Unfortunately, we can’t just get rid of certain emotions because they all serve an important purpose in our lives – even the difficult ones like anxiety, sadness, grief, anger, shame, and guilt.
Emotions give us information. Sadness may tell us that we’re lonely or that we’re grieving a loss. Anger may be a clue that we are being treated unfairly or that others are not meeting our expectations. Guilt often results from the belief that we have done something wrong or hurt someone.
Emotions also move us to act or react in different ways. Frustration may drive us to problem-solve or try to change a situation for the better. Sadness may encourage us to seek comfort from others, or create time to reflect. Guilt may motivate us to make amends or keep us from repeating the same behaviour in the future.
When emotions are intense and overwhelming, we naturally want to get rid of them or block them out. Not feeling or facing our emotions; however, often makes things worse and catches up to us eventually. Ultimately, we want to be able to deal with what is causing our emotions and express them in a healthy way. But sometimes we find ourselves confronted by emotions that feel too intense or overwhelming to deal with in the moment. Or, we can find ourselves in situations we cannot immediately change. There are strategies that can help us “ride out” or “dial down” difficult and intense emotions until we are either less emotionally reactive or we are in a time or place where we are able to reflect on our situation or deal with what may be causing our emotions.
Check out these helpful strategies for “riding out” intense emotions.
Helpful Things to Tell Yourself
We may tell ourselves that we can’t handle intense feelings, or that our feelings aren’t real or valid. However, this type of self-talk isn’t true and doesn’t help our situation. It’s better to accept your feelings without judgment, and make a plan to get through them. Check out these helpful thoughts.
Helpful Thoughts for “In the Moment”
Helpful Thoughts for Anytime
Take note of which statements above you think might be helpful to you. Write them down or put them in your phone to help you remember them when you need them.
Helpful Things To Do
Sometimes, our emotions can be overwhelming and lead to unproductive or unhealthy ways of coping. But there are strategies that can help us “ride out” or “dial down” these difficult emotions in a healthy way. Here are some strategies that may help you express or cope better with difficult emotions.
Try experimenting with some of the strategies above to see which ones help you cope better with difficult emotions.
Learning to ride out intense or difficult emotions takes time. Be prepared to keep practicing these strategies so they become more effective over time. And reach out for help (a trusted adult or counsellor) if your find that you’re still struggling to deal with your emotions.
For more ideas or help on riding out intense emotions, check out MindShift CBT for iOS and Android.