Angry? Sad? How to deal with difficult emotions

If you’re struggling with a difficult emotion such as anger, confusion, fear, loneliness or sadness (to name just a few), and just don’t want to feel like this any more, then read on.

I am about to take you through my three-step process that will enable you to deal with this emotion head-on, and stop it limiting or ruining your life once and for all.

Step 1 – Accept and Identify

As soon as you are aware of your emotion, as soon as you feel it rising up within you, or washing over you, take a moment and accept this is happening.  So accept and even state (internally or externally)  “I feel angry”  or “I feel sad”.

The key here is to not try and escape it or push it away – this is commonly what we do, and do so quickly – that’s why the pause is helpful here.  The next thing we tend to do (and this all usually happens unconsciously and within a split second), is to either distract ourselves from it ie. deny its existence, or push it down within us.  We usually do this with external distractions such as TV, a spot of Facebook surfing, food, alcohol etc.

And while doing this does often give temporary relief (and often a shot of the feel-good hormone dopamine), doing so creates a build-up of emotion within you.

Why this is not a great long term strategy is because it will probably end up exploding out of you at a later date, creating problems and even illnesses within your body, and will also end up running your life, your decisions and even stop you enjoying or doing things.

Step 2 – Go There

Once you have taken the big steps of accepting and identifying the emotion, then really go to where it is in your body – now this is really counterintuitive and can feel quite scary but know that nothing bad is actually going to happen to you.

You may experience the emotion as a tightening solid feeling in your chest, an aching in your stomach, a constriction of your throat.

Whatever and wherever it is, really go there, go right down into it with your attention. Notice and get curious – what’s the colour, what’s the texture, is it moving, is it solid or made up of lots of particles?

Once you have done this, then breathe right down into it – allowing the breath to fill it up with new fresh air.   Notice what happens to it, what happens to the shape, the texture, its density? While you are doing this your brain will try and pull you away – all normal – just keep coming back to where you are consciously focusing your attention.

It’s the going there and staying there (versus the avoidance) that’s important here. A bit of courage and patience is required – but it’s worth it I promise you.

And when you have done this and do feel that shift, that dissipation, a calming sensation come in

Step 3 – Ask yourself…..

  • “ What is this (anger) telling me? And what is the message?”
  • “What do i need? What do I need in this?
  • “Is it possible from here?”
  • “And again, what is one thing I can do about this situation?

What’s important here, as with any of the tools I share, is the Awareness + the Insight + an Action.

All emotions are messages from the body. Next time you receive one of these messages my request is you try this process.

If you think this would be useful to anyone you know, please do share – thank you.

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