Your ability to experience emotions is more important than you realize. While responding to a given situation, emotions play a crucial role. When you are in tune with your feelings, you have access to the knowledge that helps with decision-making, day-to-day interactions, relationship success, and self-care.
While emotions can play a valuable role in your regular life, they can also take a toll on your social life, emotional health, and interpersonal relationships. Here are some practical ways of handling or processing emotions in healthy and productive routines in four stages that are further discussed in detail in this blog.
Stage 1: Identification and awareness of your emotions
Stage 2: Ability to stay with the feelings and accept the feelings to process
Stage 3: Act on the emotion appropriately after processing it.
Stage 4: Understand your feelings in order to address them.
Take a look at the repercussions of your emotions.
All the intense emotions are not destructive. Even these are the feelings that make our life interesting, exciting, unique, and vibrant. When you have strong feelings, it signifies that you embrace life fully without repressing your natural reactions.
The first step to process emotions is to accept that it is normal to experience emotional overwhelm on occasion when something wonderful or terrible happens or when you feel like you have missed out.
Although, emotions that get out of hand often might lead to friendship or relationship conflict, trouble at work or school, difficulty relating to others, physical or emotional outbursts, or an urge to use substances to manage emotions.
Find some time to think, if you do not process these emotions healthily and productively, how it will affect your day-to-day life. It will help you understand the problem areas and track your success.
Regulate your emotions
You can not control your emotions, and repressing them can be very bad for your health. So, it would help if you processed it in a healthy and productive way by channelizing it. Imagine that you can control or manage your emotions. Here, you would not want to leave them flowing at maximum all the time. Also, you do not wish to switch them off completely.
When you repress emotions, you prevent yourself from experiencing and expressing feelings. Suppression of emotions can happen consciously or unconsciously. And, either can cause mental and physical health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, substance misuse, sleep issues, muscle tension with pain, or difficulty managing stress.
While learning to exercise control over feelings, ensure you are not just sweeping them under the rug. Healthy emotional expression includes searching for some balance between overwhelming emotions and no emotions.
Identify your feeling
Taking a moment to check in the mood can help you process your emotions. Whenever an overwhelming feeling takes over, interrupt it and ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I feeling right now?
- That incident makes me feel this way?
- Does the current situation have a different explanation that can make sense?
- What do I need to do about these feelings?
- Is there a better of coping with these feelings?
You are reframing your thoughts in a healthy and progressive way by considering possible alternatives. It can help modify your first extreme reaction. Also, it might take some time before this response becomes a habit. So, keep practicing; going through these steps in your mind will become more accessible and practical with time.
Accept your emotions
If you are trying to manage your emotions better, you need to accept them first. You can consider your feelings as messengers that are neither good nor bad, and they are neutral. When you hyperventilate after getting good news or collapse on the floor sobbing after receiving some terrible information, it might help to ask yourself, “Just calm down.”
Accepting emotions as they are can help you make peace and get comfortable with them. Increase your comfort around extreme emotions let you fully feel them without reaching much in intense, unhelpful ways.
If you accept your emotions healthily and productively, it may result in greater life satisfaction and lesser mental health symptoms. What’s more, people who consider their feelings helpful may receive higher levels of happiness.
Pen down your emotions
Writing down your feelings and responses can help you understand any disruptive patterns. Sometimes, mental tracing of the emotions back through the thoughts is enough. Putting feelings onto paper allows you to reflect on them more deeply.
Keeping a mood journal and writing feelings on it can also help you recognize when specific situations, like family conflict or trouble at work, contribute to hard-to-control emotions. Identifying particular triggers makes it more possible to develop practical ways to process them more productively.
Journaling offers you the best benefits when you do it regularly. So, keep a journal and jot down intense emotions and feelings as soon as they happen. Note down the triggers and your reaction. If your response is not helpful or appropriate, use your journal to explore more beneficial possibilities in the future.
Breathe in, breathe out
There is so much to say about the power of a deep breath; breathing in and out can help whether you are ridiculously happy or angry. Slowing down at the moment and paying attention to your breath will not make the feelings go away (and remember, we want to process the emotions, not sway them out).
Deep breathing exercises (or simple breath in and out) can help you ground yourself and take a moment from the first intense feeling and any intense reaction you want to avoid. So, the next time you feel emotions are taking over, try to:
- Breathe in slowly, as deep breaths come through the diaphragm, not the chest. It may make you visualize your breath rising from deep in your belly.
- Hold the breath for a count of three, and then let it go (repeat this until you start feeling better).
- Consider a mantra. Some individuals find it helpful to repeat a mantra, like “Everything is normal,” “Just calm down,” or “I am relaxed.”
Take a break
Getting some distance from continuous intense feelings can help you to react to them in reasonable ways. The space can be physical, like walking out of an upsetting situation. But you can also make some mental distance by distracting your mind.
While you don’t need to block or avoid the feelings entirely, it is not harmful to distract your mind until you are in a better place to deal with them. Just ensure you do come back to them. Healthy distractions are for a temporary period only, and we recommend you try taking a walk, talking to a loved one, watching a funny video, or spending a few minutes with your pet.
Stay on top of stress
When you are under stress, managing emotions can become more complex. People who generally are capable of controlling their feelings might find it harder to handle or process in times of high tension and stress.
Reducing stress or finding a way to manage it can help make your emotions more manageable. Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation can help with anxiety, too. You can’t get rid of the stress instantly, but make it easier for you to live with.
Other healthy and productive ways to cope with stress and process your emotions include getting enough sleep, exercising, making time to conversate with friends, spending time in nature, or making time for hobbies and relaxation.