9 Steps To Manage Unpleasant Emotions

Welcome to our weekly series for anxious people who have an oversensitive alarm system, whose “danger scanner” is always on, and who need a little bit of self-care and positive emotional energy by mid-week (when the tanks are starting to approach depletion). 

We’ve talked a lot about relaxation and self-care, but do you actually know when you have to pause and apply these skills? It’s not something we learn as children, and most people only react when it’s too late.

Many of us are a ball of anxiety, impatience, and anger. For us, it’s critical that we identify that low battery time. Unfortunately, our brain doesn’t give an obvious notification like our cell phone does, so it’s up to us to pay attention to the signs.

It comes down to identifying emotions or feelings, which are often red flags for stress. The best way to start working on this is when you feel something strongly, generally of the unpleasant and negative flavor.

Take a time-out, find some private space and review this list of questions:

1. What are my sensations in my body?

2. On a scale of 1 to 10, how strong are they?

3. What are the images in my mind?

4. What feelings am I experiencing?

5. “Name and tame” the feelings: “I feel sad(ness)” vs. “I am sad”

6. On a scale of 1 to 10, how intense are these feelings and sensations?

7. What thoughts are crossing my mind?

8. What words are on the tip of the tongue?

9. What patterns from your past is this experience triggering?

I am specifically challenging you to look at emotions such as sadness, disappointment, envy, jealousy, embarrassment, frustration and aggravation. 

These are the ones that usually get us because they are not pleasant to experience. Anything over a 5 on that scale, probably requires a longer pause and access to your Rest and Relaxation toolbox to activate the strategies that work for you.

I am delighted to announce the launch of my “Own Your Happiness” membership focusing on ADHD, Anxiety & Stress, and Relationships. By becoming a member, you will gain access to a wealth of valuable resources, practical skills, and additional information that I typically only provide during private sessions. If you’d like to get on the waiting list and find out more about it when it’s ready to be launched, just add your email RIGHT HERE.

ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, stress and anxiety management, and executive coaching.