Riding Out Intense Emotions


Helpful Things To Do

Helpful Things To Do

Sometimes, our emotions can be overwhelming and lead to unproductive or unhealthy ways of coping. But there are strategies that can help us “ride out” or “dial down” these difficult emotions in a healthy way.

Here are some strategies that may help you express or cope better with difficult emotions.

  • Call a friend or someone you trust.
  • Take a warm bath or shower.
  • Play or cuddle with a pet.
  • Make a list of things that make you happy.
  • Think of all the people who love you.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Play a video game.
  • Blast upbeat music and dance.
  • Do something nice for someone else.
  • Count down mindfully from 10 to 1.
  • Focus on your present experience: notice things you can see, touch, hear, smell, or taste.
  • Try some relaxation/“chill out” strategies
  • Run, walk, swim or do some other vigorous exercise.
  • Hold some ice in your hand, or splash really cold water on your face. Focus on the intense cold sensation.
  • Play a sport (e.g., basketball, tennis, skateboarding).
  • Clean your room or re-organize a drawer.
  • Go outside in nature.
  • Watch a sad movie and cry.
  • Watch a really funny video and laugh.
  • Remember a favourite day, vacation, or memory. Imagine being back there.
  • Eat a favourite snack slowly and mindfully.
  • Look at some of your favourite pictures.
  • Play an instrument.
  • Light a candle.
  • Put on our favourite perfume, cologne, or lotion.
  • Curl up to a cup of tea.
  • Put on comfy clothes.
  • Do something that brings on the opposite emotion (e.g., feeling sad then watch funny YouTube videos).

Try experimenting with some of the strategies above to see which ones help you cope better with difficult emotions.

Learning to ride out intense or difficult emotions takes time. Be prepared to keep practicing these strategies so they become more effective over time. And reach out for help (a trusted adult or counsellor) if your find that you’re still struggling to deal with your emotions.

For more ideas or help on riding out intense emotions, check out the MindShift app.