Stress and difficult emotions are frequently the cause of suffering. When we learn to alter our emotions, we learn to make everything better. This is difficult for the average person. For someone in addiction recovery, it can feel impossible. But it isn’t. Anyone can gain better emotional control and find greater happiness. Using these 5 simple strategies, you can relieve some of the strain and sorrow in your life.
The first step to managing your emotions is to stop. Take a break. Pause. This is because emotions want to sweep us away. They flood our bodies with chemicals. They put us on a state of high alert. This makes us feel panicked or agitated. So the first step in handling your emotions is to stop.
The moment you feel uncomfortable, angry, frightened, wounded, overwhelmed, powerless, trapped or even overly excited, it’s time to take a break. This can involve taking a walk or merely deep breathing. If you can get physical space away from the source of your discomfort, do it. If not, merely closing your eyes and focusing inward can help.
Identify Your Feelings Without Judgement
An important part of acknowledging our emotions is to identify them. Frequently, we know we don’t feel well, but can’t say why. We might know that we are angry and then believe that anger came from events outside of us. This is never true. Emotions always come from within.
Since every feeling is a message, we must learn to listen. To do this, it helps to identify each feeling without judging it as “good” or “bad.” Feelings aren’t good or bad. They’re information.
Work with Yourself
The core of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is changing your thoughts to change your emotions. Anyone can do a version of this. Whenever you’re having an emotion that troubles you, take time to see what thoughts you’re having.
Most of us are our own worst enemy. We say hideous things inside our own minds. We tell ourselves we’re weak or stupid. A harmful internal dialog only makes our pain worse. This is us kicking ourselves when we’re down. Show yourself understanding and comfort distressing emotions the same way you’d comfort a loved one.
Seek Spiritual Assistance
Research has shown meditation is useful for managing emotions. The act of sitting quietly and fully experiencing your feelings involves the steps listed above. Meditating on a regular basis can help reduce dangerous emotions before they become stressful.
Prayer is also helpful. Speaking to a higher power can provide you with a new outlook.
Get It Out
One of the key strategies for managing our emotions is simply to get them out where we can take a better look at them. This can easily be done by writing our feelings down or talking them out. By doing this, we use different parts of our brain. Then we can think about them differently.
Writing in a journal is a good way to begin this process. Talking about our feelings is even more important. This is where a therapist can be helpful. They are trained to guide you to answers and find tools for coping with your emotions. However, merely talking to a friend or family member can help. When doing this, aim for someone who is a good listener. Advice, criticism, feedback and input don’t help very much when it comes to emotions. Someone else doesn’t understand you as well as you do. Therefore their responses aren’t as good as merely hearing yourself talk.
If you’re suffering from emotional turmoil and need someone to talk to, reach out to us for help. Our trained professionals are here to ease the pain.