Ways To Deal With Difficult Emotions

11 Practical Ways To Deal With Difficult Emotions

ways to deal with difficult emotions

How To Deal With Emotions in a Healthy Way

This is all about ways to deal with difficult emotions. And here is the good news.

We all experience difficult emotions—two thumbs up for something we all have in common. 

It can be comforting and less isolating when we acknowledge that we are not the only ones going through something. Especially since it is oh so easy to feel alone when we are struggling. 

Now, is this something we all love going through? Probably not. But it is a part of life. And a big part of our life’s happiness can come from how we handle not-so-pleasant feelings. 

How we navigate trying times. 

Difficult emotions are challenging. There’s no doubt about that. However, it is all about how we face and process these emotions. 

These ideas are not about making anything go away. They aren’t about finding ways to rid your life of difficult emotions once and for all.

These ideas are here to provide a bit of guidance or direction when things feel a little off. Get our wheels turning and possibly even lead us to some necessary shifts or pivots.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Here Are 11 Realistic & Doable Ways To Deal With Difficult Emotions

1) Welcome Your Emotions

Do you know what doesn’t help us deal with difficult emotions? Running from them. Ignoring them. Bottling them up for another day.

A day when it will be more convenient to sift through them. 

It truly does feel like that. Like our emotions are super inconvenient. 

But there is power in acknowledging them and naming them.

Oftentimes, we can judge ourselves for feeling anything other than happy or grateful. (or any other emotion we don’t see as good)

But part of being human is experiencing the full spectrum of emotions. Also, welcoming emotions allows them to move through us in a way. Instead of them getting stuck inside of us and wreaking havoc at some point. 

Putting on a brave face and pushing through can (and most likely will) wear you down over time. 

2) Journal

One awesome way to work through difficult emotions is to express them. 

This is where a journal can be the perfect tool. A place to let it all out. 

Words on paper are powerful. I will shout that from the rooftop until I am blue in the face. It is a hill I will die on. 

You don’t need to love writing for this to be useful. When writing for yourself, it doesn’t have to be grammatically correct. Punctuation and all that other stuff aren’t important. It doesn’t even need to make total sense.

It is just about getting it out. Have a conversation with yourself. 

This will not magically make things less difficult. But expressing your emotions is always better than the alternative of holding them in until it becomes too much.

Also, this activity can be an extremely validating experience. And you never know what kind of perspective shifts might pop up. 

3) Take Care of Yourself

The way we care for ourselves can set the foundation for how we go about life. How we function on a daily basis. 

The better we care for ourselves, the better we are equipped to face challenges in life. 

Don’t underestimate the power of getting adequate sleep. This is a huge factor in how we handle everything that is thrown our way. 

Drinking water. (lots of water) Feeding our bodies nourishing foods. 

Moving our bodies in a way that feels good. Meditating.

Prioritizing ourselves and our well-being will always have positive ripple effects. 

4) Get Creative

Creative outlets can be game changers. 

Cooking, drawing, knitting, painting, gardening, photography, journaling, or crafting are just a few ideas. My go-to is music. (and dancing around the house, of course)

I have also gotten really into coloring lately. This adult coloring book is my favorite. And I have been thinking about trying one of these paint-by-numbers kits

All these ideas are great for focusing on the present. They not only put us in a better mental state but they help us process our emotions.

Think of it as diffusing a bomb. 

They come with the added bonus of making life fun and more meaningful. 

5) Set Boundaries

Is it hard for you to say no or pass on something? Do you struggle with feelings of guilt in regard to letting others down?

I bet most people deal with this on some level. 

Boundaries are one of those things that might seem great in theory but when it comes to execution things can get a little jumbled.

You know what seems to always get praised? Taking on more and more. 

Here’s the thing…

There is no award given out for taking on more than you can handle. 

Now, this concept can get a little murky. On one side, you can make the argument that pushing yourself is a good thing. Challenges are not something to shy away from. 

