Black and white photo of Helen Keller quote about overcoming suffering
Growing up

For kids and teens: How to deal with negative emotions

Dear kids, your negative emotions are useful. If you understand why they appear, you can make a change. And you will become more satisfied as people.

You can’t handle your negative feelings? Well, most adults can’t either because they never learned how.

We have all felt these:

A list of basic negative feelings - sadness, jealousy, self-blame, fear, anger, loneliness

But do they make us unhappy?

When I was a preteen, I thought I would be happier If only…:

…I were the prettiest girl at school.

…I had a boyfriend – I’d be so happy!

And the winner: …I wouldn’t feel.

Whatever I did to run away from my negative emotions, they would find me. It took me embarrassingly many years to finally realize – my worries change, but I can’t escape from my bad feelings. I have to face them!

a penguin walking on a rock near the sea - don't run away from your negative feeling but deal with it

How?

You can learn to accept your negative emotions. Life gets easier after that.

It needs some time and practice. When your “emotional muscle“ gets stronger, you overcome negative feelings more easily.

How to practice dealing with negative feelings

Psychologists suggest the following:

1 – Find out what you are feeling:

Be aware of your emotion:

Emotions are often mixed. Ask yourself:

What is it that I’m feeling?

For the sake of practice, ask your parents or teachers to roleplay different emotions with you. Discuss them. You can also watch a movie or read a book and think about how the main character is feeling.

Think of why you are feeling that way:

Something important happened. Your feeling is a reaction to that situation because you somehow felt “threatened“. Ask yourself:

Why am I so …? What did I expect to happen instead?

Is that person supposed to behave in some other way? Is it opposite to my beliefs? Should I tell them something?

Accept the emotion as normal and don’t hide away from it

a red road sign: a feeling is like a road sign  - a warning; negative feelings are necessary - they keep you alive

Negative feelings always pass. Without sadness, you wouldn’t be happy, excited, or content. Feelings are the spice of life. Life without feelings would be cornmeal every day. With feelings, life is sometimes spinach, sometimes fish, and sometimes ice cream.

Don’t blame other people for it

Somebody can provoke your feeling but it’s usually not on purpose. People deal with their own troubles and don’t think much about others. Whatever anyone does, you choose how to react to their behavior. Don’t let your happiness depend on someone else.

2 – Do something about it:

Tell or show how you feel:

Stand up for yourself but don’t be aggressive. Explain to the person how you are feeling because of their actions.

If you are not in the position to do so, don’t do it. Instead, confide in a parent, a friend, or a teacher.

Try to make yourself feel better:

Keep a journal to ease the tension – write everything that is on your mind.

Ask yourself:

What would someone smart advise me to do now?

If you have negative thoughts, they do not help you. Negativity is often unreasonable and does not help you see the world as it is.

Tell yourself:

It will all pass. I failed but I can try again.

Be persistent. The most successful people made it because they tried again every time they failed.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Lower down your expectations. You are good enough, you just did not do one thing right. You can do it some other time.

Do something to cheer you up – something which will engage you: listen to music, read a book, go see a friend, spend time doing your hobby, or do sports.

Notice the small things and be thankful every day:

Remember that you have something that others don’t. Repeat to yourself:

I am grateful to have …

After some time you will feel better and stronger because you have something valuable.

Exercise regularly:

Sports and physical exercise help your body get rid of negative feelings and relax.

a man surfing waves: you can't stop feelings but you can choose which one to surf, Jonathan Martensson

3 – If you can’t deal with them, look for help:

Talk to your parents, your sibling, or a school counselor. Also, a therapist can help you feel better.

Life is uncomfortable, but it is also rewarding. These two are parts of the same whole. This is life, this is how it’s supposed to be.

People who know how to handle their negative feelings, feel life better. They taste different “foods” every day.

Here is a poster to help you remember how to deal with negative emotions. Save it on your desktop or share it on social media to help someone – the SHARE icons are at the bottom of the text.

negative feelings are fine, and how to deal with negative emotions for teenagers step by step

Source – Kidshealth.org

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