How do you handle difficult emotions? - Deepstash
How do you handle difficult emotions?

How do you handle difficult emotions?

Similarly as with our body — what do you do with difficult emotions? From small conflicts and frustrations to deep wounds from unsatisfied childhood needs, worst traumas, and feelings that bother you on a daily basis?

  • FIGHT: anger / pushing
  • FLIGHT: distracting oneself
  • FREEZE: numbness, depression, learned helplessness

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MORE IDEAS FROM Don’t fight, flight (or freeze) your body and emotions

What's your response to bodily sensations?

You accidentally hit your finger with a hammer. What’s your first reaction? And then: what do you do next? Do you try to resist pain, talk with someone to shift focus, or try hard to not feel it at all?

  • FIGHT: grit one’s teeth and resist
  • FLIGHT: distracting ourselves
  • FREEZE: cutting ties with a body part / dissociating

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Try the mindfulness way.

Next time try to… focus on the sensation. In a mindful way, observing and experiencing, but not judging. It won’t make the pain disappear, but it will make it less troublesome.

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Procrastination is an emotional management problem.

From a distance, procrastination looks like a time management problem. There is growing evidence that it is rather an emotional management problem — a flight response. Instead of facing the problem, we evade it. And how do other fear responses work? Here we go:

  • FIGHT: last-minute deadline crunch (“I will never surrender!”)
  • FLIGHT: procrastination (“let’s keep it at a temporal distance!”)
  • FREEZE: staring at the “chapter 1” of an unwritten report, piece of code, or email

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Accept who you are.

It does not mean that you suddenly start enjoying your pain (as with the hammer and the finger), or turning suffering into some mystical masochism. It’s about accepting that you are who you are.

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What's your attachment style?

What are you afraid more of — loneliness or being in chains? Do you under- or overreact? What annoys you more: a partner being unresponsive, or too pushy and controlling?

  • FIGHT: chasing and checking (anxious attachment style)
  • FLIGHT: needing space, avoiding difficult subjects, ghosting (avoidant-dismissive attachment style)
  • FREEZE: learned helplessness, hopelessness, or depression

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The 5 Stages of Grief model.

One example of such integration is the 5 Stages of Grief model. While it might be not a universal one, it turns out that these stages map beautifully into fear responses:

  • Denial → flight
  • Anger → fight
  • Bargaining → fight/flight (or maybe fawn )
  • Depression → freeze
  • Acceptance → no fear response!

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RELATED IDEA

Fight or flight response

The fight or flight response (also known as the acute stress response), refers to a physiological reaction that occurs when we are in the presence of something that is mentally or physically terrifying.

  • The fight-or-flight response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away to safety.

The term "fight-or-flight" represents our ancient ancestors' choices when faced with danger in their environment.

  • The physiological and psychological response to stress prepares the body to react to the danger.

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Fight Or Flight Response
  • Also known as Acute Stress Response, the fight-or-flight response is a physiological reaction when we are mentally or physically terrified.
  • A stressful or terrifying situation triggers hormones that prepare our body to stay or either deal with the problem or run away towards safety.
  • American physiologist Walter Cannon first described this basic stress response towards danger.

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What are emotions?

An emotion is a complex pyschological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioral or expressive response.

In addition to trying to define what emotions are, researchers have also tried to identify and classify the different types of emotions. The descriptions and insights have changed over time

Plutchik proposed eight primary emotional dimensions: happiness vs. sadness, anger vs. fear, trust vs. disgust, and surprise vs. anticipation. These emotions can then be combined to create others (such as happiness + anticipation = excitement).

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