Emotions are normal and make up an important aspect of our lives. For one, it’s because of the emotions that we have that we could relate so well with one another, and see and feel the beauties in things around us.
Some emotions, such as love, joy, happiness, gratitude, curiosity, etc. are very pleasant emotions that we often desire to have frequently. These pleasant emotions are called positive emotions. On the other hand, we have some less desirable emotions, which can make us feel ashamed of ourselves for having them – think hate, anger, jealousy, etc. these are called difficult or negative emotions.
Even though difficult emotions make us unhappy, and most times, we desire never to have them, they are inevitable – you are bound to feel them as you journey through life at one time or the other. Learning how to deal with them can help you live a more fulfilled and happy life. It is best to handle distressing emotions the right way, hence you need to know the healthy ways to respond to difficult emotions.
In this guide, we will provide you with five easy tips on how to deal with difficult emotions when they surface in your life – whether now or later on.
5 Healthy Ways to Respond to Difficult Emotions
1. Identify the emotion
We are often going to feel difficult emotions from time to time – whether it be feeling frustrated at being misunderstood by your spouse or teacher or getting upset with a friend over their flaky attitude or not being able to meet a deadline.
Whichever way, negative emotions are sure to come just as we are sure of having positive emotions. One of the most important steps to dealing with difficult emotions is identifying the emotion – by giving it a name. If you feel jealousy, angry, repulsive, etc., you will need to identify it properly. This step is important as it gives you a guiding compass on what you will be dealing with.
2. Accept the emotion
A lot of times, we tend to feel ashamed of ourselves for having these difficult emotions. When we find a colleague’s repulsive attitude or when we feel jealousy of other people, we try to deny these feelings and cover them up.
But the feelings will remain there. Not acknowledging what you are feeling does not automatically take the feelings from you, rather it pushes it down only to surface again.
To deal with difficult emotions, you need to accept the feelings that you have. Acknowledge its presence and know within yourself that the feeling is negative. It would help if you worked to get it out of you because it is hurting you, your relationship, or productivity.
3. Take reasonable actions
After accepting your emotions, the next step in dealing with the difficult emotion is to take action.
One of the first actions you might want to take is to get the reason you feel the way you are feeling right now. Get to the bottom of it. This often means going over every issue that leads to that feeling and analyzing them. You will most often find that what triggered the emotion may not even be worth it, and the issue will be resolved.
If that is not the case, then you may want to find a way to express the emotion. This could mean talking to someone. For instance, if you are angry with a friend or spouse over something, you need to take simple steps to smoothen things out, instead of allowing negative emotions to linger.
Emotions and actions are linked to each other, and you need to be able to act on your emotions with only reasonable actions.
Meditation helps you release difficult emotions and sometimes helps you focus on the more important aspect of life.
Meditation can also help you with stress and keep your mind calm. Simple acts of meditation, such as holding your breath, have been shown to help people make better decisions when experiencing negative emotions such as anger.
Meditation is undoubtedly one of the healthy ways to respond to difficult emotions because it can give you clearer perspective of what you’re dealing with. It clears your mind and allows you to open your thinking. Additionally, you can learn some quick hacks to make you happy instantly.
5. Get professional help
Sometimes no matter what we do or the steps we take, some tough emotions are hard to deal with without some professional help. If you find yourself stuck with depression or feelings of unhappiness for more than a couple of weeks, you may want to get help from professionals to get over it.
Negative emotions though unpleasant, are a necessity. For one, they help us appreciate the upsides of life when they come—as such, learning to deal with them healthily can help you gain more out of life.
Experiencing difficult emotions are going to be part of our life as long as we have the ability to feel. But knowing how to respond to them will help you live a satisfying life and protect your mental health. Thus, you need to follow these healthy ways to respond to difficult emotions, and safeguard your emotional well-being.