We all have emotions – it’s part of what makes us human, what sets us apart from most animals. But sometimes, our emotions can be so big and difficult to manage that they get the better of us. That’s when it’s time to regulate them.
Fortunately, you can learn ways to do just that. In this blog post, we’ll explore five regulation techniques. With a little practice, you’ll be able to manage your emotions better and stay in control during challenging situations.
RECOGNIZE YOUR EMOTIONS – THE FIRST STEP IS TO BE AWARE OF YOUR FEELINGS.
In order to be able to regulate and manage your emotions, you have to first be able to recognize your emotions, which can be harder than it sounds. We may be so used to having big feelings that we don’t even recognize we’re feeling anything! Taking the first step and recognizing what’s happening inside us can be powerful—we can start to uncover our motivations and better understand why we do the things we do. Recognizing our emotions is an important part of self-reflection and growth. Awareness is key, allowing us to take control of our emotions and behavior rather than letting them control us.
It takes a brave person to become aware of everything they are experiencing, but it’s worth it in the end as we learn how to take care of ourselves better in the process.
ACCEPT YOUR EMOTIONS – DON’T TRY TO BOTTLE THEM UP OR PUSH THEM AWAY.
Allowing yourself to experience your emotions fully can be a daunting yet deeply rewarding task. As a child, maybe you were conditioned to not feel the full range of your emotions. When you were hurt, were you told to stop crying? If you were excited, were you told to “calm down”? Being told that our emotions were “too much” for our caregivers can lead us to abandon our emotions and push them away in order to keep us safe. As a result, big feelings may even make you uncomfortable now as an adult. But, when you can accept your emotions, both positive and negative, you begin to experience the full range of one of the joys of being human, that thing that sets us apart.
Practicing this self-acceptance by acknowledging yourself for feeling the emotion and allowing it to flow can lead to a calmer, more balanced mindset. Though it may seem easier in the short term to push away or ignore your feelings out of fear or discomfort, bottling them up could have long-term adverse effects on your mental health and well-being.
It’s important to remember that while it’s okay to feel pain or sorrow occasionally, it’s equally necessary not to let such emotions consume you and prevent you from taking action. Embrace your feelings and always strive towards understanding and managing them instead of simply attempting to avoid them altogether.
EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS IN A HEALTHY WAY – WHETHER IT’S THROUGH WRITING, ART, OR TALKING TO SOMEONE
Expressing your emotions can be hard, especially if you don’t know how to do it! That’s why it’s important to find healthy ways to vocalize your feelings without hurting anyone else in the process. Writing, art, and talking are all powerful outlets that can help you release your pent-up emotions and gain insight into the deepest parts of yourself.
Writing in a journal is a great way to unburden your soul since you can write whatever comes to mind without fear of judgment or what another person might think. Art activities like painting and drawing are also helpful for exploring feelings and expressing yourself through images and colors. Talking to someone you trust can do wonders for venting your frustrations, anxieties, and pain, creating a safe space for conversation that provides comfort and understanding. There are so many ways to work through the emotions that make us who we are, so why not try one?
DISTRACT YOURSELF FROM NEGATIVE EMOTIONS – FIND SOMETHING THAT WILL TAKE YOUR MIND OFF OF WHATEVER IS MAKING YOU FEEL BAD.
Everyone experiences negative emotions sometimes, and while it’s important to recognize them, we don’t have to linger in them. If you’re feeling down or discouraged, it can help to take a break and do something that shifts your focus away from whatever is causing those feelings.
Whether it’s playing music, going for a walk outside, curling up with a book, watching a funny movie, going for a drive – anything that allows you to clear your mind and relax can bring you some clarity. Once you start engaging in an activity that encourages positivity and takes your mind off of the source of your downturned mood, often, everything will start to feel a little bit better. So make sure to find something that will help distract you from negative emotions when they come your way!
PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION – BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND UNDERSTAND THAT EVERYONE HAS NEGATIVE EMOTIONS SOMETIMES.
We all have days when things don’t go as planned when we feel overwhelmed by our emotions and cannot find the strength to pull ourselves together. This is part of being human, and being kind to yourself is important during these moments. Absolutely no one in the world one gets it right 100% of the time.
Practicing self-compassion means making yourself feel understood and preserving your well-being to move forward with resilience. Self-compassion includes understanding that negative emotions are not bad, they just ARE. It’s important to recognize when you’re feeling negative emotions and, at the same time, avoid labeling yourself as “bad” for having emotions that may make you feel uncomfortable.
Emotions are passing states of being and they never last forever. Rather than avoiding or criticizing your own emotions, lean in and accept them – only then will you be able to understand how best to help yourself. It might even help to say to yourself, “I am noticing that I feel [tense, angry, sad, uncomfortable, etc.] These feelings will pass.” Can you imagine how powerful it might be for you to name and accept your emotions in a tough moment?
Handling negative emotions can be difficult, but learning how to deal with them healthily is possible. The next time you’re feeling down, remember these five tips and try to put them into practice. It might not be easy at first, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at managing your emotions. And always remember to be compassionate with yourself – everyone feels unhappy sometimes.
If you’re feeling like you could use more support to regulate your emotions, please reach out to us at Intentional Healing. Therapy and coaching sessions can be a great, safe, and encouraging place to work through hard things. We look forward to hearing from you.
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