How to deal with negative emotions

6 feelings that sometimes don’t feel too good. The good news is that there are solutions to deal with them.

Sometimes life gets a bit confusing and painful. Understanding your feelings is the first step to feeling better, so we made you a quick guide to navigate 6 of the most common hard feelings.

1) Frustration. That’s when you feel stuck and annoyed to be stuck, it sits between being bored, sad and angry. The best remedy to frustration is action. Breaking down the problem in small parts and finding practical solutions for each of the parts will help you move forward. Before you’ll know, you will be too focused on doing something to feel frustrated anymore.

2) Envy.  That’s when you wish you had the newer phone your friend has or perhaps the life they have. It means you don’t feel yours is enough. While envy can be a driver to push you to work harder to get something, it is rooted in negativity because you’re not actually happy for the person, you’re feeling sorry for yourself and not happy about who you are. A good idea is to look at why you feel this way. Write it down and you will soon realise that what you feel envious about is not really the issue. Once you realise what makes you unhappy with yourself, you can address it in a positive way. Remember that nobody can be you and nobody has what you have inside yourself, so comparing yourself to someone else is like comparing a square to a circle: they will never be the same and that’s better because we need squares and circles in life.

3) Shame.  That’s a BIGGIE. It’s when you wish the ground could swallow you because you don’t want to be where you are or who you are.

  • Sometimes it is because you’re not happy with something you’ve done like when you get angry at your sibling and break something they love. The quicker way to feel better is to take responsibility for your actions and offer solutions. It’s not easy to do but it feels better than the guilt and the shame you feel.
  • If the shame you feel is about who you are or how you look, then just think this way: most people are too busy thinking about themselves to be thinking so hard about the things you are ashamed about. Also, you never know what others truly feel so someone can seem to have a perfect life (hello Insta life) but they may be feeling the same way or way worse than you are.
  • If you feel shame because people do or say mean things about you, then just know they do something called projection and the problem is not you, it’s inside them. They project their own negative feelings onto you to make themselves feel better. Pretty lame and weak, right? Take the high road and prove them wrong with your actions. Get busy doing your own stuff. Actions speak louder than words and when people discover you’re an awesome person doing great things, guess who will look like a gossipy loser? If you consider them as friends, tell them how mean they were and how they made you feel. Sometimes people say silly things to look cool and when they realise they hurt someone they like, they feel truly sorry and learn a good lesson too.
  • The best way to get shame out of your system is to articulate it. Try this: write down how you’re feeling in one column, then why you feel this way or what the cause is (if it is someone, write down what they say/do), then in another column, write why it’s not true. It’s a tough exercise because you may not feel there’s something to write however when you do, you will discover that you have more reasons to drop the shame. You can then use the energy it takes from you to do something fun that brings you joy.

    4) Upset.  That’s when your feelings are hurt. When you feel you’ve been wronged, let down but also when you feel sad about something or a loss. Again, a good way is to take some time out to think and write about why you feel this way. If you don’t like writing, you can doodle, draw, or sing about it. The important part is to acknowledge how you feel, what makes you feel that way and how you could feel better about it.

    5) Anxiety.  That’s when you feel something is out of control and your worried at the same time. For instance, uncertainty is source of great anxiety, which is why the pandemic has made people feel very anxious. The same way looming exams can make you feel anxious as you can’t control the situation. But here’s the truth: you do control how you react to the situation. So, accept that you can’t control the situation and put your energy into what you can control. For instance, preparing for your exams instead of stressing about.

    6) Low self-esteem. Another BIGGIE. That’s when you don’t think you’re enough. It feels quite isolating and usually you feel shame too so try the writing exercise we told you about above.

    • Confront head on why and what makes you feel this way. Then write down all the wonderful things about you, write to yourself like you are writing about your best friend. Don’t skip this part. Even if you have a very low self-esteem, we all have good sides to celebrate, so go on, write them all down too. Next time you have negative feelings about yourself or don’t feel enough, tell yourself, like you would tell your best friend about your qualities too. The more you look at the positives, the more they will balance out the negatives.
    • Another trick is to make a plan to learn to do something very well. Confidence comes with competence so doing something to improve an area of your life will start boosting your overall confidence.
    • One more trick, from the many people who look confident online: fake it until you feel it. By pretending to be more confident, you will actually start being more confident.

      But what about love?

      Love is actually more than an emotion. It’s a human need. That’s why there are so many movies and songs made about it, that’s why it hurts so much when we feel unloved. We need love to live. Love itself generates a lot of emotions, like joy, happiness but also sadness and anger. The great thing about love is that we are actually never without it. There’s always someone or something that we love in life.

      If you need to talk about your emotions or learn more about feelings, and if you don’t feel like talking to someone you know, you can reach out to Youthline.  Youthline provides a 24/7 Helpline service that is made for young people who are facing challenges. It’s free and you can contact them by text, email, phone or webchat for counselling support. The team are friendly and know how to help you so it’s a safe place to share your worries.  Youthline is a great place to learn more about mental health issues, well-being and personal development. Head to their website if you want to understand more.