It's OK To Have Emotions

By: Peter O'Neal

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Be a Man!

Young boys often hear this when they cry. Men are used to being chastised for having and displaying emotional responses to situations. Women are sometimes encouraged from a young age to be nice, and that nice girls don't get angry.

But what does any of that mean for us as people? As humans? Emotions are embedded in the fabric of who we are. We are naturally emotional people. Our decisions are sometimes driven by emotions-- and we can't just ignore them.

It's OK

It's perfectly normal to feel angry about something, or sad about a situation. What is potentially not normal is how we deal with those situations. If you're mad, is your first inclination to shut people out? If your frustrated, do you immediately turn to alcohol? How are you managing the triggers in your life that create emotional responses?

Managing Feelings

It's important to learn how to manage those feelings. No one has every complained about being happy or excited, but what about when you're angry or depressed?

Here are some tips for dealing with negative emotions.

  • Find a trusted individual to talk to, such as a health professional, clergy or other trusted person.
  • Take a walk and calm down.
  • Exercise, which is proven to help relieve stress.
  • Do something you enjoy, like reading or listening to calming music.
  • Change your surroundings. Go for a trip, take a drive, visit a different town.
  • Learn what your triggers are and try to avoid them.

I always advocate for finding ways to de-stress and deal with negative emotions. Your ability to manage your feelings will help you live a happier and more productive life.

You can't avoid emotions, and while it's OK to have them -- now you know how to control them.