Handle These Feelings

Woman Covering Her Right Eye Using Her Right Hand during Daytime
You might want to consider yourself as a rational being, but, in fact, your life is inspired by emotions. Emotions upset you, drive you, intimidate you, and inspire you. They inspire decisions, move you to action, or paralyze you in anxiety, anxiety, and fear. They are the cornerstone of your best memories and the bond that creates deep connections with other people. In this guide, we’ll explore four principles for working with your emotions and three suggestions to handle intense feelings such as anxiety, anger, and sadness when they threaten to overwhelm you.
Emotions are volatile. It is possible to feel anxious one moment, angry the next, and then have waves of sadness flood through you seemingly out of nowhere. Since they can take you on such wild rides, it’s natural to be somewhat wary of strong emotions – and do what you can to prevent them or keep them at bay.
You’ve seen what can happen when so-called”negative” emotions like anger, anxiety, and sadness overwhelm you or others. You have memories of unskillful expressions of these feelings you wish you could forget. Images of psychological trauma are stored deep in your subconscious, warning you to be cautious when you feel these emotions yourself or witness them in different folks. Just thinking about these emotions makes you feel vulnerable.
In the face of vulnerable feelings, a more rational approach may feel safer. It’s easier to concentrate on your thoughts and not venture into the scary world of feelings. However, reason has its limitations. You may think you’re more rational than you really are. While you can rationally weigh alternatives or consider different thoughts, the closing”Yes this” and”Not that” arises from what”feels right.” Even when you’re focused on thinking rather than feeling, in the end, your decisions and actions are based on your own”gut feelings.”
Because emotions are so powerfully connected to decisions and actions, as well as being linked to threatening memories along with your strongest inspirations and social connections, it’s important to understand how to handle them skillfully. Let’s explore four principles for relating to feelings in a mindful, intentional, and empowered way. Practicing these principles grows your Emotional Intelligence, which is a skillset for managing emotions well.
Four Principles to Handle Emotions Skillfully
The only way out of an emotion is through it.
While your first inclination when you feel overwhelmed by uncomfortable feelings, such as anxiety, anger, and sadness, may be to distract yourself, downplay the feeling, or run away, this just causes emotions to go underground, into your subconscious, where they are saved as tension in your body, eat away at your reassurance, and finally surface as sickness. Repressed emotions are the cornerstone of compulsions and bad habits, as well as the source of overwhelm and flareups in relationships. You need to address them.
Emotions arise to offer you specific details on what is going on inside you, around you, and with others-and this information will stick with you till it is acknowledged and heeded. So, it’s important to shift your perspective from fear of emotions to seeing them as useful guides. Emotions arise with information you need about your life and the ability to do it with this information. Thus, the number one principle of handling emotions is to stop ignoring them and pay attention to what they must show you.
What are the sensations going on inside your skin? Especially, notice any areas of present discomfort, as these hold important clues to what you need to know and do now.
If you are not accustomed to checking in like this, you might not feel much at all or you may feel strong aversion to feeling discomfort. That’s OK. Stay with it. Remain present with whatever feeling or lack of feeling is there. Attention to feelings requires practice. It’s a real skill you can learn. Remember, if you don’t listen to what your emotions are trying to tell you, they get stuck on repeat and keep biking.
Mindfulness of everything you feel shifts your connection to it.
When intense feelings arise, rather than immediately trying to do something about them, make time to witness, listen to, and feel them. This act of mindfulness brings new neural connections into your habitual emotional patterns which allows them to shift. You bring a layer of awareness to your emotions that affects how they affect you.
Mindfulness releases you from being”gripped by” your emotions in a manner that”takes you over.” You get freedom and space inside and around the feelings you”have,” by realizing that feelings do not define”who you are.” They are only information about what is going on inside you, around you, and with others.
Emotions come and go.
Knowing that emotions are transient is reassuring when emotions run strongly or cycle repetitively. When you shine the light of awareness on your emotions, you can see what they must show you, take appropriate action, and enable them to release.
Every emotion carries a message.
As soon as you’ve tuned into the sensation of an emotion in your body, ask it what message it has for you. What is this feeling telling you about how you’re relating to a situation, to yourself, and with others?
Given this information, what actions would be useful for yourself and others? Just notice what comes to mind.
Because we aren’t generally taught to recognize the meaning in emotions, we often miss, ignore, or prevent their messages. When we do this, psychological energy builds into overblown high drama to get our attention. It’s like our feelings state,”O.K. you didn’t get the message in my civil indoor voice, so I’m going to yell it at you.” You then feel intense anger, overwhelming sadness, or anxiety that’s through the roof.
When emotion has amped up to that point, it can be helpful to bring it down a notch to a manageable level. A few simple actions can help you do this.
Stop what you are doing, close your eyes, and focus on slow, deep, gentle breathing, in and out through your nose. Closing your eyes and engaging in this type of breathing activates your body’s natural relaxation response, which helps dissipate the pressure, energy, and intensity of strong emotions.
Feel the feeling of the emotion in your body.
Notice where the emotion is located in your body. Feel the quality of sensation there. Noticing feelings as sensations helps you witness them more objectively, so you gain space from what you’re feeling.
Adopt the mindful perspective of a curious observer and question the emotion as though it is a friend who wants to tell you something important.
Remember that Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose, at the present moment, without judgment. With this mindset, ask your emotion questions, as if it is a friend who is trying to give you valuable information and you are a scientist seeking discovery.
When you follow these suggestions, you shift your perspective and take the”over-the-top” extreme edge off of what you are feeling. Extreme anger may downshift to a firm”no,” intense sadness can mellow into”letting go,” and higher anxiety can settle into a motivating spur to action.
Once a feeling has downshifted in strength, it’s easier to listen to it, feel it, and respond appropriately. You can take action to address the current situation.
The main point is that, rather than fearing the emotional intensity of fear, anger, and sadness, see if you can move toward those feelings with a mindful, curious mindset. As you do that, notice how they change and direct you to what you need to do right now.

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