Health Library

Managing Your Emotional Reactions

Getting Started

Emotional self-awareness is the ability to recognize your emotions. Emotions are a part of life. They play a role in how you react to things. They can also make you more aware of what's important to you. Understanding what you're feeling can help you manage your emotions in a healthy way.

Sometimes emotions can feel overwhelming. You can use emotional self-awareness to help you cope with these emotions and your reactions to them.

Here are some ideas to try.

  • Consider your emotions without judging them.

    When a situation upsets you, take a moment to process your emotions. Don't judge them. Instead, try to understand what you're feeling.

  • Look at things from a different point of view.

    When you do this, you may see that the event had nothing to do with you. For example, if someone you know doesn't respond to you when you say hello in the hallway, it could be that they didn't hear you. Rather than feel upset, you can feel better knowing that it isn't about you.

  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

    Rather than focus on something bad, find a way to turn it into something good. For example, instead of getting upset that you had to take a detour, think about how you're able to enjoy some new scenery.

  • Be kind to yourself.

    Do something that you enjoy. Choose something that lets you focus on your senses: smell, hear, feel, see, and taste. For example, light your favorite scented candle or listen to an audiobook. Or take a warm bath or shower, carry a picture of a loved one with you, or treat yourself to a delicious meal. Whatever you decide to do, focus on the positive emotions you feel in the moment.

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health