Handling Emotions!

A quick reference to some activities for coping with big emotions.

1. Acknowledge the emotion and accept it.
When we feel big emotions, we often try to suppress or deny them. This is the equivalent of shaking a pop bottle with the lid on, leading to a firmer and firmer exterior. A more tense experience.

By using positive affirmation we can remove that lid before the pressure gets high enough to be a concern.

When you feel unwanted or ‘inappropriate’ emotions, greet them:
‘Hi anger, welcome to the table!’
‘Ah, frustration, my old friend’
‘Love, you’re unfamiliar and uncomfortable but it’s nice to see you’

Recognise that – “I am human and I will feel. I am allowed to feel in this moment. It will pass.”

2. Deep breaths
Breathing exercises afford our brains a moment’s pause. They can refocus, redirect, relieve pain, ease tension and anxieties, and enable a moment for active, useful thoughts to come into mind.

I did a previous article detailing breathing exercises should you wish to try them.

3. Counting exercises
Counting exercises are one of the most well known practises for managing emotions, particularly anger, although their efficacy is disputed.

My intention is not to tell you that counting to ten will curb your anger or aggression. Rather, counting to ten can bring you back into your present moment and your right senses.
By observing items in the present moment, we can calm catastrophic thoughts and redirect our attention.
Counting is especially useful to people with anxiety and PTSD for these reasons.

4. Express yourself and what you want
When we are able to comprehend what it is that we want, and what stands in our way, we can begin to identify appropriate ways of compromising to meet satisfying outcomes.
Sometimes it simply isn’t enough to return to the present moment because it is the present moment (or people) escalating the intense emotion.
Take a pause or time out.
Once you have gathered your thoughts, deliver them in the most conducive way.
Rather than launching into the crusade of a social injustice, enable the other person to hear your genuine concern and to respond to that alone.

Different relationships will require different levels of interaction. If you are unsure what the appropriate way to address an individual(s) is leave a comment below.

5. Time out from everything else
Similar to counting, time out can be a help and a hindrance. When taking time out from the stressors of life, it is important to direct this time towards genuine acts of stress relief.
If we do not occupy our minds with pleasurable activities to bring about the release of ‘feel-good’ brain chemicals, there is every chance that a time out could be detrimental. Non-directed time out (without intention to engage in stress relief) could cause an increase in frustration rather than resolving the root issue.

6. Positive self regard and treatment
Love yourself. Behaving with kindness towards ourselves and managing our needs effectively, keeps us in balance.

We are our own keepers.

It is important to step back from our modern, overcharged, and overstimulated lives to observe our ‘still’ self.
Rather than seeking ‘one-hit’ gratification from temporary pleasures, we should be seeking to live in peace from a stance of joy.
We will explore living in ‘joy’ and how this is juxtaposed with happiness.

Making time for therapeutic activity is important. It is rare that we believe self care acts to be in service to the greater good.
A life where we assume the responsibility to care for our mental health consistently, would see us more connected and understanding as a society.


Rather than reaching crisis and then being dependent on services, we could aim to better understand other’s needs to take care of the self, and support that. We could communicate about these needs, and endeavour to satisfy the needs of societies head-space, starting at the individual level.

Standing together enables us to be more strong when facing adversity. As the importance of mental health grows in awareness, we should aim to heal ourselves and be mindful of others.

With love,
OnceUnchained

P.S. If you need to scream into a pillow, just do it ;o)

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