Avoiding negative emotions can actually lead to psychological problems. Learn how to release your feelings and lead a healthier life.
- TIP: Think about how to respond to what you're feeling, if necessary. Go for a walk or just take a deep breath.
- Step 1: Review what you learned from your family regarding expressing feelings. As a child, you may have been taught not to cry or express anger or to appear happy at all times. As an adult, you have more options and can choose to discard old rules.
- FACT: A 2010 worldwide survey, sponsored by Coca-Cola, found that nearly 40 percent of respondents said catching up with their loved ones after work was the happiest time of their day.
- Step 2: Decide how to respond to your feelings once you've identified them. Ask yourself what options you have for expressing your feelings, what the consequences for each option may be for you and others, what result you would like, and what would happen if you did nothing.
- Step 3: Recognize any tendencies you have to distort events with your interpretations. Self-defeating interpretations include magnifying negative events while discounting positive ones, or overly-personalizing events, believing you are the cause of whatever the problem may be. Learning to interpret events more accurately will result in more appropriate emotional responses.
- Step 4: Accept and value your feelings. Emotions help guide you, motivate you, and help you make sense of the world around you.
- Step 5: Identify your emotions. If you can't readily define what you're feeling, pay attention to your body. Fear may put a knot in your stomach or anxiety may cause your muscles to tense.
- Step 6: Pay attention to your behavior and try to become self-aware. You may not even realize you're feeling a certain way, but if your voice rises or becomes sharp when speaking to someone, you may be angry with that person without knowing it.
- Step 7: Understand that suppressing your emotions can lead to bigger problems. If you drink to to cope with a stressful issue, you may develop a drinking problem in addition to the original issue, which is still unresolved.