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Why Expressing Your Emotions Should be Your New Years Resolution


Author: Shernide Delva

“New Year.  New Me.”

That’s what many say as the clock strikes midnight and another year has passed.  However, although the New Year brings a positive outlook, it also brings new challenges. As much as we all want a perfect New Year, the truth is both good and bad will happen to us every year, and the way we handle those challenges is the only way to ensure our joy and happiness.

Focusing on your mental health this year may be the best goal you can make for yourself, especially in recovery. Most people wait until it is too late to seek professional help when they need it most. People spend days, months, even years avoiding and distancing themselves from strong emotions out of fear of looking broken and weak.

That is why this year; there is the positive psychology movement that focuses on encouraging people to take control of their emotions. The basis of this movement is to provide a powerful, alternative way of viewing mental health that says that strong emotions and thoughts should be expressed.

Challenging times are an opportunity for growth and change. Here are a three ways to take your difficult thoughts and emotions and use them for psychological growth and development.

  1. Understand Sadness is a Tool.

In childhood, most of us learn to avoid sad feelings. We learn that it is bad to feel this way; however sadness is essential for expressing our emotions. Expressing sadness releases pain and stress, and gives you a way to empathize with other people you care about.

No one wants to experience sadness but sadness is really inevitable. In fact, suppressing feelings of sadness can lead to depression symptoms and be a trigger for addiction. However, when you face the pain of sadness, you can identify areas of your life that need to be worked on. For example, if a coworker says something that hurts you, by addressing it, you can have a healthier work relationship. If you are in a relationship and your partner hurts you, rather than suppress it, understanding your sadness can allow for a better relationship.

In addition, surrounding yourself with supportive people in recovery will allow you to have an outlet for your sadness. Make sure you have people who understand when you are having a bad day or need to vent. This can make you feel better and allow you to take the right steps to change.

  1. Embrace Your Strong Feelings.

In my experience, I have a difficult time embracing strong feelings because I would rather coast in a content state than actually challenge myself and risk feeling strong emotions. Strong negative feelings are a part of being alive though. Problems arise when trying to avoid or control our strong emotions.

What’s the solution? Embrace them. Ask yourself what you are feeling and what you can do to tackle those feelings. Try talking to yourself in the car or in your room until you understand exactly what your strong emotions are and what is causing them.  Then come up with solutions to overcome those feelings, rather than ignore them. Sometimes the hardest thing about having strong emotions is understanding where those emotions stem from in the first place.

  1. Acknowledge Your Healing Mechanisms

Over the course of applying techniques to help with coping with emotions, you will begin to notice that certain techniques are more effective than others. Pay attention to moments where you are effective in expressing your emotions, when you are honest, and when you finally are able to muster the courage to ask others for support. Then reward yourself.  Acknowledging improvements in your emotional well being promotes optimism and confidence. As a result, you are more likely to use these tools again and again.

The more often you recognize difficult feelings as a normal part of life, the more likely you will be confident and effective handling challenges in the future. Our thoughts and emotions make up a critical part of our mental health. Positive psychology offers a way to make sense of our relationships and events in our lives. Understanding our strong emotions allow us to ultimately have a better understanding of ourselves.

So yes, have a great New Years but the truth is, it will not always be that great. There will be highs and lows. However, how you react to the challenges of the New Year is the one thing you do have control over.  Express Yourself.

Often, addicts use drugs to escape their emotions and numb their feelings away. However, expressing emotions allows you to finally understand that they are nothing to be afraid of. You should never be ashamed of finally getting help for yourself. Get on the path to recovery today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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