By Patricia Edelstein

Do you know what systems drive your emotions? Let’s look at them!

Drive System
Our drive system pushes us to get things done! We need this system to achieve our goals and be effective. When our drive system is in overdrive, it can interfere with our learning and how we process information. We start to shut down, procrastinate and let negative thoughts run through our heads on autopilot.

Threat System
Our threat system keeps us apprised of danger. We need this system to stay safe and manage the world around us. When our threat system gets too stimulated, it causes anxiety, and stress. Our body starts flight, fight, or freeze processes and though these processes are meant to help us in the short-term, experiencing them over a longer period is extremely distressing.

Soothing System
Our soothing system helps us stay well. We need to slow down and be able to take a break for our mind to digest information properly. This is where self-care is crucial in bringing us back into balance. Positive self-talk and breathing exercises are two soothing strategies that you can access anytime!

In order to get a sense of your balance, imagine each system as a balloon. Are they relatively the same size? By increasing our Soothing System, we breathe new life and energy into our body and reduce the other systems.

“Rather than wandering around in problem-solving mode all day, thinking mainly of what you want to fix about yourself or your life, you can pause for a few moments throughout the day to marvel at what’s not broken.”
― Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

Strategies
• Grounding: Grounding or anchoring brings us into the present moment and out of real or perceived threats. Ground by putting both feet on the floor. Feel the earth support you.
• Breathing: Breathing sends a message to your brain that everything is okay and allows you to feel calm. Try box breathing: Breathe in for 4 counts, hold it for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, hold it for 4 counts.
• Self-compassion and self-care: Self-compassion recognizes your positive qualities and allows room for making mistakes. Recognize your successes. Plan and execute time to soothe yourself in the way that feels comforting.

Resources
APP: WOEbot – a positive mental health app from Stanford University
Book: Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristen Neff
Book: Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger
mywellnessplan.ca: Access to stress toolkits, mental health assessment and certified counsellors
Counselling: Access 24/7 is available anytime. Drop in to speak to a social worker immediately or call 780-424-2424.

Patricia Edelstein NAIT Counselling

Supplied photo.

Hi! My name is Pat and I am so thankful to be a part of our amazing counselling community. Every student’s story enriches my life (and I hope theirs) as we team up to find ways to support their journey.

My family and friends hold a special place in my heart. My curiosity takes me on lots of adventures such as exploring Egypt or finding out why we see double rainbows. It’s so much fun to take the road less travelled and discover things yet unseen. I have lived in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Japan and toured through several countries in Europe, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Turkey, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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