One of the biggest challenges to working with difficult emotions like anxiety and anger is to accept them in the first place. It’s hard to do. We don’t want to accept them, because they don’t feel good. There are also lots of messages out there that seem to tell us that we should just be happy all of the time, and there is something wrong with us if we aren’t.
The problem is that if we get caught up in being ashamed of our emotions or running from them, we never build up the compassionate courage to work with them. This working starts with accepting our emotions as they are, non judgmentally like allowing ourselves to simply notice what is on the plate before deciding whether or not we’re going to eat it.
Here are few steps which you can use to manage your difficult emotions :
- Turn towards your emotions with acceptance – Become aware of the emotions and identify where you sense it in your body.
- Identify and label the emotions – To stay mindful, say to yourself “This is anger” or “This is anxiety”.
- Accept Your Emotions – Don’t deny the emotions. Acknowledge and accept that it is there.
- Realize the Impermanence of your Emotions – Even if the emotions feels overwhelming, remember that it will pass.
- Inquire and Investigate – Ask yourself, “What triggered me? Why do I feel this way?”
- Let Go of the Need to Control Your Emotions – Be open to the outcome of your emotions and what unfolds.
More than anything, approach this all as an experiment without expectations. It’s the expectations about how things “should” be that crash down on your present moment experience not allowing for a fresh experience. Be kind to yourself through this process, being human can be a struggle at times and an understanding of this can bring compassion, which enables resilience.