Three Practical Ways To Deal With Bad News

With the headlines taken over by relentless news items about the spread of coronavirus, it can be easy to feel like real life is suspended. And yet, life does go on – both good things and, unfortunately, worse ones. Learning how to cope with adversity and bad news and becoming more emotionally resilient are increasingly valuable skills. Covid-19 is having a huge impact on many lives as well, from being made redundant to the breakup of relationships and of course dealing with serious illness for those who contract the virus. It can feel quite overwhelming, but learning how to process bad news is something that will support your life both through the pandemic and after it.

Allow Your Negative Emotions To Surface

There’s nothing more toxic than pretending everything’s alright when it truly isn’t. When we get over the initial shock of receiving bad news, often our first response is to try and put a brave face on the situation, but this is rarely a healthy response in the medium to long term. Let yourself experience the emotions that come without putting a value on them. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry and anywhere in between when something happens out of the blue. Allowing yourself to feel and acknowledge this is extremely important. Studies have found that if we attempt to suppress our negative emotions, they are actually longer in duration.

Reframe Your Internal Dialogue

You cannot hope to control the things that happen to you in life, however much you want to. What you can control is your response to those events, and it’s this that can be incredibly character forming –  it’s the reason why you often hear survivors of terrible tragedies saying it made them who they are. There is always a way to reframe your thought process, from a negative internal dialogue that only makes the feelings worse, to something more positive. The secret is cognitive baby steps. Instead of trying to tell yourself the direct opposite – which rarely works as the brain won’t accept it – work on trying to find a replacement thought that is acceptable. So if you have experienced a job loss, instead of telling yourself everything is going to be alright, tell yourself ‘I will be okay for a couple of months looking for another job’.

Remind Yourself Of Overcoming Adversity

There will be times in your life before where you have encountered an adverse event and managed to move past it. Draw on those memories and remind yourself of your own strength. Find the professional support you need, whether that is a counselling session online or a car accident lawyer, and reach out to friends and family over the phone for their advice. It’s vital not to feel alone, and to remember that you can and will come through this situation with the right support. In the meantime, try to slow down –  if you are experiencing trouble, a mindfulness app can be a great help to calm you down and help to combat stress and anxiety.