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Dealing with your emotions

Dealing with your emotions is not always easy. However, there are things that you can do to help:

  • Try to acknowledge your emotions
  • Try to gain some understanding about why you have them or where they come from
  • Try not to get overwhelmed because this can easily lead to a feeling of being a victim, out of control or helpless

By acknowledging your emotions, you are accepting that they are part of dealing with difficult situations. They do not necessarily make you a good or bad person and you should try not to judge yourself because of them.

Once you have acknowledged that you feel angry, sad, guilty, etc you may want to explore why you feel this way; sometimes feelings are closely linked with people or events that have occurred in the past, or are currently occurring.

It may help considering:

  • Have I felt this way in the past?
  • Did the feelings pass or change over time?
  • Do I actually want to do something to address the feeling?

It isn't always necessary to deal with feelings. Sometimes it is much better to allow yourself to feel angry or sad etc. This can be part of the process of coming to terms with things.
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel, and no specific time for how long you should feel that way.

Sometimes new or strange emotions can be worrying and overwhelming and can lead to unfamiliar behaviour. This may be evident to you as well as to others. If you feel concerned or distressed about your feelings or how they are making you behave, you may find it useful to find someone to talk to.

Perhaps it is other people’s responses to your feelings or behaviour that is distressing. Maybe they seem impatient, distant or judgemental. Don't assume that others will know how you are feeling. Wherever possible it is best to communicate to others exactly how you feel, and, in return, consider how they feel. Try to explain, if you can, why you feel this way and understand that it will pass.

If an emotion is persistent, recurring or distressing you might want to consider formulating ways to deal with it. For example, on days when you feel very low but know from experience that you will probably feel better the next day, then you could try making a pact with yourself. This could be a simple message such as ‘I will allow myself to be sad today/this morning on the understanding that tomorrow will be a better day’. You may be pleasantly surprised how effective this technique can be.

Some emotions, especially those that relate to a deep-rooted issue or past experience may be very difficult to deal with or circumvent. In these instances it may be best to allow yourself to feel this way. Try to reduce the impact it has on you by devising an action plan. This could involve organising support and perhaps getting professional help.

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