The Common Struggles of Dealing with Hard Emotions
Diverse Asian American therapy clients come to therapy with a wide array of issues, ranging from anxiety and interpersonal issues to eating disorders and low self-esteem. However, there is one commonality we see across almost all clients– difficulty coping with emotions. Those with interpersonal issues often get overwhelmed by the anger or stress they feel in their relationships. Those with disordered eating use restriction or binging as a way of coping with difficult emotions. And those with anxiety spend their days worrying and avoiding, not knowing how to handle the stress.
While not the whole story, difficulty with emotion management skills contributes to and exacerbates all these issues. When this is pointed out, clients often wholeheartedly agree, but then they will say they have no idea how to cope better with their emotions. Most of us never received the knowledge or skills to understand and navigate our emotions well. So we are stuck trying to suppress our emotions, being overwhelmed by our emotions, and engaging in unhealthy and ineffective forms of coping with our emotions. But the good news is that we can unlearn these unhelpful ways of dealing with our emotions and develop new, more sustainable ways of coping.
The Asian American Emotion Management Coaching Group
Yellow Chair Collective’s Asian American Emotion Management Coaching group to help fill this gap in emotional knowledge and skills. During the group, members will unpack their relationship to emotions, learn how emotions work and what purpose they serve, and practice skills for how to better manage their emotions.
3 Emotion Management Skills
To give you an idea of this group, here are 3 emotion management skills that will be covered.
Check the facts:
Our thoughts can have a massive influence on our emotions. For example, one person might interpret a friend not responding to their text as a sign that this friend does not care. As a result, that person might feel insecure, hurt, or annoyed. Another person might interpret this same situation as their friend just being busy. This person is likely to feel more neutral. Sometimes our emotions fit with what we are experiencing–we are sad because something sad happened, or we are mad because something unjust happened. But at other times our emotions might be shaped by our interpretation of our experience.
We can check the facts by first describing the event that prompted our emotion with just the facts of the situation, only using language for what we observed through our 5 senses. Don’t use judgments or absolutes (e.g. never, always, everybody, nobody). Then we can assess what our interpretations and assumptions of the event are, noticing if we are engaging in any common thinking traps, such as black-and-white thinking or mind-reading what another person is thinking.
Every emotion has a natural action urge. For example, when we are afraid, the action urge is to run away. Or when we are sad, the action urge is to withdraw or isolate. When our emotions do not fit the facts or when acting on our emotions is not useful in a particular situation, an opposite action is a tool we can use to change our emotions or decrease their emotional intensity. Opposite action involves identifying opposite actions to action urges. For example, if you are afraid, instead of running away, you might instead approach the situation you are afraid of. Or if you are sad, instead of withdrawing, you might go do something or connect with another person.
This is one of my favorites! Creating possibilities is a tool you can use to cope ahead of potentially challenging situations. Have you ever tried stating affirmations and felt like those affirmations just did not land? Our brains and bodies sometimes resist declarative statements (e.g. “I am enough” or “It will be okay”). So instead we can turn these statements into what-ifs. “What if I am enough?” “What if it will be okay?”
Choose a what-if statement that you want to believe. Try saying this what-if statement 5-10 times. And as you do so, try to have a posture of curiosity and imagination. You can play around with emphasizing different words in the statement. What IF I am enough? What if I AM enough? This practice helps create new pathways in our brain to believe something new, and eventually, you might find yourself able to change the what if into a declarative statement.
Interested in the Asian American Emotion Management Coaching Group? Contact an Online Therapist in New York or California
We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of our Asian American Emotion Management Coaching group. Our team is happy to offer support for coping with strong emotions and managing them in healthier ways. You can start your therapy journey with Yellow Chair Collective by visiting this link or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. You can get in contact with a skilled therapist who can offer support with our coaching group.
Other Services Offered with Yellow Chair Collective
Our coaching groups aren’t the only service offered at Yellow Chair Counseling. The therapists at our Los Angeles and New York City-based counseling center can offer support for a number of mental health concerns. We work with teens, individuals, and couples, and address issues such as anxiety, postpartum therapy, trauma, and PTSD. Our team can also provide culturally sensitive treatment for highly sensitive people, support groups, burnout, and workshops for organizations. All of these services can be utilized in-person or online anywhere in California or New York.
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