Do you remember the last time you were so angry you shook? Or the last time you were so sad you cried? You probably do because emotional experiences can stay with you for a long time. Emotions can affect your health and well-being in a big way. However, it is not always easy to know how to manage your emotions. This is especially true if you are having extreme emotions or new emotions that you haven’t felt before.

Here’s what you need to know about managing your emotions and how to get help if you cannot manage them on your own.

Why Do We Feel Emotions?

Emotions are an important part of daily life, and they help you make decisions. When you go about your daily routine, your brain is always taking in information. Your emotions can help color this information and make it easier for your brain to hold on to the important information. In this way, emotions can help your brain learn things about your environment. This can be valuable and can help keep you safe. For example, if you see a lion, you might experience the emotion of fear. This will help you run to safety.

Your emotions can help you manage future situations in other ways, too. For example, if you remember that watching a certain movie made you feel happy, you might want to watch that movie again the next time you are feeling sad. Or, if you remember feeling angry about having to wait in a long line at a grocery store, you might avoid going to the grocery store again at the same time of day.

How Do Emotions Impact Our Life?

Your emotions can have a big impact on your life. They can affect the relationships you have with others. For example, if you are feeling particularly sad or blue, this might also make someone you live with feel sad or blue. It also might affect the way you treat them. You may want to talk less with them, or you may feel that you need them close by all the time.

Your emotions can also affect the activities in your life, such as your work, school, or hobbies. If you are feeling excited about a new activity, you may be more energetic and receive more positive feedback. But, if you are feeling low, you may not have as much energy and may not perform as well during a certain event or activity.

How to Manage Emotions

There is no way around the fact that emotions are a part of life. However, they do not have to control your life. The first step in managing your emotions is understanding how to identify your emotions. For example, you may be feeling angry, and you may not be sure why. Underneath your anger, you may actually be sad. Identifying your emotions can help you acknowledge and then accept them. Sometimes you may be afraid of a certain emotion, and you might try to push the emotion down without fully recognizing it. But, letting yourself feel all of your emotions can be a healthy exercise.

After you have gotten practice identifying your emotions and allowing yourself to feel them fully, it is vital to be able to express your emotions healthily. The most helpful ways to express emotions vary from person to person. You may have to try a few methods before you find what works best for you.

Ideas for healthily expressing your emotions include:

  • Writing in a journal
  • Calling a friend to talk
  • Going for a walk
  • Cooking a meal
  • Playing music
  • Spending time outside in nature
  • Doing meditations, like breathing exercises

The more ways that you can find to express your emotions, the better. This can help you avoid turning to other outlets that are not healthy, like drinking alcohol or abusing substances.

What to Do if You Need Help Managing Your Emotions

It can feel scary if you feel like you cannot manage your emotions. You may feel like you are not in control of your own life. However, you do not have to struggle on your own. Some people are experts at helping people learn to manage their emotions by using “coping skills.” You can ask your doctor or someone you trust to connect you with a therapist or counselor.

If you are worried that your emotions are too big and you are concerned for your own safety or the safety of someone else, you can call this 24-hour hotline for immediate help: 800-662-HELP.