February 13, 2023

10 Tips on How to Sit With Painful Emotions


If you’re someone who struggles with handling difficult emotions, you’re not alone. It can be really tough to know what to do when we’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or angry. Fortunately, there are some things that can help. Here are 10 tips on how to sit with painful emotions in a way that is productive and doesn’t leave you feeling worse. With that said, let’s get started!

Tip #1 – Acknowledge Your Feelings Without Judgment

When it comes to how to sit with painful emotions the first tip is acknowledging your feelings without judgment. Although it can feel odd at first, it will reap so many benefits in the long run. Taking the time to allow yourself to process your emotions without any guilt or shame is incredibly liberating and a crucial step in self-care. It might feel tough at first but it gets easier with practice. Give yourself permission to accept and be present with what you’re feeling – both the good and bad feelings – and simply observe them like a cloud passing by in the sky.

Tip #2 – Learn to Accept Your Emotions and Give Yourself Permission to Feel

We often struggle to accept and make sense of our emotions, continuously asking ourselves why we have certain feelings or they don’t make any sense. But the truth is that we are growing and changing every day, and sometimes we just need a little bit of time to process and understand our emotions. Give yourself permission to feel, even if it’s something that you don’t normally feel comfortable with or experienced in. It might not always feel comfortable, but creating a safe space where you can take time to identify your emotions without pushing them away will allow them to be heard and allow acceptance of your inner thoughts and feelings so you can move forward.

Tip #3 – Accept That The Feeling is Temporary

It is important to remember when feeling overwhelmed and exhibiting difficult emotions, that these feelings are usually only temporary. It may be habitual to indulge in behaviors that push your feelings away but it’s important to look at the big picture and acknowledge that this emotional state will pass. Everyone feels down sometimes, for varying amounts of time, so accept your own feelings as natural, and inevitable. If you can manage it, use this time positively to identify what factors are contributing to your distress and how you can support yourself through this moment. Remind yourself that self-care is critical during moments of immense emotion, so prioritize taking the time out of your day to do something that helps you de-stress and cultivate kindness towards yourself.

Tip #4 – Practice Breathing with Intention (Mindfulness)

Breathing is a great way to relax, no matter the situation. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, taking a few moments to close your eyes and focus on your breathing can work wonders. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth – this will help to slow down your heart rate which in turn helps you to relax. Focusing on your breath also allows you to be mindful of what is happening in the present moment – which can provide clarity and direction when you may feel lost. Take the time to incorporate easy breathing exercises into your daily routine – let it be your refuge from worry and stress.

Tip #5 – Practice Self Compassion

Self-compassion is an important tool for dealing with difficult times. It can help you through whatever challenge you are facing and be a source of strength long after the initial difficulty has passed. One simple way to practice self-compassion is to talk to yourself the same way you would talk to a good friend or family member in the situation: be understanding, offer comfort, and recognize that it’s okay to make mistakes. While it can take some practice, being kind to yourself gives you the motivation and confidence to keep going and make progress even when life throws unexpected challenges your way.

Tip #6 – Express Your Feelings in a Healthy Way

Managing your feelings in a productive and healthy way can be a challenge, but it’s worth practicing. Fortunately there are several ways to express your feelings in a healthy way that can help you cope with your emotions. Here are a few ideas:

  • Journaling  – Writing down your thoughts can be incredibly cathartic and help you process the emotions you are feeling.
  • Talking – Talking to a trusted friend or family member can provide support and understanding in a difficult time.
  • Exercising – Exercise is not only great for your physical health, but it is also an excellent way to release pent-up emotions.
  • Creative Activities – If you enjoy art, music, dance or any other creative outlet, expressing yourself in that way can help to reduce stress and improve your mood.

Overall, no matter what technique you use, just remember that it is ok to feel overwhelmed and take the time to express your feelings in a healthy manner. Doing this will help you to move forward and grow from the experience.

Tip #7 –  Take a Break from Social Media

Social media can often be a stressor, and it’s important to take some time away from it if you are feeling overwhelmed. So, allow yourself permission to take a break from checking your various accounts and instead focus on activities that bring you joy. If you’re feeling social but want to step away from the pressure of social media, try gathering with friends in person or doing a fun activity together to get your mind off your worries.

Tip #8 –  Find Positive and Constructive Distractions

In addition to the previously mentioned steps, another great way to help you sit with painful emotions is by consciously incorporating positive distractions in your life during difficult times. By including activities that bring you joy and allow you to take a break from the stress and pressure of the situation you will find yourself  in a better place to handle the difficulties. Examples of positive distractions include spending time with friends and family, listening to music, or getting lost in a book. Overall, by setting aside some time each day to focus on self-care and relaxation, you will be able to give yourself the break you deserve to help you cope with everything.

Tip #9 –  Develop a Good Support System to Help You Cope with the Pain

When dealing with painful emotions it’s important to have a good support system to help you through it. Reaching out to family, friends or support groups who can provide emotional and practical support when you need it most can be a game-changer in helping you cope with your current situation. Also by recognizing that you are not alone in your struggles can help you alleviate feelings of isolation and can provide hope for the future.

Tip #10 –  Reach out for Professional Help

Sometimes, dealing with overwhelming emotions can feel too difficult to manage on your own. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need additional help and support on how to sit with painful emotions, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional assistance. Talking to a therapist or mental health professional can provide you with the tools you need to better understand and process your feelings. They can also provide helpful strategies to help you cope with difficult emotions and work towards improving your mental health.

Conclusion – How to Sit With Painful Emotions

In conclusion,  it is important to remember that experiencing difficult emotions is normal. Taking the time to process and sit with your feelings can be beneficial in understanding how you’re feeling and honoring your emotions. By using the strategies discussed above, such as journaling, talking to a friend or family member, exercising, partaking in creative outlets, taking a break from social media, finding positive and constructive distractions, developing a good support system, and reaching out for professional help, you will be in a better position to cope with the difficulties that come your way.

So take some time today to observe and allow your emotions and remember that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed at times. It is also important to recognize that you are not alone and that there is help available if you need it.

If you’re having trouble coping with painful emotions don’t be afraid to reach out for help. At Clearheart Counselling we specialize in helping people struggling with emotional pain who may benefit from individual therapy. Contact us today to speak to one of our professional Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCC). You can also check out our Google Business Profile to visit our clinic today!