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Individual Counseling: Coping with Challenging Emotions
Individual Counseling: Some Tips for Coping With Challenging Emotions
In individual counseling, you will learn how to cope with difficult emotions. You might struggle to know how to cope when your emotions seem like they are in charge of your mood, interactions, and the quality of your day. (Related Article: 3 Principles of Emotional Health).
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help yourself cope during hard times. Today, you will learn two helpful tips for working through difficult feelings and emotions. (Related article: Learn How to Cope).
The Power of Labeling Emotions
It might sound odd, but you may have found that when you are having a hard time it can be really hard to just describe how you feel! And, that makes sense. When you are stressed, overwhelmed, sad, or any other overwhelming emotion, you might not have thought to stop and consider how to label your feelings.
A helpful tip from John Gottman might help. Instead of saying “I am sad”, “I am angry”, etc, try saying “this is sadness” or “this is anger” (Source). That way, you are able to rephrase and reframe your emotions. This might seem simple, but labeling your emotions this way empowers you. As you do this, you will find that you are in charge of your emotions, and not the other way around! This method also helps you remain in the present moment, which can help you notice changes in your emotions. (Related article: How to Be Emotionally Healthy- Primary vs. Secondary Emotions).
The Importance of Impermanence
Your emotions are not permanent. Although, it sure can feel that way at times, especially when you are struggling. Practicing noticing and acknowledging the impermanence of your emotions helps you cope during hard times. As you notice your emotions are not permanent, you will be able to have more control over how you confront and resolve them. (Related article: Resilience).
Let’s try a mindfulness exercise that can help you practice this for yourself. Think of a strong emotion you are grappling with at the moment. Think of what the emotion is and how you experience it. Now, see if you can picture that emotion on a billboard on the freeway. Next, picture what it would look like to drive past that emotion billboard on a freeway.
In a real-life scenario, you would notice a freeway billboard for a moment, and then as you drive away it will fade into your mind.
You might even forget about it, with some time! Taking this mindful approach to seeing your own emotions can help you acknowledge the emotion and potentially soften its impact on your mind and day. (Related article: Anxiety Help- Tips and Resources from a Counselor).
Individual Counseling Can Help
Your emotions do not have to rule your life. And sometimes, mindfulness exercises aren’t enough. (Related article: Therapy). That’s where individual counseling can help! If you are not already meeting with a therapist, it can be hard to know where to begin. Thankfully, your therapist understands and is here to help you get started.
Ready to take the first step? Schedule a counseling appointment with us today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written by Lauren Adkins