How to Process Painful Emotions

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Admitting and accepting painful emotions can be challenging. You must be able to recognize and name your emotions in order to work through them and move on. Our culture often instructs us to hide our true feelings and just present the happy ones. But that’s toxic positivity at its finest. 

Certain feelings are taboo and we are taught to suppress them. Not being able to recognize and understand our emotions can reduce our self-awareness and the richness of our life experiences.

Mindfulness is the key to overcoming  painful emotions. Taking part in a mindfulness practice might help you relax and ease tension. In this calm, collected mood, you can decide how to proceed with caution and forethought.

Steps to handle emotional pain. 

1. Have an attitude of acceptance for your feelings

Once you’ve identified the feeling you’re experiencing, pay attention to where it’s manifesting physically. It could manifest as nausea, a constriction of the neck, rapid heartbeat, or just generalized stress. Feel whatever it is you’re feeling, whether it’s anger, worry, melancholy, grief, guilt, sadness, shame, or something else entirely. Learn to recognize it and stop denying its existence. If you’re having trouble, take a short break and stretch or have a cup of tea.

The trick is to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Keeping your feelings bottled up can only make them worse or shut you off emotionally if they do burst. Give your challenging feelings some attention. They want you to be aware of the situation before a huge catastrophe happens and they are trying to help you do so.

2. Recognize the feeling and give it a name

Saying “this is anger” or “this is anxiety” instead of “I am furious” is more accurate. By doing so, you’re not only acknowledging its existence, but also giving yourself the strength to keep your distance.

I was filled with dread, anxiety, and doubt when my spouse was in the hospital before he passed away. I had to tell myself, “I know that I am experiencing worry and fear right now, and I don’t know what will happen, but I am going to just ‘be’ with it.” Even though I was still in a lot of agony by the end, being able to recognize and name my feelings helped ease some of the suffering. As a result, I was able to avoid getting swept up into the future or stuck in the past and instead focus on what was happening right now. 

Any kind of pressure would have made me feel responsible. The voice of criticism saying, “If only you would have done something else, maybe there would have been a different conclusion,” rings in my ears as clearly as if it had actually happened.

3. Understand that these feelings will pass

All of your feelings are fleeting. They materialize for a while, make your body their home, and then leave. When you’re in the thick of processing negative feelings, it’s easy to lose sight of this.

If you pay your feelings the respectful attention they deserve, they will change and, in many cases, disappear entirely. In order to commit to this procedure, you need ask yourself:

  • “Where did this emotion come from, anyway?
  • “What do I do about it?”
  • “How can I care for it?”

By taking the time to ask each other and reply to these specific questions, you can strengthen feelings of understanding, compassion, and closeness in your relationship.

4. Let go of the need of control 

Mindfully coping with challenging emotions requires letting go of the impulse to control them. Instead, you should be adaptable to whatever happens. Get out of your own head and concentrate on what your companion is saying. That’s the only way to get to the bottom of how your feelings and the dynamics of your relationship work together.

Dealing with feelings consciously is challenging and time-consuming. Treat yourself and your partner with kindness, compassion, and patience. You have to stick together because you’re in this together.

5. Get into something new

Participate in a pastime, either one you’ve always been curious about but never had the chance to explore further or one you’re already familiar with but haven’t pursued in some time. Like reading a lot? Get a book from the library or download one on your iPad and settle back for some quality reading time.

Put together a vision board with pictures of things that inspire you. You can use this to learn more about what motivates you.

6. Be active

You may not feel like doing anything, let alone getting out of bed, if you’re going through mental distress. This, however, can amplify feelings of heaviness and depression. Do something different, like taking a stroll around the block. Raise your body up and out of the bed.

Physical activity of any kind helps alleviate sore muscles and joints. When you don’t have the strength to move, how could doing so possibly help? On the other hand, getting your blood pumping while you’re feeling blue might offer you renewed vigor and improve your mood. The stimulation of the neurological system can also provide a boost of energy.

