Supporting yourself in times of distress


I’ve been noticing that many people around me – clients, family, friends – have been struggling with maintaining a positive mindset recently. It’s as if the widespread devastation and death caused by the catastrophic bushfires we’re currently experiencing in Australia have tipped many of us off the edge to what we can readily cope with; where our emotional capacity is stretched beyond our limit and despair and sadness is clouding our experience.

In times of distress, it’s crucial to remember that your overall experience is shaped by whatever you are focusing on; energy goes where attention flows. I’m not suggesting to be ignorant, I am suggesting to self-soothe and nourish oneself with joy and love; consider what fills up your cup and ensure to nurture daily. Remember that you will get more of whatever you are focusing on; I often say to clients that if you are choosing to wear your shit goggles then everything will look like shit. You can choose to take off the shit goggles any time you choose and focus on nourishing and nurturing.

I totally get that it’s hard sometimes to switch your attention from current tragedies – there are horror stories, traumatic images, and horrific statistics relating to the bushfires (billions of animal deaths, multiple world heritage areas destroyed, and wiped out species and ecosystems to name a few). And there are good news stories too if you choose to seek them out - how about the beautiful wombats allowing other animals to shelter in their burrows whilst fires are burning at the earth surface or the International fire crews that have come to help out and the 1 million + people who have donated more than $30 million for bushfire relief. We have a lot to be grateful for if we choose to focus on what is good, amazing, and beautiful.

I am not dismissing the distress that many feels (including myself). This current tragedy of the Australian bushfires is on our door-step, it is our lands, our animals, our ecosystems. It’s even more important in times of hardship to spread joy, love, and hope and help others do the same.

It is fair enough that many of us feel sad with the current national and international distresses, we are all connected as ‘one’ to life, one another, and to all sentinel beings. My invitation to you is to allow the emotion to be fully felt then choose to nourish and nurture self to fill up your cup.

One of my favourite tools to manage emotions was learned a few years back at an Ashram on a silent retreat, there are 4 steps:

  1. Pause: when you notice that your emotions are increasing in potency remembering to pause and catch yourself before the emotion escalates
  2. Feel it: Be present with the emotions - as they happen - in a resourceful way. Note the presence of the emotions and the physical sensations of the emotion. Closing your eyes can assist to be more present with the emotion
  3. Name it: Name the emotion
  4. Self-Soothe: Ask yourself ‘what do I need to self soothe’ / what do I need?

For more ideas on how to manage your emotions, mindfulness, and breathing techniques check out my other blogs here. For further support, please email me at

Much love & blessings,
xo Chalisa