How to Manage Your Negative Emotions: 8 Steps to Start With

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One of the key skills of conscious people is the ability to regulate their emotions. However, it is important to understand that controlling emotions as well as bodily manifestations is not the best thing to do.

First, emotions will break through and take over at the most inopportune moment, and second, it makes no sense because all emotions are inherent in our nature and serve an important function. Their key function is to inform us and change our behavior according to what is going on around us.

If emotions shouldn’t be controlled, then how not to become a sociopath and not to start yelling when you just discover online live casino and haven’t started winning yet but already feel dissatisfied because you’ve tried lots of strategies? Emotions can and should be regulated.

 

Control Rules

This process has 3 key ones:

  • Accepting emotions as a given.
  • Dis-identifying with your emotions (they exist and make us alive, but we are not reduced to them; i.e. it is important to separate emotions from yourself).
  • Learning to manage your emotions.

This is different from control. With the latter, we initially don’t accept the emotion and try to suppress it, deny its existence; with control, on the other hand, we accept our feelings and accept them as the reality we are dealing with.

The nature of control is external. We integrate certain limitations and they unconsciously appear to us as a result of our choices, but in reality the nature of them is quite different. Usually the roots are in the fact that such manifestations of ours were not accepted, devalued or forbidden by those close to us, resulting in the persistent feeling that this part of us is bad, not worthy of love. If you don’t get rid of it, there is a fear that the most important people will turn away and not accept it. This is how a tendency develops to suppress certain feelings, primarily negative ones.

Often parents evaluate rather than mirror the child, resulting in a tendency to suppress and displace their emotions and a low ability to recognize and differentiate them.

Key Stages

The skill of controlling emotions can be roughly divided into 8 basic stages:

  1. Noticing that one is experiencing an emotion.
  2. Identify and name that emotion.
  3. Try to accept it and not try to get rid of it right away.
  4. Give yourself time and observe it, examine it more deeply.
  5. Identify with that emotion, separate it from yourself, understand that you are more than that emotion and are not reduced to it.
  6. Learn to control the power of that emotion (make it “quieter” or “louder”).
  7. Explore the connection of this emotion to the situation in which it arose and to the thought that triggered it.
  8. Learn how to manage this emotion through the body.

Difficulties arise at each of these stages. Most people stumble even at the first two points. Some don’t notice their feelings until they turn into physical pain and psychosomatic disorders, and some feel a kind of smeared discomfort, understand that they experience something unpleasant, but can’t identify what it is and name it.

This is due to the fact that not many of us were taught as children to understand what is going on inside. Often parents evaluate rather than mirror the child, resulting in a tendency to suppress and displace their emotions and a low ability to recognize and differentiate them.

Important Questions

For those who have difficulty recognizing their emotions, you should try answering the following questions:

  • What situation triggered this emotion?
  • What is the intensity of your experience (0 to 100)?
  • What is going on in your body, what are the sensations in different parts of your body?
  • What does your non-verbalism (facial expressions, posture, gestures) suggest?
  • What do you want to do in connection with this emotion?
  • What thoughts arise in this situation?

After answering these questions, try to name the emotion you are experiencing.

By the way, there are real physiological changes in our brain and body when we call our own negative emotions into words: levels of the stress hormone (cortisol) drop and arousal is greatly reduced.

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