Dealing with emotions
Emotions can be wonderful!
The joy of laughing with your best friend, the relief of finishing a test you were nervous about...but, difficult emotions can be hard to cope with. Sometimes our emotions feel TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL, and that can be a little scary.
What’s the point of emotions?!
Here's why emotions are necessary...
- Emotions are messengers. Emotions give us immediate info that something is happening, and help us save time in figuring out what to do. Like, say, feeling nervous about a test would make us study more.
- Emotions help us act. Strong emotions help us push through things that would otherwise stop us – for example, plowing through a project if we’re worried about missing a deadline.
- Emotions help people know how to deal with us. Emotions communicate to others how to deal with us – for example, leaving us alone if we look pissed off, or giving support if they notice we’re sad.
A few ways to deal with really hard emotions today.
- Know that it’s OK to feel how you’re feeling right now. We are allowed to feel whatever we need to feel. If we lose someone, it’s ok to hurt. If we hurt someone, it’s ok to feel regret. Sometimes, the appropriate thing to do is to just sit with how we feel, and know that this will pass. It’s important not to dismiss these feelings.
- Sometimes, you just got to ride the wave. Emotions are like waves – sometimes it’s all calm and good, sometimes it’s choppy and overwhelming. Know that emotions come and go and you can ride it out. Learn to float above it, let it wash over you, or ride it out. It’ll pass.
- Be mindful of unhelpful thoughts and how they make you feel. Thoughts contribute to how we feel. If we can be more aware of our limiting, unhelpful thoughts and know that thoughts are not facts, this can help us connect to how we are feeling and why. Our emotions are there to send us signals and help us to think and act quickly, but sometimes, we need to use our minds to help balance our emotions.
- Try doing the opposite. Emotions can lead us to act in predictable ways which are not always good for us (e.g. sadness makes us hide away, fear makes us avoid doing certain things, or anger makes us attack others). Try doing the opposite instead: get active when you’re feeling sad, do something you’re afraid to do, or gently avoid instead of attacking when you're angry.
- Give yourself some love. Sometimes, what helps is taking good care of ourselves, like we would with a bestfriend who is going through a tough time. Give yourself a break, eat something good, touch base with someone you love, cuddle a cat, take a hot shower, do an easy exercise or watch a feel-good movie.