with the help of others. One of the most important things you can do is to communicate your feelings to someone. Talking to those who care about us when we’re struggling allows us to get out of the swirl inside our heads, releases us, and allows room for fresh perspectives and insights.

At the onset of a crisis, it’s normal for some of our heart feelings to shut down, especially during the initial shock, fear, and focus on survival and safety. It’s understandable to experience this, and it’s really helpful to re-open our heart connections with others as soon we can. This deeper connection and communication helps to keep our hearts open to intuitive guidance for the most effective next steps to take. Connecting with others can‘t eliminate all stressful situations but it can add a quiet comfort along with increasing our stability within the experience. It also provides a collective, heart-based strength to move forward in moments when it seems we can’t.

Easier said than done for some, right? It helps to start by communicating in a connected way within yourself. HeartMath’s Inner Ease™ Technique helps to align your mind and emotions with your heart feelings. Ease is an inner attitude of slowing down our internal and external systems so we can create flow rather than turbulence. Here’s how:

  • Notice what you’re feeling. Be what we call at HeartMath “heart vulnerable”– be honest with yourself about how you feel right now. Admit that you’re sad, scared, or whatever is true for you. Don’t judge it as good or bad. Emotions are just energy.
  • Do the Quick Coherence Technique.
  • As you get into Heart-focused Breathing as part of the technique, draw in a feeling of inner ease, balance, and self-care.
  • Affirm, anchor, and maintain your state of inner ease.

Couple with child talking to women

If you’re feeling particularly vulnerable about sharing with others:

  • Be kind to yourself. Watch the self-judgments. Just go to your heart, release them, and move on. Be casual about it. When your inner-attitude is casual and unstrained, your emotions respond to challenging or disruptive situations with flow and ease. This reduces stress and clears the way for better choices and outcomes.
  • Ask yourself what’s under the radar that is keeping you isolated. Is it fear of being judged?
  • Give yourself a Compassion Soak. Find a place inside your heart that feels soft, warm, or gentle and relax and soak in it for a while. Assign whatever issue or draining feeling you have to soak in compassion and let the negative energy release. This is balancing and soothing to the nervous and hormonal systems.

Now you’re ready to try to connect with others:

It’s important to note that during or after a crisis, this kind of sincere communication is not venting or blaming. It creates a heart connection and release. Even if you’re not in a major crisis but you get tweaked and feel badly about it, you can spend days or weeks draining energy over it and feel your heart closing off. The quicker you can re-open your heart by expressing feelings to someone else and stay in your compassion for yourself, the quicker you get clarity on how to better handle the situation.

women consoling elder lady

Another effective way to reopen our heart feelings is by offering kindness and compassionate support to others or volunteering to help others in need, though we are in need ourselves. Acts of care, kindness, gratitude, and compassion can make a big difference. These acts of care are behaviors of our spiritual heart and provide a wholeness benefit to ourselves and others. Research has shown that care, compassion, and authentic connection with others reduce stress and release beneficial chemicals that balance and revitalize our systems: mental, emotional, and physical. Practicing these and other behaviors of the heart should be at the top of our stress maintenance intentions.

Engaging in caring about others and offering emotional support especially helps to reopen your heart, which increases your fortitude and emotional balance. Whether you laugh together or cry together, there is often tremendous beneficial release. When people gather to support each other, the energy of the collective whole multiplies the benefit to the individual. It’s known that collective energetic cooperation can increase intuitive guidance and effective solutions for problems at hand. When a group of people are “in their hearts,” and not just their minds, the collective support helps to lift their spirits, which in turn releases stress buildup and anxiety overload. When the heart reopens, self-security and confidence can gradually return.

Be patient with the process. Even small acts of kindness and compassion can make a big difference. During the holiday season is a good time to consciously manage your energies. Focus on developing more sincere connections with others above all else. It can make the difference between a harried and stressful season and the most heartfelt holiday ever.


Understanding the power of your emotions is vital for having a fulfilling, healthy life. Click to receive this free e-booklet, The Power of Emotion.


More Stress Relief:
Decreasing Drama in Your Life
Tips to Reduce Your Stress Reactions to the News
Breathing Through Your Heart

Read more: Anxiety, Depression, Family, General Health, Guidance, Health, Home, Life, Men's Health, Mental Wellness, Nourishing the Heart, Peace, Self-Help, Spirit, Spirituality and Technology, Stress, Women's Health, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Sara, from Institute of HeartMath

Sara Childre is President and CEO of the non-profit Institute of HeartMath. Since 1991, Sara has helped oversee and develop HeartMath trainings, educational products and scientific programs. She was appointed vice president and CFO of the institute in 1992, then president and CEO in 1998.


+ add your own
1:34AM PST on Mar 1, 2015

So true Julie C

10:57AM PST on Feb 21, 2015

good to remember

7:10PM PST on Feb 17, 2015

good to keep in mind ty. x

5:51AM PST on Feb 16, 2015

Thank you

5:17PM PST on Feb 14, 2015

I have a lot of friends,but only 3 or 4 close friends I know I can be totally honest with .They are always there for me and I'm there for them. Just knowing they are there,makes me feel calmer & more centered when I bang into a crisis.

5:36AM PST on Feb 14, 2015

Thank you

7:20AM PST on Feb 13, 2015

My therapist said when you are judging yourself or deciding whether its important enough to reach out to someone else, ask yourself how you would feel if your best friend did it. We are usually much nicer and more forgiving to our friends than to ourselves.

7:04AM PST on Feb 13, 2015


1:13AM PST on Feb 13, 2015

Thanks for posting.

1:47AM PST on Feb 11, 2015


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Unless the dog was wearing boots, that run was just about right. Wonder why dogs like snow?

I don't have a dog anymore, and my cats never go outside. The last dog we loved hated snow.

Never had a cat, but never thought they'd have the slightest interest in fruits or veggies.


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