Work WITH your emotions rather than suppressing them - Deepstash
Work WITH your emotions rather than suppressing them

Work WITH your emotions rather than suppressing them

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Work WITH your emotions rather than suppressing them

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Emotions can act in our favour

  • Generally, emotions keep us safe. Feeling fear will help us survive a threatening environment, and feeling love helps us form companionship.
  • Emotions can also be manipulated. It includes the act of "posturing" - making one's body look larger than it is - to seem more threatening. Humans instinctively respond to the neonatal features of babies which encourages us to protect them.
  • We can alter our emotional display so as to elicit an appropriate response. For example, the teacher who is hugely frustrated, but greets with a smile.

But emotional labour can cause burnout, manipulation of emotion can cause confusion and hurt, and showing off will not always achieve the results we desire.

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Emotions such as pain and sadness may be difficult to contain, but nothing to be ashamed of. However, sometimes one may prefer to hide one's feelings if it can cause one further vulnerability.

Burying negative emotions can lead to several mental health issues. Avoiding the person, people, or place, which causes the discomfort can lead to isolation, social anxiety, and depression. Learning ways to feel and safely express emotions appropriately forms a great model for healthy behaviours.

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When you recognise an emotion, label it and accept that it is OK to feel it. You may want to write down how you feel and why you feel this way.

This type of expression can have a therapeutic effect, and serves as a reminder of the trigger situation when you are ready to deal with it.

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Quick ways to manage emotional stress is by watching a funny video, listening to music, crying, singing, or changing your environment. Sometimes it can be helpful to channel the stress response into physical exercise, or to change the temperature immediately, such as splashing cold water on your face.

Try to refrain from unhealthy soothing methods such as comfort eating, drinking, recreational drugs, and avoiding the situation entirely.

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  • Try to have difficult discussions when you are not very emotional. Sometimes you need to walk away to regain control (tell the other person you need a moment), then return to the discussion.
  • Write down your agenda for the discussion.
  • Hold the discussion somewhere neutral if possible.
  • Have an idea of what you want as a solution. Be flexible - and then listen.
  • If you can, try to avoid blame language, "You were mean..." Instead, focus on what you can control. "When you said X, I felt..."

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The following behaviours may indicate that you or your loved ones are suppressing an emotion.

  • Not wanting to talk about something. Sometimes physically leaving the room when the subject or person is mentioned.
  • Getting angry suddenly and out of proportion to what was asked/said.
  • Talking in extremes e.g. "everyone" or "no-one."
  • Avoiding emotional language. Using the word "interesting" as opposed to "hurt", "sad" or "rejected" and the use of joking/humour.

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  • Visualise a time you felt excitement.
  • Think of a time you felt anger.
  • Picture a time you felt love.
  • Think of a time you felt sadness.
  • Visualise a time you felt proud.
  • Think of a time you felt fear.
  • Picture a time you felt happy.

This exercise takes you through many emotions. Then ask yourself to recognise where you feel each emotion. End with an affirmation which focuses on accepting them. Recognise where you feel those emotions as it can give you insight into the emotion arising so you can manage it before it becomes overwhelming.

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