Managing Your Emotions

  • Knowing how to recognize your emotions can help you manage them in healthful ways.

Emotions are neither good nor bad. Learning to express emotions in a healthful way will not only help you cope with emotional upsets, but also help those around you better handle their emotions.

Emotions can be confusing. Sometimes you know what you are feeling but at other times you may feel overwhelming emotions without any apparent cause. Hormones are chemicals secreted by glands, that can also affect your emotions. They can make you feel very happy at one moment and very sad at another.

Dealing with Emotions in Positive Ways

  • As a young child, you learned from parents, teachers, and friends how to express your emotions. Some emotions, such as happiness and love, are expressed through facial expressions like smiles and glances, and through behaviors like laughing and hugging. Empathy, or the ability to imagine and understand how someone else feels, is expressed by supporting a friend who is going through a difficult time.

  • You also learned that people sometimes deal with their feeling in harmful ways. They may exaggerate their emotions, pretend they have no feelings, or even hurt another person deliberately while expressing emotions. To help you recognize your emotions and express them in positive ways, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Who can I ask to help me deal with my negative feelings?
    • What can I do to feel better?
    • Why should I wait before responding?

Responding to Difficult Emotions

  • Feeling bad, or emotional, when things happen in you life is normal. These feelings, however, can be managed. Some techniques to reduce the intensity of your emotions include taking several deep breaths, relaxing your muscles, getting away from the situation until you calm down, analyzing your emotions by writing about them in a private journal, or talking to someone you trust about the way you feel.

  • Some people choose to mange difficult emotions by avoiding situations that make them uncomfortable. Defense mechanisms are mental processes that protect individuals from strong or stressful emotions and situations.

  • Handling Fear
    • Most people are afraid of something. You can overcome some fears by recognizing that you're afraid and figuring out what is causing this fear.

  • Dealing with Guilt
    • Guilt is another very destructive emotion. If it is not managed, it can harm your self-esteem. If you feel guilty about something, think about the cause. Have you hurt someone? Admitting a mistake, apologizing, and promising to be thoughtful in the future can help manage feelings of guilt.

  • Managing Anger
    • Anger is one of the most difficult emotions to handle. As with guilt, it is best to figure out what is causing your anger, and then deal with it in a healthy way. When you first feel anger building up inside you, take time to calm down. You might try deep breathing or slowing repeating a calming word or phrase.
      • Talk with someone you trust
      • Do something to relax
      • Channel your energy in a different direction