Finding Emotional Rest

Ellena Arroyo

Figure out what rests your emotions and do it without judgment.

~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross & David Kessler

Particularly pertaining to experiences of grief and adjustment, the need to escape the heightened rollercoaster emotions every now and again is real. Grief, being a process with no certain path or endpoint, needs such a relief valve – to take a necessary rest from the unsustainable burden.

But such a rest cannot take place unless we are prepared to leave the status quo as it is – even for a short time.


When we are most prone to the weakness of our emotions, perhaps because of grief or adjustment, however small or insignificant these may be, life is best taken in simplicity. Stability and constancy work best.

Times like commencing new jobs or establishing new relationships put extra emotional strain on us and this can lead to more overall duress.

Finding emotional rest can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other; just continuing life as it is and changing as little as possible. Sometimes endurance is just simply that – to keep on keeping on. A stable-as-possible platform helps.


An extension to finding stability is the key task of reducing stress by postponing important decisions, and even delaying some decisions we would like to make that would be burdensome.

There should be no pressure to deal in pros and cons during arduous times; we do so only if it’s absolutely necessary. Few things in life are really that important, but if they are we should attend to them as decisively as possible, without thought for regret later.


This is the most difficult thing for a lot of people: to protect themselves against their own self-judgments.

When our emotions hold sway over our rational minds, causing quick shifts in mood and awkward imbalances in our equilibrium, life is disconcerting. We quickly hop into ourselves, castigating behaviour for the benefit of hindsight. There is a mix of regret, guilt, or even shame to deal with.

Difficult times like these we need to be extra gentle with ourselves, as The Desiderata recommends.

Where logic escapes, and we fight the inevitable urge to amend our emotions, the internal struggle between head and heart abounds in us at large. It is a cesspool that only complicates our already heightened stress levels.

When we don’t know where to turn, we are trapped into turning however we can – that, itself, is a trap. Making decisions without the aid of a calm and ordered mind is a recipe for even more distress.


Whatever the stressors are is less important than what we might engage in for a moment’s relief. As the quote at top suggests, we should make the effort to relax – as ironic as that sounds – so we can enjoy it.

We are sure to want to back out of enjoyable activities when we are susceptible emotionally and, therefore, we ought to push gently through temptations of guilt, judgment, and apathy, etc. We need to act ourselves into thinking: I can enjoy this.


Finding emotional rest is about a moment’s self-designed space, taken when our emotions have drained us. It’s agreeing to be gentle with ourselves.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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