Tips for Emotional Processing


If you have difficulty getting in touch with your emotions, of if you don’t have any healthy outlets for your emotions, here are a few ideas to consider.


  1. Experience your emotions like a wave.  Don’t block your emotions when they start to come out.  Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you feel, without acting on them.  Observe how emotions will gradually rise up, flow over you, and then fade away.  One wave of emotion might only last a couple of minutes.  Just observe the process, knowing you don’t have to follow the emotion or cling to it.  Once it’s passed, let it go.  A typical emotional process might involve several waves.
  2. Don’t do any of the following if it is going to be intimidating or threatening to someone who is with you at the time.  Some of these are best done alone.  Always be mindful of the consequences of your actions and make sure to avoid any destructive versions of the options below.
  3. Engage your rational mind.  Think about what purpose your emotions are trying to serve, their function and their usefulness to you.  Take time to identify the thoughts that triggered the emotions, and to problem-solve or make necessary decisions.  Remember that how you think about a situation makes a big difference in what emotions you feel.  Also, prepare to communicate about it.
  4. I recommend that you follow emotional processing with something soothing or uplifting.  In other words, you can switch gears after the emotional processing by exposing yourself to pleasant music, humor, sensory soothing, relaxation, positive messages, or distraction.


  1. Talk to someone supportive about your situation, your problem, your thoughts and your feelings.  If you’re able to open up, the emotions often come out naturally.
  2. Journal about your thoughts and feelings.  Don’t just describe what happened, describe how you felt about it.  Describe the feelings in words, using metaphors and symbolic descriptions.  Take note of what thoughts trigger what feelings.
  3. Let yourself cry.  Remember that crying is a natural outlet for emotions, and when the time and circumstances are right, let it all out.
  4. Release your emotions physically in a non-destructive way.  You can do this through exercise, walking, cleaning or house work, hitting a punching bag or bed, dancing, popping bubble wrap, squeezing a stress ball, throwing or kicking a ball as hard as you can, etc.  You might want to think or even talk about what is upsetting you while you do the physical activity, and then channel the emotion into the activity.
  5. Listen to music that matches your emotions.
  6. Watch a movie or TV show that matches your emotions.
  7. Express your emotions creatively.  Play music, write a poem, draw or paint, act out a dramatic scene, write lyrics, dance, write a story, or make a collage symbolizing your feelings.  You can also explore emotions creatively through trying on various postures and positioning (e.g.: the fetal position, various postures, facial expressions, movements, and gestures.

Anda Jines MS LCPC offers mental health counseling services in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, in Tinley Park, IL (60477); near Orland Park, Oak Forest, Orland Hills, Palos Heights, Mokena, and Frankfort. Click here for more about Anda Jines MS LCPC.

Categories : Mental Health

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