Katy Morin

How to Handle Negative Emotion

Many people don't know how to handle their emotions when faced with a certain situation. If you have social anxiety, understanding the different emotions and how they are triggered can be a bit overwhelming. There isn't one set way that everyone handles these feelings but there are some ways that may help or help relieve them. You should try some different methods until you find one that works best for you so here is what I do:  

1) When in the situation I might say something like "I'm feeling anxious right now". Then I consider what emotion I am feeling and then try and evaluate if it is good or bad. If it is a good one then I should actively try to move forward with the situation. If it was a bad one then I should get out of the situation or space and have a break from people for a while. You may consider that you are having negative emotions when you feel anxious or uncomfortable but in reality, you should be able to distinguish between them so that you know which ones are okay to deal with and which ones are worth escaping from. When dealing with negative emotions think of them like a switch that can be turned on or off based on how they impact your well-being.

2) Try and evaluate what you can like and dislike about the situation. If it is just one thing then try and work with that. For example, if someone comments about your face being red maybe you don't like that but you like how you look and feel so work more on the positive emotions, or as much as possible.

3) I realize that not everyone can stay in the situation even if they might be able to manage their emotions. Something may happen that is just really overwhelming for you and it would make matters worse to stay in the situation. If this happens try to believe that you did your best to emotionally handle what was said or done while keeping your best interest at heart. If it is just too much for you maybe getting out of the situation and having a break will help. I sometimes find that I need a break from social situations to help me get over the situation but not everyone might.

4) If you can't get out of the situation, try taking small breaks from people so your mind can rest and calm down. For example, if someone says something about your hair or face, which is important to you, then maybe work on working up the courage to leave. You can also consider how close the interaction is with everyone else to ensure it's not too bad for you and then make a plan to break away. I realize it's hard to get out of a situation sometimes because the anxiety is so bad and you can feel paralyzed with fear. I like to make excuses and "convince" myself that I have something to do to find a way out of the situation.

5) When you are alone you can practice calming yourself down by talking to yourself, taking deep breaths, and imagining your favourite place. Things like talking aloud or a journal can help too in getting your feelings out and learning how you feel about certain things. This helps me calm down when I have a strong negative emotion because it allows me to deal with it better.

6) Even if things aren't too bad try to forgive yourself for every feeling including anger, sadness, frustration, and hurt feelings. The negative emotions are still a part of you and don't make you a bad person. I often find that even these negative emotions can help me grow as a person and I should accept them instead of avoiding them.

7) If you have the chance in a conversation to share something about yourself that is positive or something that you are proud of and worked hard on, share it. It helps everyone when everyone gets compliments that they deserve so don't be afraid to ask for one. Or potentially even tell someone about yourself and how you're doing. Don't be afraid to overshare with people if you feel it would benefit them.

8) And finally, try not to take things too personally, especially from other people who may not even mean what they say or do. I know it's difficult because we may want to be accepted but usually if someone is judging you, there is something wrong with them, not anything wrong with you.
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