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Handling Your Emotions

Happy woman

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Emotions are strong feelings that we all feel every day.

We all feel different emotions at different times.

Some days you may feel:

  • Happy
  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Anxious

You may feel other kinds of emotions, too.

Let’s talk about these four kinds of emotions and what to do when you feel them.

It’s good to know what to do when you feel strong emotions.

If you need help handling your emotions, you can talk to others about how you are feeling.

You can learn more in this month’s feature presentation, which is all about building and maintaining your social support system.

Sometimes it may not be easy to tell others how you’re really feeling.

You may find it helpful to talk with someone you trust.

You could talk about how you feel with:

  • Your support person
  • A friend or family member
  • A member of your religious community, if you are religious
  • Your doctor or a counselor

These people are all part of your social support system.

By handling your emotions safely and productively, you can protect yourself and others from harm.

Sometimes, when people don’t handle their emotions safely, they can cause harm to themselves or to others.

It’s good to talk to others, like people in your support system, about how you’re feeling so they can help you stay safe.

One emotion that we all feel from time to time is anger.

In this story, Tom handles his anger unsafely.

  • Tom feels very angry with Sheila, another resident of his group home, for watching a TV channel that he does not want to watch.
  • He yells at Sheila, grabs the TV remote control from her and throws it against the wall, breaking it.

How could Tom have handled his anger safely?

  • Instead of yelling and throwing things, Tom could have calmly asked Sheila if she would be willing to change the channel, and
  • Tom and Sheila could set-up a TV program schedule that meets both of their needs.

How can you handle anger safely?

Other things that may make you angry:

  • Not getting the right food order at a restaurant
  • Missing your bus
  • People not being truthful with you
  • Someone being mean to you

Some ways to safely handle anger are:

  • Calmly asking the waiter or cashier to get you the right order.
  • If you miss your bus, listen to relaxing music while you wait for the next bus.
  • Try sitting down and having a talk with the person who has made you feel angry, instead of arguing.

Another emotion is sadness.

In this story, Kim handles her sadness unsafely:

  • Kim’s mother tells Kim that their family cat, Fluffy, has died.
  • Kim has had Fluffy for a long time, and is so sad that she doesn’t know what to do to make herself feel better.
  • Kim is so upset that her stomach begins to hurt.

How can Kim handle the death of her beloved pet Fluffy?

Death is a part of all living things.

  • It’s not Kim’s fault that Fluffy died.

Kim can get help to understand what she is feeling.

  • Kim can find a support group where she can talk to others who are experiencing similar feelings.
  • Kim can try to remember the happy memories and not dwell on the sad ones.

You can do these things too if someone or something you care about dies.

You may also feel sadness in these situations:

Someone says hurtful things to you

You don’t get a job that you really wanted

You lose something that is special to you

You miss friends because they have moved or you don’t see them anymore

How can you handle sadness?

If you don’t get a job you really wanted, don’t be discouraged – you can still find more opportunities.

If you lose something that’s hard to replace, try to remember why it was special to you - you’ll always have this memory.

If you miss someone, write a letter or email, call, or visit - it’s good to keep in touch.

Anxiety is another emotion that you may sometimes feel.

Being anxious may mean you:

  • Worry and are afraid
  • Are tense and restless
  • Think about bad things that might happen, rather than good things

Anxiety can prevent you from enjoying even little things in your life.

Everyone feels anxious once in a while, but you can learn to handle this feeling safely.

You can have good emotional health!

You can have good emotional health by:

  • Recognizing the other good things in your life during moments or events that make you sad.
  • Talking to your close friends and family about your feelings.

Everyone worries about different things.

In this story, Carlos handles his anxiety unsafely:

  • Carlos is worried about a planned talk with his boss about how his work is going and he can’t get his mind off of it.
  • He is so focused on his worries that he starts forgetting important responsibilities, like taking his medication on time.

Other things you may worry about:

  • Your wedding
  • Your safety and the safety of others
  • Wars around the world
  • Lack of money
  • Lack of time

You can try breathing exercises to relieve your anxiety.

You can try this exercise.

  • Close your eyes.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose and hold your breath for three to four seconds.
  • Slowly exhale (blow out the air) through your mouth.
  • Do this ten times and see if you feel a little better.

If you feel anxious all of the time, it could be a serious health condition.

  • You should tell your support person or your doctor right away.

Everyone has their own special feelings of happiness.

There are lots of things in your life that can make you feel happy:

  • Good relationships
  • Delicious food
  • Gardening
  • Doing something you like to do

It’s good to have lots of happiness in your life, but you should also know that you won’t feel happy all of the time.

It’s normal to feel other emotions, like sadness or anger, once in a while!

In addition to talking to others about how you’re feeling, you can try these other ways to handle your emotions, too:

Exercising regularly can provide a great release for your emotions.

  • Exercise is not only good for your health but it can also take your mind off of troubling things in your life.

Taking up a new hobby can also help in handling your emotions.

  • You can write in a journal, paint, or take photographs.

If you feel emotions that are too difficult to handle by yourself, you can get help from others.

Even after understanding emotional health, some people may:

  • Continue to feel sad and hopeless, or
  • Feel like hurting themselves or others.

If you feel like this, tell someone you trust right away.

  • They can help you see your doctor or counselor who knows you.
  • Your doctor or counselor can provide you with treatment to help you feel better and help you stay safe.

Learn more about coping with stress, grief, and anxiety.

Last updated on Mon, 06/21/2010 - 15:30