dealing with emotions

5 Healthy Ways of Dealing with Emotions

Why do you need healthy ways of dealing with emotions? You can get carried away by overwhelming emotions, increasing the risk of future regrets after actions taken while experiencing them.

In this article, you will find suggestions for ways to manage emotions healthily. 

Emotions are positive (often pleasurable and welcomed) or negative (often painful and unwelcome), and all of them need to be handled in healthy ways.

Most of us do not have challenges reacting to comfortable emotions. It’s when things get uncomfortable that the reaction and processing of emotions can cause mental health problems. 

Healthy coping skills, when faced with powerful emotions, can safeguard your peace of mind and social relationships, and lower the chance of future regrets because of unhealthy actions taken when the emotions are intense. 

Unhealthy Ways of Handling Emotions

Overwhelming emotions cloud your judgment and reduce your ability to problem-solve, leading to harmful responses or reactions. 

Some common unhealthy ways that people resort to when experiencing overwhelming emotions include: 

  • abusing drugs or alcohol
  • being physically or verbally abusive with others who are nearby 
  • projecting the negativity on others, i.e. emotional abuse 
  • engaging in reckless sexual behaviour
  • overspending to soother emotional pain 
  • suppressing/denying the emotions or trying to stop them 

Dealing with Emotions in Healthy Ways 

Dealing with emotions in healthy ways is a lifelong skill you need since they are part and parcel of human life.

First, it is necessary to accept that emotions are part of life and have a useful purpose, rather than seeing them as a weakness on your part. The weakness comes in when the reactions to the emotion are inappropriate, otherwise, emotions are natural and useful. 

Some suggestions for healthy handling of emotions discussed here are long-term, meaning you have to apply them in your life daily, while some address immediate effects when the emotions are threatening to overpower you and prompt harmful reactions. 

Hence, dealing with emotions in healthy ways involves consciously keeping your good judgment despite the great temptation to just react impulsively.

1. Focus on your best behaviour

How would the best version of you behave when angry, frustrated, or aggrieved? Would you deliberately hurt others because you are hurt? Or would you find better ways to handle the emotion?

It’s good to know this now so that when experiencing intense emotions, you can recall that you need to be at your best self and react in a way that’s not harmful to yourself or others. Pause and think before you act.

2. Make gratitude a habit

Focusing on the positive things in your life daily can have a significant influence on how you perceive and react to intense emotions.

Let people know when you appreciate them, whether for small or big things. Be individually grateful for goals you have achieved or the people that support you in life; or for life itself.

3. Reframe your thoughts

New thoughts are the key to healthy ways of reacting to emotions in case you have been having a problem with unhealthy responses. Healthy thoughts increase your power to control unruly reactions.

Therefore, by driving away injurious thoughts daily, you will find it easier to deal with your emotions in healthy ways. Was the last time you handled emotions a successful attempt? If not, what will you do better next time? Journalling can help with this effectively.

4. Apply positive coping strategies

Do things that make you feel good, take a break from stressful daily life, or give your body some rest. For example, eat healthy food, get enough sleep and engage in regular exercise.

Have you ever realized that when you are tired, you are more likely to have unhealthy reactions like being irritable or rejecting the loved ones around you? Sometimes the intense negative emotions might be communicating that you need ample rest or even sleep.

5. Learn that no reaction may be needed

Intense emotions give rise to a strong need to act on impulses. For instance, when you are angry you might get a strong need to raise your voice to people, throw things at the wall, or maybe self-harm.

You can feel the emotions without engaging in the reckless behaviour that you develop an urge to, by giving yourself time to cool down instead of an immediate response. Avoid rushing to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, overeating, or other addictive actions.

*****

The above suggestions for managing emotions in a healthy way will keep your emotional reactions in order. These strategies need the consciousness of your need for continuous personal growth.

Thus, first, know them and then be willing to work on dealing with emotions and monitor your progress. If you are having a hard time applying these habits on your own, a professional counsellor can help.

Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up. 

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