Read more about: 8 Benefits of Daily Walks

7. Write down exactly what you’re feeling

Journaling allows you to express yourself freely, without worrying about what others might think. If you’re feeling emotionally trapped, keeping a journal can be a helpful tool for reflecting, analyzing, and altering your state of mind.

Keeping a notebook at hand can provide an outlet for releasing pent-up emotions and resolving unwanted thoughts without having to face the consequences of your words in front of others.

Keeping a gratitude log or responding to writing prompts are two other options for constructively dealing with one’s feelings and ideas. Moving your attention from your suffering to your blessings will help you recover from your emotional wounds.

Read more about: How Journaling Can Be used For Inner Healing

8. Be patient with yourself

Similarly to how you would allow your body to heal from physical suffering, you should also let your emotions heal from pain. It’s just as awful and challenging as experiencing physical symptoms, so you’ll need to focus on taking care of yourself to get better.

But, trying to ignore your suffering will only make it worse in the long run. When your sentiments get too overwhelming, you may start to take them out on other people. Don’t put undue stress on yourself to recover quickly, especially after experiencing what you have.

Adopting a new way of life requires adjustment time. That could alter your worldview as well. A veteran of combat, for instance, may ask themselves, “Am I safe?” whenever they look at something. Thus, while there are things you can do to rid yourself of negativity, it’s vital to remember that there are some obstacles that will take more effort to overcome.

9. Speak to someone you trust

Talking to someone can help you cope with emotional anguish when it gets too much to bear and you feel like you won’t make it. You can “speak to someone” in many different contexts, including a loved one but also a counselor or therapist.

To better manage your pain, consult a mental health expert who can advise you on effective coping and defense methods. As a society, we should not allow anyone to suffer silently through emotional distress. Do not be reluctant to consult a specialist if you feel that doing so would be beneficial. Talk to a trained expert right away if you find yourself dwelling on negative ideas.

Read more about: 8 ways to Exercise Mindfulness When Venting to a friend

10. Try Meditation

Finally, guided meditation is the most efficient strategy for coping with emotional suffering. You can find meditations to help you deal with loss, trauma, heartbreak, and other difficult emotions. You can pick an affordable and appropriate meditation among the many available, covering a wide range of topics related to the human emotional experience. Meditation isn’t a replacement for therapy, but it can help you practice gratitude, calm, and optimism in the time between sessions.

Read more about: 9 Benefits of Daily 1 Hour Meditation

Harmful ways to manage painful emotions.

Although we all experience negative feelings like fear, sadness, and anger from time to time, we don’t always know how to handle them well. While it may feel good to act on your emotions in the moment, doing so rarely helps the underlying problem. In fact, it could cause further issues in the future.

Denial:When someone is in denial, they just won’t admit they have a problem or need help. People risk letting bad feelings build up to the point where they “explode” or do something bad if they don’t acknowledge them.

Substance Abuse: Drug and alcohol abuse is a coping mechanism used by some people to deal with emotional distress. When the brain is damaged by substances like alcohol and drugs, it takes more of those substances to have the same impact. 

This can exacerbate already challenging emotions, and in extreme circumstances, can even lead to suicidal ideation or addiction. Do not delay in approaching a sober adult if you or someone you care about is experiencing difficulties related to substance abuse.

Withdrawal: A person with withdrawal symptoms no longer has any interest in interacting with others. Having a strong desire for solitude outside of normal, everyday life is a potential indicator of depression. Some people may retreat from social situations because they lack the stamina to maintain interactions with others or because they are too stressed to enjoy their time with others. Some people may not engage socially because they are under the impression that no one likes or wants them around. 

Self-harm: Cutting, starvation, binging and purging, and risky behavior are all examples of self-harm. Self-injury is a common coping mechanism for persons who believe they have no other way of dealing with their distress. Though it may help in the short term, self-harming habits often lead to a downward spiral of increased chaos and suffering.

In conclusion

When you’re feeling extremely distressed, it might be extremely difficult to maintain composure in the face of adversity. No matter how drastically your life has been altered as a result of this experience, you must find the strength to pick yourself up and continue on. Your life has taken an unexpected turn, but rather than dwelling on the past, you should look forward to what the future holds.

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