Tips for coping with intense emotions from recent events

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- People are dealing with multiple large-scale social issues such as COVID-19 and now with recent unrest and calls for social change in the aftermath of the George Floyd case, mental well-being is being tested as emotions are pushed to the extremes, particularly for black Americans

Dr. Nerissa Price, Director of WakeMed's Behavioral Community Case Management, joined ABC11 to answer a few questions about coping with current events and managing your thoughts and emotions.

A partial transcript follows, Watch the video in the media player above for the full interview.

Practice self-awareness. Check your emotional temperature. What does that mean?

It would not be normal for people to not have some sort of emotional reaction to all that is happening in the world. And so, emotions in themselves are not pathologic but they can affect us on different levels ... I want people to look at themselves honestly and ask the question 'how am I coping?' And if the answer is 'I'm not coping well,' then it's truly an opportunity to get the support that you need to really get through this difficult time.

With so many of our days so crazy, how important is it to develop a schedule, a routine?

It can be extremely important that when you look at all that is happening, there's very little that we have to control. Sometimes, by having some sort of built-in schedule, it gives us a sense of stability and some sense of control and routine. And in that, we really need to build in self-care in our schedules.

What about for black Americans, who are dealing with COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate as well as the fallout from the George Floyd case? It seems important to take a break sometimes just to unplug.

Absolutely. And also, to take time to really feel these emotions. That too often we ignore our emotions, we try to bury them, and they only come back to get us even worse. And so, to really take the time, if you are feeling angry, that that could be OK. Or if you're feeling sad or if you're feeling fearful or experience the grief that is occurring, I think is a very normal reaction. But also, to know when it's pushing you too far. And where you may need to reach out and get the help and support in order to get through it.

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