“Negative feelings are bad”
“There is a certain way I should feel”
“If others don’t approve of my feelings, I must be wrong in how I'm feeling”
These are just a few examples of flawed beliefs I see in my work with clients around emotions.
Everyone has emotions, we are all born with 8 primary ones including anger, grief, fear, guilt and surprise.
Emotions serve an important purpose. They help to organize our behaviour, communicate to ourselves and others and give us information about ourselves and our world.
Emotions come and go but it's helpful to understand them and how they influence our behavior. It's equally as important to find ways to cope with strong or unpleasant emotions. Here and some key distress tolerance skills I work through with clients to help them cope with unpleasant emotions:
Engage your senses to create a different emotion. Focus on things you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch to center and calm yourself.
Distract yourself with exercise, hobbies, friends, journaling.
Do the opposite of what the emotions are telling you. If you are scared, don’t run away, approach your fears and use self motivating talk to help yourself through it.
Remember that no emotion lasts forever and that you don’t have to respond to everything you feel. This too shall pass.