Sometimes we have emotions that we don't fully acknowledge, understand, or even feel.
There are feelings that exist in an 'unprocessed' form within us.
For example, we may have a lot of worries that we haven't dealt with, and they may manifest themselves as powerful, directionless emotions.
When we're under their influence, we may feel a compulsive need to stay busy, fear spending any time alone, or cling to distracting activities.
These activities make sure we don't have to face what scares us directly. Some of these might include internet pornography, checking the news obsessively, or compulsive exercise.
Sometimes we do this to avoid facing hurt too.
The hurt is somewhere inside, but we put on a brave face.
We might act jolly even though we're sad, or we might numb ourselves with drugs. Or we might act cynical as a way of hiding the pain we're really feeling.
When we fail to process our feelings, we pay a high price.
Our minds become unoriginal from a background fear of their contents.
We may feel down about everything because we cannot be sad about just one thing.
It's tough when we can't sleep because we're thinking about all the things we didn't process during the day.
We need to be kind to ourselves and cut ourselves some slack.
Even if someone has betrayed our trust, we mustn't lose faith in the goodness of people.
We all have moments of self-doubt, but we must remember that we are all worthy of love and respect.
Sometimes we avoid processing our emotions because they can be contrary to our self-image or threaten our society's ideas of normality.
However, it's important to acknowledge and accept all of our emotions in order to truly know ourselves.
A favorable atmosphere for processing would be one that warmly recognizes and accepts the difficulties of being human.
We're not lazy or neglectful when we fail to know ourselves--it just hurts a lot.
Good friends, deft therapists, and moments like philosophical meditation help us process emotions.
They do this by letting us safely put aside our normal defences and investigate unfamiliar material.
The result of processing our emotions is always an improvement in our overall mood.
But first we must go through a period of mourning in which we gradually accept that in some areas of life, it is simply a lot sadder than we would want it to be.
Here are 10 Practical steps to overcome and process any emotion:
1. Feel The Emotion
When you are feeling an emotion, it can be helpful to process the emotion in a better way.
Feeling the emotion allows you to understand it and to figure out how to deal with it.
This can be done by talking to someone about the emotion, or by writing about the emotion.
Expressing the emotion can also help you to feel better.
Growing up, I was lost and adrift in depression and sadness. Not understanding why things were the way they were.
Because of this, I was sent to many therapists, counselors, and psychologists. Though I dreaded going to see them at a young age, I don’t know what kind of person I’d be today without them.
They helped me to process my emotions by giving me the space to express them.
The irony is, I get to do the same for others today and see their process unfold.
It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences to be able to pay forward the power of emotional processing.
Like they say, you’ve got to FEEL it to HEAL it.
Allow yourself to accept that you have these emotions and you’re feeling them.
This can eventually lead to much more emotional growth.
2. Choose The Opposite Action
One of the most effective ways to better process your emotions is to choose the opposite action.
This means that if you are feeling angry, you would do something that is the opposite of what you would normally do when you are angry.
For example, instead of yelling at the person who made you angry, you would calmly talk to them.
This technique can be very helpful in managing your emotions because it forces you to take a different perspective on the situation and to react in a more constructive way.
Choose to do the opposite of what your impulses are telling you to do. This robs your anger of its venom or other emotion of power.
3. Don’t Get Attached
If you can learn to not get attached to your emotions, you will be better able to process them.
When you are attached to your emotions, you are more likely to be controlled by them.
This can lead to you making decisions based on your emotions instead of logic, which can sometimes lead to problems.
So when you can learn to detach yourself from your emotions, they will release their hold over you.
It might seem like you’re feeling angry. That's okay, it's normal to feel that way sometimes.
Realize that YOU are not the anger. A feeling of anger has risen within you.
Realize that YOU are not the sadness. A feeling of sadness has risen within you.
Just notice the feeling, acknowledge it, and then let it go.
4. Don’t take it personally
If you can learn not to take things personally, you'll be in a much better position to manage your emotions effectively.
Trust me when I say, I learned this the hard way.
Oh how my relationships would have prospered if I did not take every little thing personally!
When we take things personally, we tend to get wrapped up in our own hurt feelings and thoughts.
We can easily forget that other people have their own perspectives and experiences.
If you can step back and remember that everyone has their own baggage and their own way of seeing things, you'll be better able to keep your own emotions at bay.
Additionally, not taking things personally can help you to avoid getting defensive and reactively arguing with others - which will only make you feel worse in the end.
Remember: The feeling it created will go away. Keep an objective perspective.
5. Emotions are great teachers
Emotions are basically a defence mechanism to help you process them more efficiently.
When you feel an emotion, it's like your brain is trying to protect you from something.
It's like a warning sign that something is wrong and you need to pay attention to it.
Emotions help you to understand yourself and to deal with them in a healthy way.
They are actually great teachers!
If you can identify the initial emotion you're feeling, it won’t be long before it dissipates.
6. Don’t Act
When we bottle up our emotions, they tend to fester and grow.
This can lead to anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental health issues.
Acting out our emotions, whether through violence, self-harm, or other destructive behaviors, only serves to further damage our mental state.
It is important to find healthy ways to process our emotions, such as talking to a trusted friend or therapist, writing in a journal, or participating in creative activities.
By giving ourselves time and space to work through our emotions, we can begin to heal the underlying wounds that caused them.
If it's not an emergency, try to stay calm. If you feel like you need to take action, you might be in fight-or-flight mode.
That’s where this next method comes into play.
7. Stop!! Breathe!!
When you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion, one of the best things you can do is stop and take a few deep breaths.
This will help you to clear your head and better process what you are feeling.
Once you have a better understanding of your emotions, you can then begin to deal with them in a more constructive way.
Take a seat, relax, reflect, and reclaim the moment. In no time, those feelings will start to fade away.
8. Don't jump to conclusions
When you find yourself in an emotionally-charged situation, it can be tempting to jump to conclusions and assume the worst.
However, this will only intensify the situation and make it more difficult to process your emotions.
Instead, take a step back and try to see the situation from different perspectives. This will help you better understand what is going on and how to best deal with the situation.
One of my favorite characters on the show X-Men was a man named Charles Xavier. He was known for being calculated and thoughtful.
While Wolverine, Cyclops, and the other X-Men might have been hotheaded. Rushing into dangerous situations.
Professor X was always the one to remain cool, calm, and collected.
Since the Professor was able to process his own emotions, he was able to help others do the same.
It was the same in Fantastic Four when you look at Ben Grimm and The Human Torch in contrast with the calmness of Mr. Fantastic.
Learning to pick your battles can be very beneficial.
When you can find the underlying emotion to your feelings, you can better process your emotions.
This is because you can then understand why you feel the way you do and can work on resolving the issue.
Otherwise, your emotions may just feel overwhelming and you may not know how to deal with them.
Learn to relax when your emotions have been hijacked. Wait, breathe, and identify the underlying primary emotion.
Remember: We cannot HEAL what we don’t REVEAL.
10. Assess the information
Finally, if you can use the underlying emotion as information, you can process your emotions better.
When you are feeling an emotion, ask yourself, “What is this emotion telling me?”
The answer to this question can help you understand what you are feeling and why you are feeling it.
This understanding can help you deal with your emotions in a more effective way.
Use your emotions as a guide to resolving the issue at hand. They are like a compass pointing you to true north.
Thanks for reading! I trust that you were able to grab a nugget or two to help you learn how to process your emotions.