Managing negative emotions
We all experience a wide range of emotions. There are many emotions which we experience as a pleasant e.g. love, happiness, pride, relief, enjoyment and contentment. On the other side we have emotions related to fear: fright, worry, anxiety or terror and if our worries interfere with our everyday life we are suffering from this anxiety.
Sadness asserts in hopelessness, distress, despair or gloom and again if those feelings are too intense or we experience those most of the time we may suffer from depression. Envy, jealousy, resentment or rage are very common emotions and it is absolutely alright to feel in this way when we have reasons (e.g. somebody treated us unfairly). There are people who are angry too often and their anger is too intense. They are sometimes addicted to their anger. They may behave aggressively and hurt themselves or others.
It would be perfect for our emotional health if we could maintain balance and not go to extremes (or know how to get out of them mindfully).
Maintaining stability could be very difficult in our present-day world when we can easily lose jobs, health, family or close relatives, and finally our dreams and hopes. Unfortunately many people who cannot maintain their emotional states and suffer from anxiety or depression or are also not able to control their anger can end up with physical symptoms, such as digestive problems, difficulties with sleeping, various pains (e.g. headaches), heart problems etc.
Many would be supported by their GP’s. Then they will be able to get medication for their physical symptoms, and also doctors may offer them medications to treat their emotional issues (e.g. anti-depressants).
However, research shows that therapy is comparably successful or even more effective than medication in treating anxiety and depression.
Very often we are not aware of our emotions and we are unable to name them. Therapy is definitely the right place (possibly one of the best) where we can learn more about ourselves and our feelings. It could be essential to find roots of our emotions and our recurrent emotional states especially if they are intense or long-term:
Psychodynamic therapy could be very helpful in this case. Trained therapists can help us to explore our current feelings (also those we are not conscious of) and find reasons why our emotions are so intense. Most of the time roots can be found in our past, mostly childhood. We may also realise that we often feel anger towards some specific people or situations. Counsellors can help us to find out why we feel/behave this way. Before choosing it you must be aware that psychodynamic therapy may last for years - so be ready for a long term commitment. You should also be prepared to explore your childhood profoundly as it is vital for this method.
Person-centred therapy can help us to explore our feelings deeply. Methods and technics used by the person-centred counsellor can help us understand ourselves and our feelings fully. Most psychologists and therapists agree that the relationship between the therapist and the client is the most therapeutic aspect and especially in this approach this healing process can be seen clearly. Only with pure person-centred counselling we will (should) never feel judged or criticised in any way. Finally we will (should) feel empowered and strong enough to maintain our emotional states adequately.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be very effective in treating anxiety, depression and anger management. This approach will help you understand the links between thoughts, feelings & behaviour. A CBT therapist should also teach you to see yourself, situations and your life from various perspectives and find the balance in your thinking. You will see how your thinking affects your behaviour and feelings. Your therapist should teach you to challenge your way of thinking. Gradually your negative thinking (E.g. while being depressed you may think: I'm useless, I’m useless and everything is useless as well, I'm worthless) may become positive (and you will be able to see your positive qualities). You may have to work at home on your own as this therapy involves homework. The positive thing is that only six sessions may be sufficient to feel significant changes.
Gestalt therapy focuses on self-awareness and the 'here and now'. In this therapy you will be able to explore your feelings fully. Techniques used in gestalt will help you open up and acknowledge hidden feelings. Your therapist will help you understand the connection between your body language and your intense feelings.
Integrative Therapy integrates together different elements of specific therapies and it seems to be most flexible. There are many ways in which people and their lives can be explored and understood. It is important for Integrative Counsellor to use specific techniques and concepts from various approaches that are appropriate to the client and meet client’s needs and concerns.
Probably you are already aware that choosing the right therapist is quite important.
To help you make final decision, please answer following questions:
- Do you feel safe and confident with your therapist?
- Do you feel unconditionally accepted, and always respected by your therapist?
- Is he/she listening to you carefully?
- Do you feel understood?
Maybe now you are experiencing a wide range of sadness and anxious feelings and it seems to be difficult or even impossible to believe that counselling can help you to find and highlight positive aspects of your life, find new personal goals and happiness.
It is absolutely possible, so why don’t you give yourself a chance?