Processing Emotions

Jennifer Foust, PhD, MS, LPC, Director of Clinical Services

Posted by: Jennifer Foust, PhD, MS, LPC
Director of Clinical Services

Processing emotions: once you identify what you are feeling, try to find a way to process it. Below is a list of action oriented suggestions for how to do this.

Processing Emotions

* Keep a diary in which you write down feelings and try to identify the reasons behind them. You can also write ideas for how to solve problems and identify unmet needs.
* Write a letter to someone, even if you don’t plan to send it.
* Draw or paint an image of what the feeling looks like. What color would it be? What shape would it be?
* Try to find a song that matches your mood and play it.
* Call a friend to talk the feelings through.
* Sit with the feelings and give yourself permission to feel them. Stop trying to make the emotions go away. 

Also, be aware of the strategies that serve to self-soothe and manage uncomfortable or intense feelings. These include:

* Imagine your feelings are waves and let them wash over you
* Taking a walk - and letting your mind wander
* Taking a walk - and focusing your thoughts on your feelings
* Taking a walk - and focusing on thoughts on your body and paying close attention to the energy moving through your body
* Listening to Music - and losing yourself in the words, feelings enegery of the song
* Listening to music - and feeling the energy of the beats in your soul.
* Taking a warm bath - and relaxing
* Praying - pay attention to what you are hoping for, what you are afraid to hope for, and what you expect
* Praying - accept the higher power
* Relaxing by taking breaths in though your nose and out through your mouth at your own pace, focus on your breathing and quiet your brain
* Someone to massage you - ask the person to talk with you
* Someone to massage you - and let yourself loose in your body. Stop thinking and simply focus on touch.
* Stretching - focus on moving the energy aroud.  Be kind to your body. 
* Picturing a safe and peaceful place and focusing on that image - where is it that you need to be. What about this place do you associate with safety and peace.
* Watching a funny movie - allow yourself to be distracted. Sometimes you simply need to give yourself time. 
* Reading a book - give yourself permission to esape the moment. When you are ready you can check back in. 
* Playing an instrument and / or sing - music is another way to tap into your soul. 

There are many ways to process your emotions.  There is no one right way. Experiment with the different techniques and notice what is easier, harder to do and why.  What is the strength of each technique. They all teach you something slightly different.