Coping with Emotions

By Kristen
Updated on July 28, 2007

Emotions are so automatic because they are habitual, but we can change our bad habits, including our bad emotional habits.

Changing Bad Emotional Habits

  1. Understand your feelings.

    • What am I feeling?

    • What did I think to make me feel this way? (e.g. inner critic)

    • Are these thoughts true? (e.g. always, never, sometimes, rarely, just in this one situation, analyze why it is or isn't true)

  2. What is the truth? Accept this truth as reality.

  3. Forgiveness

    • "It's over. Let it go."

    • They (I) did the best they (I) could to meet their (my) most important need with the resources they (I) had.

  4. Grow from the experience.

    • How can I learn from this experience?

    • What can I do to change this in the future?

    • If you can solve this problem, sit down and write out a plan to solve it.

Dealing With Emotions About Problems You Can't Change

  1. Acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to fix the situation.

  2. Recognize that worrying about the situation will not improve anything.

  3. Remember that not worrying about the situation doesn't make you a bad person. You can be a better person by directing your energy into something productive rather than worrying about something you can't fix.

  4. Distract yourself from the problem by engaging in activities that require your attention:

    • Watch television

    • Go to a movie

    • Read a book

    • Work / play on the computer

    • Work on a project

    • Talk to somebody

    • Go shopping

    • Go on a trip

    • Visit an amusement park

    • Visit a museum

    • Sit in an outdoor cafe and people watch

    • Write stories

Expressing Valid Negative Emotions

Sometimes your negative emotions are valid, not based on bad emotional habits. Such emotions may include things like grief and anger about violent crimes. It is important that you express these emotions in a healthy way.