Families can experience some big emotions. Families with members on the autism spectrum or who have been identified as gifted, those who struggle with anxiety, or those who live with other special needs can sometimes experience even more intense emotions. Most of us (okay, all of us!) don’t have all the answers, but there are some things we can do to help. These ideas for supporting emotions for families may spark a little creativity in you to support your own family’s emotions.
Supporting Emotions for Families
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Listen and Validate Emotions
No one wants to be told or made to feel that their feelings are not valid. Feelings are feelings. They are not good or bad, they just are. It is what we do with those feelings that can turn into a positive thing or a negative thing. When a family member is feeling angry, hurt, sad, depressed, joyful, excited, expressive, anxious, overwhelmed, or otherwise, let that person know that it is okay to feel.
You do not need to agree with his or her feelings in order to validate them. It honestly doesn’t matter whether you feel the same or if you don’t. Simply acknowledge the feeling. You can nod and say something along the lines of “I understand that you are (angry, sad, hurt), and it’s okay to feel that.” This goes a long way, in my experience, toward defusing a situation that may otherwise go awry.
Should they choose to open up and talk to you, really listen to what your loved one is saying. Don’t just sit and appear to be listening but not really hearing what is being shared. If you don’t understand something you can gently ask if they can explain, or perhaps you can repeat what you think you’re hearing to them and ask if you are getting it right. Everyone wants to be heard, from the youngest to the oldest. Listening is one way to allow everyone to be heard and to help those who are hurting to process their feelings in a safe place.
Faith Plays a Part
Do not discount prayer. Everyone who find this blog post may not be a follower of Jesus. That’s okay. I hope you can still glean something here that may help you.
However, if you are a follower of Christ, then prayer can be a crucial part of this process, as it is for many others. Asking for help through prayer can help center you and your loved ones. Simply sharing how you feel or what is happening out loud to God, can be cathartic. And even though you may not receive an answer right away, He is listening and always wants to hear from you.
Learn to Cope
Develop and teach coping skills.
It’s important to learn how to cope with your own feelings, as well as with those of your family members. Though this is a life-long learning process, it is helpful to create healthy patterns of behavior in families. Depending on the issue you’re dealing with in your home, you may need to learn a variety of coping skills.
- Slow down and speak gently as you communicate with your child with autism.
- Learn soothing words you can say to someone who is anxious, or simply sit with them and be a calming presence.
- Research validating phrases you can say and make them your own to use during times of high emotion.
These are only a few ideas amongst many. Do your research to learn how you can cope with the specific issues in your own home. Don’t forget to teach your children and share with your significant other ideas for how to cope, as these skills will mean your family lives a more healthy life together overall.
How to Get Essential Oils in Your Life
Use essential oils.
There are essential oils to support every body system, including our emotions. You can use essential oils for support any time your are experiencing an intense emotion, positive or negative.
The limbic system is “a set of structures in the brain that deal with emotions and memory.” Smells can call up memories and powerful responses. Taking deep breaths while inhaling essential oils can create a wonderful, soothing combination when supporting emotions for families.
Some favorite essential oils to support emotions include:
There are others, but the above list is a great place to start.
If you’d like to try using essential oils to support your family’s emotions, you can learn more about making an investment in your wellness and determine if this is a good choice for you.
HINT: it is.
The ideas shared in this LIVE video over at Oils, Goals, and Grace on Facebook may help, too. Head on over there and check it out to see all of the oils I shared plus my complete thoughts on each of the points above.
How do you support emotions in your family? Share your tips and tricks below in the comments!