Emotions or feelings are normal; however, some emotions are positive and some are negative or difficult to handle. Happiness, excitement, love, curiosity, gratitude, contentment, and interest are all positive emotions. But the emotions that are difficult to handle are anger, jealousy, loneliness, sadness, fear, rejection, or self-criticism. All these negative emotions can even be painful at times; especially when you feel them strongly or if you let them dwell within you for long.
It is difficult to avoid negative emotions, as everyone faces them at some point in life. These emotions become unbearable when mixed with alcohol or drug use. So, at a rehabilitation center, you can learn certain ways to handle them well. Here are the three important steps to consider for handling difficult emotions:
Acceptance is the first step in preventing the negative effects of anything, including difficult emotions. When you are aware of your emotions like anger, sadness, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, depression, or more, you can even feel discomfort in a certain part of your body, such as tightening of the throat, stomach ache, heart pounding, etc. On becoming aware of your emotion, you can try to relax with a cup of tea or drink water.
But don’t try to run away from your emotion. If you let it bottle up within you, it will bubble up and may explode later. This results in more difficult situations or complete emotional shutdowns. So, it’s important to listen to your negative or difficult emotions.
2. Label the Emotion
After identifying an emotion, you need to label it. Not by saying that “I am sad.” All you need to say is “this is sadness.” It will help you acknowledge the presence of sadness in your life without letting it overpower your emotional state.
When you know that you’re dealing with a certain emotion like sadness due to a certain situation (maybe due to the loss of someone in your life or any other reason), you are in more control of taking some part of it away from your system. This will allow you to stay in present, instead of catapulting that emotion into the future by being trapped in the past.
3. Take Action
When you’re aware of what exactly you are feeling, it’s on you to decide whether or not to express that emotion. Sometimes it is enough to realize your emotional state, other times you need to take some action to feel better.
You need to think about the best possible way to express that emotion. Is it time to confront something with your friend or family? Or can you handle it by simply going jogging?
In a rehab centre, you’re taught how to change your mood. Gradually, you’ll be able to change your difficult emotions into positive ones. Otherwise, you will be stuck on to those negative emotions and it can drag you down to feel worse.
Also Read: The Six Stages of Addiction Treatment
You can try the following things to remain positive:
- Seek Support: It is best to share your negative emotions with your friend, parent, or any other trusted person in your life. They can help you with the right ways to explore your emotions. They even give you positive advice or inculcate fresh ways of thinking about certain things in life. When you feel supported and understood in life, you’re likely to feel good.
- Develop Positive Emotions: With positive feelings, you can develop a sense of well-being and happiness. So, make it a habit to focus on the positive things in your life. Even some little things like praising your mom for her food could make you feel happy when you’ll see her lit-up face after the appreciation. Also, try to notice the good things around you to change your emotions from negative to positive.
- Exercise: Exercising is a great way to change your mood, as it releases natural chemicals in the brain to promote a positive mood. It also helps in releasing stress build-up while keeping you away from any sort of negative feelings.
At some point in life, it becomes difficult to get rid of a tough emotion. If you’re dealing with this situation, you need to talk to a counsellor, therapist, parent, or friend to help you overcome that mental state. With the right support, you can easily get rid of difficult emotions and feel better in life.
This blog was reviewed by Ms. Shraddha Banerjee (B.sc (Gold Medalist), M.Sc, M.Phil), RCI Licenced Clinical Psychologist at Safe House Premium. She has been writing articles on Mental Illness in Dainik Bhaskar. With expertise in substance-related, neurotic, sexual, and stress-based disorders among young adults, Ms. Banerjee forms an integral part of the support system for individuals healing from addictions of various natures.