by Maddie Lukens, MA
Have you ever found yourself just feeling down? Or maybe you’ve been feeling sad or discouraged all day and you can’t seem to shake the feeling. Perhaps you wake up one morning and just feel “off?” Many people experience this, some more frequently than others.
WHY do we get stuck in negative emotions? Here are a few possible reasons:
1. Past experiences. Whether you had a bad experience this morning or 40 years ago, some experiences can leave us feeling stuck either emotionally or mentally.
2. Painful parts of our story. Every person has a story and our stories are made up of many parts – the tragic, beautiful, redemptive, healing – our stories are full of courage and pain. These painful parts of our story can leave us feeling stuck.
3. Sometimes we just wake up “on the wrong side of the bed.” Yes, we’ve all been there!
We are left feeling “off” after a tense or negative interaction with a loved one or even a stranger. All of these things I listed are part of our experience of being human – we can’t always control what’s going on in our world, but we often can control and even change how we are interacting with our world. ← this is the KEY to getting “unstuck” from negative emotions.
Ask yourself, is my attitude shaping how I am experiencing something? Can I change my attitude to view this situation differently?
Here are three additional tips to help get you “unstuck” from difficult emotions:
1. Notice + Name. This is so important. When we notice something within us is “off,” it’s necessary that we take the time to pause and see if we can name exactly what the emotion is. Literally ask yourself: “Am I feeling sad/discouraged/annoyed/angry, etc.?” When we are able to name something it takes some of the power away from it. Saying “I feel off” doesn’t help us investigate where that emotion is coming from. However, saying “I feel angry” is specific, and we can begin to ask ourselves: “what happened earlier that has left me feeling angry?”
2. Have grace, and do not shame. Recognize there is a lot going on in our world at the moment and we are required to adapt to and navigate new things each day. Shame says: “I shouldn’t be so upset, I should have more patience.” While grace says: “I am human and today has been a challenging day, it is okay to feel frustrated.” Being kind to yourself is the first step to extending grace to yourself as well.
3. Change your scenery. Sometimes we just need an extra push to get us out of the mindset we find ourselves in. Go on a walk and call a friend. Find a park and throw a frisbee/football, go kick a soccer ball. Maybe take a book and read out on your porch or beneath a tree across the street. You’d be surprised how a small mix-up in your routine can get you “unstuck” from the difficult emotions.
Anxiety Treatment in Ambler, PA
As always, every one of us at Lime Tree Counseling is here for you! If you’re noticing a deeper pattern of being stuck in a mindset or with difficult emotions that are becoming too much to manage, perhaps it’s a good time to reach out and ask for help. Our team provides trauma counseling, anxiety treatment, marriage counseling, and grief counseling right here in Ambler, PA. Don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule an appointment or free phone consultation today!