Blog 4 Steps To Process Difficult Emotions

4 Steps To Process Difficult Emotions


Difficult emotions can be highly complex and tough to process. Difficult emotions are usually negative emotions such as anger, loneliness, sadness, jealousy, fear, rejection, or self-criticism. At face value, these emotions are hard. If these emotions are not processed, they can become destructive and highly harmful. 

Negative emotions are a part of life and are impossible to avoid. Learning to process difficult emotions is crucial to living a happy and productive life. Processing difficult emotions is not a skill that comes naturally to all people. 

Time, effort, and practice are required in order to process difficult emotions effectively. Below are the steps to take in order to process difficult emotions. 

Identity Numbing Behaviors:

Before you can learn to process your emotions, you need to make sure you avoid behaviors that trigger emotional numbness. A numbing behavior is an activity that you take part in to avoid facing your feelings. These activities can be done unconsciously or intentionally. 

Common intentional numbing behaviors include video games, streaming videos nonstop, marathon tv or movie watching, food, drugs, and alcohol. The most common unconscious numbing behavior is over-committing yourself, so you stay constantly busy. 

There is nothing wrong with partaking in any of these activities, as long as they are done in moderation and as long as they are not being done to avoid processing your emotions.

Identify Your Emotions: 

Most people do not fully understand how, where, and why their emotions are coming from. Typically, we base our emotional reasoning on an in-the-moment judgment call or we brush the emotions off completely.

In order to process your emotions, you need to understand what your emotions actually are.

  • How do they make you feel?
  • Are there any changes to your physical body?
  • Do you feel lightheaded, hot, cold, or dizzy?
  • Are your hands clenched? Do you feel light as a feather or heavy like a brick?
  • How would you describe your emotion to others?

We often clamp onto general emotions, such as happiness, sadness, and anger. When in reality, the emotion of “anger” can encompass frustration, annoyance, betrayal, or upset. Why are you feeling this way? What triggered your emotions? Learning to identify and understand your emotions will help you process them effectively.

What Are Your Emotions Telling You?

Emotions can offer great insight into our lives and can help to propel us forward. Emotions allow us to recognize what we may need at that moment and overall. If you’re noticing you are constantly checking your social media pages and you feel anxiety if you’re not checking them nonstop, this could be your emotions telling you it’s time to take a break from social media.

If you’re feeling more and more irritated by coworker's comments, that could be your emotions telling you there is an underlying issue that should be investigated and approached.

Express Your Emotions:

Once you’ve identified both your emotions and have time to determine what they mean, you need to express them. Expressing emotions looks different for every person. Some people express emotions by talking to a friend, some engage in physical activity, and others create art or music. In order to fully process your emotions, you need to let them out.

Remember, emotional outlets should always be a safe space. Engaging in numbing, harmful, or illegal expressions will only worsen the circumstance.

Difficult emotions can be overpowering, and overwhelming, and can turn even the most respected and successful person into a hot mess. Learning to process difficult emotions is no easy feat. It takes time, effort, practice, and determination.

Identifying numbing behaviors, identifying your emotions, learning what your emotions are telling you, and expressing your emotions are the steps you need to take to truly process difficult emotions.


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