How to Manage Emotions in Difficult Times #1 – Our Need for Control

Our Emotional Needs

Did you know that meeting our emotional needs well is not just key to good mental health but that, by reducing stress levels, it also strengthens our immune system and helps us fight off and recover from infection?

We have nine of these emotional needs and it may feel like quite a challenge to meet them in balance at the moment; but, perhaps with a little lateral thinking, it’s always possible.

Our nine needs (all equally important) are for:

#1 Autonomy and Control

#2 Security

#3 Attention

#4 Community

#5 Status

#6 Achievement

#7 Intimacy

#8 Privacy

#9 Meaning and Purpose


So, here’s the first in a series of short articles with quick tips for meeting each need..


#1 Autonomy and Control

We all need to feel we’re able to make our own life choices and decisions and that we have some control over what happens around us and to us. So, it’s not surprising if we feel stressed and anxious in response to the lifestyle changes and news headlines that surround us at present.


I find it helps to:

  • Establish an alternative routine – I don’t need to get suited and booted for the office but I maintain some work/home life separation and continuity by getting up at the same time, following my breakfast routine and getting (casually) dressed for work
  • Remind myself that I’m choosing to follow government guidelines to the letter (I know, why would I do otherwise? But it’s still helpful to frame it as a choice)
  • Choose which news outlets I pay attention to and avoid sensationalist headlines
  • Choose to help others – this is always helpful for boosting feelings of autonomy
  • Remind myself that there will always be things I can’t control and relax with the 7/11 breathing technique here when I need to


I hope you’ll find at least some of these tips useful; and I’d love to hear about any of your own..

Look out for tips on how to meet need #2 Security, coming soon…

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07971 528178
Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex


07971 528178
Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex

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