On the other side, you don’t want to sacrifice your sanity just to avoid ruffling any feathers and be sure everyone around you is happy. 

I am not an expert on boundaries. But thankfully, this book is here to help. The author does an amazing job of breaking down everything boundary-related. It’s one of those books that hit me with “aha” moment after “aha” moment. 

In all honestly, I have read it a few times and will probably read it again. Knowing better does not always equal doing better. 

Knowing your limits and recognizing when something isn’t feeling right will without a doubt help out in the difficult emotion department. 

6) Practice Kindness

Being kind to others can come pretty naturally.

But what about kindness to ourselves? Does that come as naturally?

I know it doesn’t for me. I can be harsh with myself without much effort. 

Giving myself grace and compassion does not take the lead nearly as often. (or as easily) 

This takes practice. (loads of practice) And it’s not like one day you will never partake in negative self-talk. But it can hopefully get to a point where you push back on the negative self-talk a little. 

You deserve the same kindness you give to others. 

*Check out this post all about how to stop being so hard on yourself.*

7) Gratitude

This is one of those things that might not seem like a big deal or a game changer. And often we might not give it much attention because we assume that we are grateful.

Gratitude is most likely something we all experience. Whether we notice a beautiful moment when it is happening or we mention something we are grateful for in a passing conversation.

The real power of gratitude can come when we make it a consistent habit in our lives. A recurring theme. 

Grab a gratitude journal and set a daily timer on your phone to use it. I like to do this at night. (after my kids go to bed)

At the end of the day, I am usually pretty exhausted. Physically and mentally. Taking a few minutes to focus on gratitude reminds me that a hard day or a bad day does not equal a bad life.

This isn’t at all about ignoring hard things. Its about just making a little more space for good things. 

8) What Can You Control?

In life, there will always be things that are somewhat out of our control. 

And it is so easy to notice the things we can not control. 

But what about the things we can control? The moves we can make. 

Focusing on what we can control and taking small steps in that direction can reduce feelings of helplessness.

9) Social Media Break

Ugh. This is such a tough one. 

There are very strong opinions out there on social media. Opinions that fall everywhere on the spectrum. And for good reason. Technology impacts us in profound ways. 

It is not all good and not all bad. Like most things, it’s not a black-and-white situation. 

No matter how you feel about social media, a break now and then is a good choice. More time spent being present in our actual lives rather than what going on inside a screen can work wonders.

10) Have Fun

Sometimes I wish I could be my kids for a day. While being a child is not always rainbows and sunshine, it is fun. My girls let fun lead the way.

When we grow up, fun can take a backseat more and more. Now, this is not all bad. We become adults with responsibilities. And part of being an adult is handling those responsibilities.

But there is more to life than handling responsibilities and being productive.

Find hobbies that make you feel good.  Activities that bring you joy and fulfillment are worth your time. 

I am going to include relaxing in here. Doing nothing is a beautiful thing. 

*Here are some more tips on how to have more fun in life.*

11) Keep Learning

One of the best things we can do is to be open to learning. (in any capacity)

Learning from our experiences is one of the most helpful things we can practice. Staying curious and open will serve you well. Being willing to try different things or view something through a different lens are so beneficial and valuable. 

My favorite way to learn is through books. These personal growth books are near and dear to my heart. 

What books (or podcasts or whatever you choose) provide for me is a deeper understanding. Understanding and a level of clarity can clear the way for so much growth. 


There are no strategies out there that will make us immune to difficult emotions. That’s not part of the gig. 

And would we even want that to be possible? To only be capable of experiencing the good stuff. The emotions that have been deemed as positive.

 The key is to reduce the impact that negative emotions have on us. Not allowing them to derail us. 

It’s about coping with them. Not trying to swerve around them. We know out of sight, out of mind doesn’t work for the long haul. 

The only way through is through. 

Which of these ways to deal with difficult emotions stood out to you?

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11 Practical Ways To Deal With Difficult Emotions

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