8 steps to manage your emotions

What should we do with our emotions? How to handle them?

SUPPORT EXERCISE

"Managing your emotions"

This exercise is complex but you can do it if you dedicate time and dedication. 

Go back to the Emotional Record of the previous section. Choose an emotion to work with it this week. This emotion has to be one that appears more often, or one that worries you or that interests you especially, and follow the next steps:

STEP 1: TRY TO FEEL, UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT YOUR PRIMARY EMOTIONS.

  • Accept them when they come up, allow yourself to feel them, do not try to avoid them.
  • Stop on them, recognize them, pay attention to them calmly. 
  • Establish contact with the sensations they cause in your body, be aware of the thoughts that accompany them.
  • Let them leave, do not try to block them, let them go.

STEP 2: DESCRIBE YOUR EMOTIONS WITH WORDS.

If you have to face a difficult emotional experience or need to communicate your feelings it’s important that you work on describing your emotions with words.

It will allow you to review your emotion and give you a sense of control over your feelings. In addition, you can see them from another perspective and it will help you handle the problem.

“The act of naming allows you to see yourself as an agent, experiencing a recognizable feeling, instead of being a passive victim of the feeling” - L. Geenberg

STEP 3: DISTINGUISH YOUR FEELINGS

Look at your emotional reactions and try to distinguish if they are primary feelings, secondary or instrumental. With practice you can acquire an automatic ability to detect them. For example: you will know when your anger is hiding your fear.

STEP 4: CHECK IF YOUR FEELINGS ARE HEALTHY AND ADAPTIVE

If they are primary feelings, now you have to review them and decide if they are healthy and adaptive, or they are not, and if you can rely on them to act.

Healthy ----> you should use them as a guide for action. 

NOT healthy ----> it is necessary to change them.

For example, given the same feeling of anger:

  • You can decide that your emotions guide you because they provide you with valid information: “I think my anger is adequate, because I have the right to have my needs taken into account when making important decisions in the relationship as a couple and that is not being fulfilled”.
  • Or you can decide that your emotions do not help you: “I think that my anger does not fit what happened, it is disproportionate and it shows me my repeated lack of trust in relationships”.

STEP 5: FIND OUT WHAT’S ON THE BASE OF NON-HEALTHY EMOTIONS

  • Feelings of fragility and insecurity. 
  • Feeling weak and unable to function without the support of other people. 
  • Convincing to be an not appreciated person.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Critical and self-destructive thoughts (“I am a disaster, I am not worthy ”).

STEP 6: BUILD NEW WAYS TO PERCEIVE, FEEL AND ACT

  • Review your perception of yourself. 
  • Look for what is at the base of those feelings of weakness or low self-esteem.
  • Detect and change the self-destructive thoughts of pathological criticism.
  • Work actively with your maladaptive emotions to modify what is not healthy, replacing them with other adaptive emotions that allow you to get what you need.

STEP 7: REGULATE THE INTENSITY OR DURATION OF YOUR EMOTIONS

  • Control the impulsiveness related to anger to avoid going from anger to aggression.
  • Encourage tolerance to frustration to avoid falling into negative emotional states.
  • Avoid staying longer than necessary stuck in a unhealthy emotion.

STEP 8: EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS

It’s about knowing when and how to express your feelings. You must keep in mind the context in which you are and be aware of the impact that emotional expression and the accompanying behavior may have on the people around you. 

What is your conclusion of this exercise?

Do you know your own emotions?

Get to know yourself better to build new ways of perceiving, feeling and acting.

Being able to generate positive emotions to better face life's challenges.