- Managing our emotions
- What are emotions and why do we feel them?
- What are the basic emotions?
- Understanding our emotions
- Why is it important to manage our emotions?
- How do we manage our emotions?
- Toxic positivity
- How do we talk about our emotions?
- What if we encounter traumatic events?
- When should we reach out for support?
- Self-help tools for managing our emotions
- Mental health services
The importance of
The teenage years are an exciting time for many of us. There is so much going on in our lives, such as starting at a new school, meeting new people, and making more friends.
We may also be trying out new activities and experiences, learning to be more independent, taking on new responsibilities, and finding our strengths. As we adjust to these changes, it is natural to feel excited, tense and even sad at times. So, it is important for us to learn to manage our feelings so we can perform
at our best.
What are emotions
and why do we feel them?
It’s normal to feel
all kinds of emotions
6 basic emotions
An emotional state
leading to feelings of
hostility and frustration
A strong emotion that
results in feelings of
A primal emotion that is
important to survival and triggers
a fight or flight response
A pleasant emotional
state that produces feelings
of joy, contentment, and satisfaction
An emotional state
characterised by feelings
of disappointment, grief
A brief emotional state,
either positive or
Why is it important to understand
and manage our emotions?
Although emotions are an instinctive and natural thing, they can sometimes be intense and overwhelming. That’s why we can all benefit from understanding and managing our emotions healthily.
learn how to respond in
Watch this video to see why it’s important to acknowledgeand manage our emotions as they arise.
How do we manage our emotions?
- Practice noticing and identifying our emotions by using the feelings tracker to identify how we are feeling.
- Avoid brushing away or pretending not to have certain emotions as we might get overwhelmed and become less effective at managing them. Our feelings are there to help us make sense of what’s going on!
- Check in with our body too. We may also feel some body sensations with certain emotions – perhaps our face gets hot and muscles tense up.
- Accept all our emotions as natural and not something to avoid. Seek to understand and figure out what happened that got us feeling this way.
- Holding back uncomfortable emotions, e.g. sadness can cause these emotions to stay around longer, making us feel more depressed or anxious.
- Our emotions can arise from many things. It could be events, situations, or even our own thoughts or memories.
- Knowing what brought about that feeling and why we felt that way would also make it easier for us to have a better grip and assess how best to manage our feelings.
- Consider whether things are really as bad as they seem. Sometimes, unhelpful thinking patterns may magnify the negativity of the situation. For example, we may overgeneralise and think, “I have failed once, I will fail again for sure”.
- When we have such negative thoughts, we can use My Positivity Guide to reframe such thoughts by focusing on the good things around us.
- Shred away these unhelpful thinking patterns using the Emotions Explorer.
- Think about the best way to express our emotions or regulate them, so we can feel better. For example, would it feel more helpful to gently confront someone or work off the feeling by going for a run?
- Consider doing more of the things we enjoy such as spending time in nature, listening to music or even having sufficient sleep. When we have insufficient sleep, it may be harder to manage our emotions.
- For those who are 11 to 13 years old, it is recommended they aim for 9 to 11 hours of sleep. For those aged 14 to 17, the recommended sleep duration is 8 to 10 hours each day.
- We can also try exercising as it has mood-boosting effects and relieves stress.
- Learn relaxation skills such as:
Be mindful to avoid toxic positivity
When managing our emotions, we might unknowingly fall into the mindset of toxic positivity, which refers to an
obsession with positive thinking. This is the belief that people should put a positive spin on all experiences, neglecting
and brushing away emotions like sadness and anger, in a bid to feel “positive and happy” all the time.
Signs of toxic positivity
Toxic positivity can often be subtle or not noticeable, but learning to recognise the
signs can help us better identify this type of behaviour. Some signs include:
Brushing off problems rather than facing them.
Feeling guilty about being sad, angry, or disappointed.
Hiding true feelings behind feel-good quotes that seem more socially acceptable.
Hiding/Disguising how we really feel or trying to 'get over' painful emotions.
Shaming other people when they don’t have a positive attitude.
Minimising other people’s feelings because they make us uncomfortable.
Risks of toxic positivity
Risks of toxic positivity
There are also risks such as:
- Increased isolation and stigma (a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance) which discourage us from seeking support.
- Increased communication issues as we don’t see a need to solve our relationship problems because we only focus on the positive.
- Low self-esteem due to the inability to feel positive. We may feel as though we are failing.
How do we talk about our emotions?
Talking to others about our emotions can also help us explore new perspectives and understand our thinking patterns.
That someone can be a friend, sibling, parent, teacher or school counsellor. We can just go to the person we feel we can trust and say, “Got a minute? There’s something I want to share.” We can then share how we feel and why. We may just find ourselves surprised that someone can help us feel better and assure us that we are not alone.
We don’t have to wait for our problems to be big or have a special time to talk about them. It’s good to practise talking about them earlier as it allows us to notice them. This can take place while going home with a classmate after school, or with a sibling at home.
We don’t have to talk about every feeling we have but noticing our feelings and saying how we feel and why, is good practice and a healthy way to express them. It is also okay to not know why we are feeling certain emotions. We can still say something like “I feel angry but I don’t know why.”
The more we talk about it, the easier it gets. It doesn’t just help us understand ourselves, but also increases the connection that we have with people who matter to us.
Common signs that our emotions feel too much for us include:
too intense for a situation
If our emotions become too overwhelming and are beyond our control, we can always reach out to seek support. A trusted adult/friend, or a healthcare professional, can help us in our times of need. Learn more on how we can reach out to them here.
Mental health services
If you or someone you know is experiencing serious or violent family conflicts or is in an abusive situation, reach out for help by calling:
Belle, Beyond the Label Helpbot
Belle, Beyond the Label helpbot, is an interactive platform for users to find mental health resources and services in a private and convenient manner. If you or anyone you know is overwhelmed with stress or anxiety, find the help you need via Belle.