Naming Uncomfortable Feelings and How to Manage Them
Written by: Sienna Wallwork, Completing BSC. Family & Community Social Services and Social Service Worker Diploma, Program Assistant
The first step to being able to manage and regulate your emotions is being able to name them. Once you are able to identify them, it becomes much easier to manage them. Naming our emotions is the first step to bridging the gap between thoughts and feelings, and it can remind us that we are not our feelings (Miller, 2021). Finding this difference also allows us to remember that while we do not have a choice in what we feel, we do have a choice in what we do about how we are feeling.
The first step is to address what you are feeling. For example, if you find yourself stuck in traffic, mad at the person in front of you, you may think you are simply angry at them. However, upon further analysis, you may realize that it is not their fault and you are simply frustrated because you are stuck in traffic. Once you know the root of what you are feeling, it becomes easier to manage. Allowing yourself to address misplaced anger will also make it easier to let go of the negative emotions.
In order to make naming your feelings a regular habit, it may be helpful to set up a regular “check in” with yourself, just to keep your emotions in order. Once a day, set aside the time to sit down for 5-10 minutes, and just ask what you are feeling. You can use apps on your phone to track your emotions, or you can use a journal. Ask what you are feeling and why you are feeling this way. Write about what happened in your day and how it made you feel. This is also a good way to get out the negative emotions that you may not feel entirely comfortable opening up about just yet.
Once you are able to name uncomfortable feelings, there are many things you can do to manage them. It is all about finding coping mechanisms that work for you, and make you feel good. For some people, this could be journaling. You could also talk to a support person in your life, such as a friend or a family member. Exercise is another healthy way to manage emotions and lower stress. It is important to find activities that help to calm down any negative emotions you are feeling, but not activities that drive you away from confronting them.
Feel your feelings: How to deal with uncomfortable emotions. Eugene Therapy. (2021, October 12). Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://eugenetherapy.com/article/feel-your-feelings-how-to-deal-with-uncomfortable-emotions/
Miller, M. (2021, October 27). Getting unstuck: The power of naming emotions. Six Seconds. Retrieved August 5, 2022, from https://www.6seconds.org/2021/01/08/getting-unstuck-power-naming-emotions/