Man up. Tough it out. These phrases are all too familiar to many people. When we experience a problem, we are often told to ignore our feelings and end up pushing the pain further and further inside ourselves. Although this seems like an easy solution, denying that we are feeling upset and suppressing our emotions doesn’t make our problems disappear. In the long run, it actually harms our mental wellness.
Sadness, anger, hatred, disappointment, and other so called “negative” emotions are just as important as happiness. Expressing these emotions isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes strength to show vulnerability. The important thing is to accept the pain as a normal response to hardship and find a healthy way to cope with these emotions. Everyone is different and some coping strategies will work better for you than others. Below are a few ways to cope with anger and sadness by experiencing your feelings.
Crying: Crying can help relieve stress, clear your head, and connect you to your feelings. Life can be very overwhelming, and releasing bottled up energy through crying can be energizing and help you better understand your situation. Crying also flushes out toxins and chemicals that increase stress hormones.
Physical Venting: Releasing negative energy in an active or physical way can be relieving and prevents anger from festering inside yourself. Exercise, screaming, scream singing, or punching a pillow are all helpful ways for people to release their frustration and calm down. Furthermore, exercise releases muscle tension which is key to physical relaxation.
Meditation: Meditation can be a great way to focus on the present. When you feel upset or angry about something, such as a fight with a family member or friend, it is important to re-center yourself. This helps you better comprehend your feelings and prevents rash actions. Paying attention to your breathing, imagining yourself in a calm setting, or even listening to music can help you manage your stress and mentally prepare you to address difficult situations.
There are many other effective ways to calm down and release stress in tough situations. Regardless of what method works best for you, being able to experience your difficult emotions instead of pretending that everything is fine helps you cope with hardships in a healthy way, which is key to both mental wellness and moving forward.
— Anusha, 15 years old