Emotional Rescue

How to handle and understand what you’re going through

Feelings are emotions. They’re reactions to events that go beyond a logical, intellectual response. Being able to identify your feelings is an important part of self-discovery. The clearer you are about what you’re feeling and why, the healthier you will be – physically and mentally.

We all like the “happy” emotions. But not many people like dealing with the darker ones – fear, anxiety, disappointment, and shame. Because we don’t like them, sometimes we squash them or deny them.

People do this in different ways – one way is with substances like drugs, cigarettes, or even food. Maybe you’ve seen a relative or parent reach for a cigarette when he or she got angry. Or maybe you’ve watched a friend with tears in her eyes insist, “I’m ok, really.”

There’s only one way to get to the other side of feelings, and that’s to experience them. Here’s the quick 1-2 on processing feelings:

Identify – what are you actually feeling? Sometimes anger is disappointment in disguise. See what’s at the root of your feeling.
Clarify – what are you having your feeling about? If you hate your math teacher because he gives you pop quizzes, maybe the root of it is fear of failure. We’ve all “snapped” at a sibling who ticked us off, only to realize later that we were actually angry about something our best friend said in class.

Talk about it. It works. If you’re angry about something your friend said or did – tell her. You’d be amazed how much it helps to say, “I’m really mad at you about….”, or if you’re really brave, you might say, “You hurt my feelings.”

Don’t “act out.” You can’t always control your feelings, but you can control your actions.

Know that it will pass. Feelings come in waves. We can have all kinds of feelings and mood swings. They pass, you live through it.
So get to know your feelings. They’ll lead you to getting to know yourself.

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