Most of us try to avoid uncomfortable emotions. Who likes to feel sad, depressed, lonely, hurt, scared or betrayed? Don’t we try to NOT feel this way? Some may even engage in unhealthy behaviors to avoid their emotions. I encountered this as a common theme in my work at drug and alcohol rehab facilities. Though it may be unpleasant, I propose that if we want to feel the comfortable emotions in life, we have to get good at feeling the ones that are not so comfortable.
It is important to realize that uncomfortable emotions are not bad. We all experience a myriad of emotions; some make us feel better than others. Because of the discomfort that comes with some, many try to avoid them all together, take them out on others, or deal with them in unhealthy ways. The trick to dealing with emotions in a healthy manner is not to get rid of them, but rather to embrace them and then let them go. As I work with couples or individuals in therapy, I often review three simple steps to dealing with emotions:
Learning to deal with uncomfortable emotions can feel counterintuitive at times. Our initial response may be to react with anger or push them away. But, as we practice embracing our feelings in order to let them go, we will develop habits that will improve our emotional health and overall internal peace.
Dr. Triston Morgan is a director and owner of the Center for Couples and Families with locations in American Fork, Provo, and Spanish Fork. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and is originally from Oregon. He and his beautiful wife, Cristina, love to travel and see the world.