How to Deal with Negative Emotions

Learn how to use mindfulness practices to embrace emotions with curiosity and understanding.

Woman sits on couch and struggles with negative emotions, how to deal with negative emotions

You can healthily manage emotions—both good and bad—you encounter throughout the day by practicing mindfulness and staying present.

Mindfulness is more than just sitting still while observing your thoughts. It’s a good way to connect with yourself and embrace your emotions and the messages they’re sending.

Practicing mindfulness gives you an opportunity to live fully within the present moment, noticing what’s happening within your body and mind without judgment. As you reflect and sit with your emotions, it’ll become easier to respond to your emotions, rather than reacting.

Related: How to Stay Optimistic During Hard Times Here are five tips to help you combat heavy emotions with mindfulness:

Approach situations from a neutral standpoint

Assessing situations from a neutral standpoint allows you to remove judgement. During emotionally charged moments, try following these simple steps:

• Create space and stillness within your mind so you can healthily process the situation.

• Process the situation without judgment and assumptions.

• Identify and let go of any storytelling happening within your mind.

• Show compassion to yourself or to others involved.

• When you feel your body has returned to its normal state, decide how you’ll respond and move forward.

Name the emotions

The next time your body tenses up with difficult emotions, try naming the emotions you’re feeling. When an event triggers an emotional response, ask yourself what you’re feeling. Once you’ve labeled the emotion for what it is, repeat it back to yourself and describe the feeling.

Labeling emotions help you avoid identifying yourself as the emotion, which is a common response. Rather, you observe and accept what you’re feeling as fleeting emotions. Once you understand the emotion, you can choose how to respond to the situation.

Embrace curiosity about your emotions

Embracing curiosity from a nonjudgmental stance allows your mind to explore whether your emotions are coming from a place of good. For example, it can mean you’re trying to protect yourself or others. It can also signify that you care deeply about a particular situation.

Just because you’re struggling to navigate through your emotions doesn’t mean you’re an ill-willed person. And fostering curiosity about your emotions helps you see that clearer.

Sit with your honest emotions

One of the best ways to manage emotions is to sit with your emotions and explore why you are experiencing them. Once you discover what caused the emotion, you can make a more thoughtful choice as to how to respond.

It’s also important to not mask your emotions. Be honest and vulnerable with yourself when emotions surface.

Visualize managing the emotions 

Another way to mindfully cope with your emotions is to mentally visualize how you’ll manage the emotions.

One way you can do this is by visualizing your emotions or difficult situations as books in a library. Sit with the experience and process it. When you’re ready to respond, close the book and place it high on the self. Let it go and move forward.

It’s important to remember that mindfulness teaches you that emotions do not stay forever. The more compassionate, curious, and mindful you are with your emotions, the easier it will become to manage them and move forward with ease.

Related: The Feeling on Loneliness and Its Impact on Physical Health

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