Coping with big feelings

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Emotions are a big part of life, and sometimes they can be intense and difficult to manage. It’s normal to struggle with your emotions at times, and everyone has this experience. For some people, their emotions seem to change very suddenly, and go up and down. This can lead to you feeling very low or anxious. Fortunately, we can learn to manage our emotions in healthy ways, at any stage in our lives.

For some people, their emotions seem to change very suddenly, and feel extreme in the way they go up and down. This can lead to you feeling very low in mood or anxious. Fortunately, we can learn to manage our emotions in healthy ways, at any stage in our lives.

What helps?

PROS and CONS

We sometimes develop unhelpful ways to try and cope with big feelings such as hitting a wall, drinking, self-harm and avoiding things. However sometimes these ways we try to cope make us feel worse in the long run. It can be helpful to think of the pros and cons for these strategies.

MINDFULNESS: Mindfulness means…

…Being in control of your mind rather than letting your mind be in control of you

Noticing what is going on in the present moment, without judging it or trying to change it

Watch this video to find out more about mindfulness

Once you have built up mindfulness skills through practise, you can use mindfulness for times of crisis.

Mindfulness is about noticing and staying with difficult emotions rather than pushing them away.

When we are mindfully attending  to difficult emotions, we are noticing what we are feeling with curiosity without trying to change it.

This includes noticing where we feel our emotions in our body.

Mindfulness for overwhelming emotions

TIPP skills: TIPP stands for Temperature, Intense exercise, Paced breathing and Progressive muscle relaxation.

Temperature- Change the Temperature of your face with cold water to calm down fast:

Hold your breath

Put your face in a bowl of cold water

Splash cold water on your face

Hold for 30 seconds

Intense exercise – To calm down your body when it is revved up by emotion:

Engage in intense aerobic exercise, if only for a short while (10-15 minutes)

Paced breathing – Slow your pace of your breathing:

Breathe deeply from the abdomen.

Breathe out more slowly than you breathe in (e.g. 4 seconds in and 6 seconds out). Do this for 1-2 minutes to bring down your arousal

Progressive muscle relaxation – Squeeze and relax each muscle group in order to gradually reduce tension in your body:

Start from head to toe, one muscle group at a time.

6 SENSES:

We can self-soothe using our 6 senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and movement) e.g. looking at a sunset, petting your dog or going for a run. Try to think of  how you can use each of your 6 senses to self-soothe.

Things people find helpful:

Singing, dancing, baking, taking a bath or shower, talking to a friend, calm harm app.

If you are struggling with big feelings, and think you might hurt yourself or others, you need to tell an adult. You can call the Samaritans or go to A&E in an emergency.