Step-by-step process in dealing with difficult feelings

Rosliwati (bottom row, right) speaks during a webinar entitled ‘Covid-19 Pandemic Challenges: Mental Health and Human Rights’. Also seen are Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) Sarawak commissioner Datuk Dr Madeline Berma (top row, left); Laura Kho Sui San (middle row, second left), founder of Mind Brew, an initiative under Mental Health Association of Sarawak (MHAS); and Kian Tungku (bottom row, left), chairman of Pertubuhan Orang Cacat Sarawak (POCS).

KUCHING: Difficult feelings can be dealt with in a healthy manner by undertaking a step-by-step process which starts with first noticing the feeling being experienced. 

Sentosa Hospital director Dr Rosliwati Md Yusoff said the next step was to name and acknowledge the feeling, followed by sitting with the feeling for a while.

During this process, she said one could also try to calm themselves through various techniques such as breathing, grounding, and muscle relaxation.

“The last step is to let the feeling go,” she said when speaking during a webinar entitled ‘Covid-19 Pandemic Challenges: Mental Health and Human Rights’ organised by Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) Sarawak and held via Zoom and livestream on Wednesday (Oct 13).

“It is important to take care of our mental health as best as possible. If needed, we should seek help to take care of our mental health because mental health relates to physical health too.”

Explaining further on self-care grounding techniques, she said these involved the five senses, namely sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing.

For instance, she said one could refer to messages with affirmations and kind words, smell a scented object, eat some snacks, hold onto soft and comforting things, play with calming puzzles or objects, channel emotions through journaling or art, listen to music, or look at or hold onto interesting objects.

“Another tip to take care of mental health is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes balanced eating, exercise, sufficient sleep and rest, and avoiding alcohol and smoking.”

She also explained that sound mental health arose from a person feeling comfortable with himself or herself, feeling comfortable with others, and being able to meet the challenges of daily life.

During the webinar, which was moderated by Suhakam Sarawak commissioner Datuk Dr Madeline Berma, Laura Kho Sui San – founder of Mind Brew, a volunteer community initiative under Mental Health Association of Sarawak (MHAS) – also delivered a talk on creating safe spaces and connecting communities for mental wellbeing.

She said Mind Brew’s vision was to create safe spaces in the community to talk about mental health, to normalise conversations about mental health, and to empower and engage resilient communities.

Sharing input from Mind Brew participants, she said mental health distress was caused by disconnection from other people, disconnection from a hopeful or secure future, and disconnection from meaningful values.

Meanwhile, Kian Tungku, chairman of Pertubuhan Orang Cacat Sarawak (POCS), shared on the concerns and challenges faced by persons with disabilities (OKU) especially due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.