How to Deal With Difficult Emotions

We all go through times when difficult emotions arise and we have trouble working through them. It’s a part of being human and interacting with each other. Some times we get hurt or we hurt others, we get jealous or angry, we become paralyzed with fear or grief.

Learning to navigate these feelings and work through them in a healthy way can be empowering to you personally and incredibly beneficial to your relationships with friends and loved ones. The next time you’re faced with complicated emotions, try using this guide to work through them to reach a positive resolution.


How to Deal With Difficult Emotions

Identify What You’re Feeling

This might seem obvious but it’s a necessary first step. Identify the emotion you’re feeling. Name it. Write it down. Is it anger? Fear? Pain? Sadness? It might be more than one, maybe a combination of a few. Be honest with yourself; sometimes anger is our way of covering up fear and heartache. Identify the core emotion without judgement or explanation; just name it.

Identify the Source

Why are feeling this particular emotion? Maybe it was something someone said or did to you. Maybe you said or did something to someone else. It could be a lack of overt action that affected you; a friend ignored you and spent more time with other people, leaving you feeling lonely, confused, and hurt. Be specific. Connect the emotion with the action, whether it’s active or passive.

Helpful Tip: Write It Down

Now that you know what the emotion is you’re feeling and you’ve identified why you’re feeling it, write it down. Use a journal to express the emotion and explore what caused it. Writing is a powerful tool when working through things. It can also bring a sense of clarity to the situation and help you to see things more objectively.

Sit With It

You have identified the what and the why and you’ve written it all down. Now, just sit with it. Don’t immediately try to solve it or fix it or sweep it under the rug. Allow yourself to feel whatever is there.

The only true way to work through an emotion is to literally work through an emotion. You go through it, not around it, not over it, but through it.

Know that your feelings are valid. How you feel, what you think, and who you are is important. So give yourself the opportunity to just be. It’s not easy to sit with difficult or negative emotions. But these feelings are a part of who you are and true transformation takes time and effort. You can’t skip the hard parts.

Begin the Process of Letting Go

Understand that this will look different for everyone. There’s no right or wrong or one-size-fits all approach to letting go and reconciling. There is also no exact time table. This will happen in it’s own way and in it’s own time.

Consider actions will help move you into a more positive direction. Do you need to forgive someone? Maybe you need to apologize to someone. If possible, try to have a conversation with that person. If that’s too much right now, try writing a letter to them expressing how you feel and letting them know you desire a positive resolution. Reach out to them in some way.

Continue to journal your thoughts and emotions as you work through this process. Check in with yourself on a regular basis and repeat these steps as you need to. Come back to it again and again until you feel like you’ve been able to release the negativity and move forward. Remember to be kind to yourself. With patience and compassion, you will be able to work through anything that comes up.

What have you been able to work through recently? What tools were helpful to you? Share your insights below in the comment box. Let’s help each other out!



Additional Resources

Self-Care Lifestyle Guide




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Self Care Guide for Difficult Times



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