There are three main steps in handling emotions:
• Sorting out emotions.
To handle emotional symptoms of stress, it is important that one identifies the emotions first and the reasons behind them. Label each emotion you are experiencing. Could it be fear? Pain? Sadness? Or a combination of the three.
Write down as many words to describe what you are feeling. Writing down ideas would give concreteness to your intangible emotions. It would help clear your mind if you know or see exactly what you are dealing with.
Then try to understand why you are feeling pain? Why the fear? Or, the sadness? Knowing the root cause would make it easier to process the feelings and solve whatever is bothering you.
• Determining Intensity of Emotions
Try to think of a situation that would increase your emotional intensity. Then think of thoughts that will decrease it. Then rate the intensity of your emotions on a scale of one to ten with ten being the highest. Try to experiment increasing or decreasing your intensity levels using thoughts. This will train you to shift emotions when you need to. When you feel down, you can think lighter thoughts to pick up your mood. Remember always, our thoughts affect our emotions and vice versa. So take care of your thoughts and your emotions will follow.
• Releasing emotions
Releasing emotions could come in many forms such as talking about how we are feeling to family or friends helps a lot. It would unload the strain we carried on our shoulders. Besides facing pain, fear or sadness with someone you trust could ease up the emotional burden. Some people though prefer to be alone through the process. This strategy will depend largely on the individual, on what works for him or her effectively. Acting emotions out such as crying, hugging, drawing, writing – these are a few ways to act out what we are feeling.
Talking emotions out could be done through shouting, talking, attending group therapy sessions, singing sad songs,
Thinking emotions out can be accomplished by feeling your emotions intensely such as feeling too fearful, or too sad so you will experience the worst possible feeling there is, freeing you from inhibitions.
Sometimes, looking at pictures or images could also relieve stress. A mural depicting serene, country setting, for instance, is a good stress buster. Watching funny movies could also be a great diversion.