How to Deal with Unwanted Emotions

Henna Geronimo
January 5, 2024

Do you often encounter unwanted emotions that seem to take control of your day? This is a common experience, affecting countless individuals. Despite this, there are effective strategies for managing difficult emotions.

In this blog, we'll discuss the importance of understanding and coping with negative feelings, while also highlighting the value of mental health in our daily lives.

Whether it's through self-help techniques or the support of Psychotherapy in Long Beach, our aim is to empower you with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate and overcome emotional challenges.

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Source: Roots Mental Wellness

Understanding Unwanted Emotions

Unwanted emotions can be described as feelings that are uncomfortable, distressing, and often intrusive. These emotions, which we might prefer to avoid, can include a wide range of experiences from mild discomfort to intense psychological distress.

Types of Unwanted Emotions


Anxiety is more than just feeling nervous or worried; it can manifest as an overwhelming sense of dread, a racing heart, and an inability to concentrate. It is the anticipation of future events that creates a sense of unease about things that may never happen. Anxiety can be generalized or specific, such as social anxiety or phobias.


Sadness is a natural emotional response to experiences of loss or disappointment. However, when prolonged or intense, it can disrupt daily functioning. It's essential to differentiate normal sadness from clinical depression, which requires professional intervention. Sadness, when not addressed, can sap energy, motivation, and the ability to find joy in life.


Anger ranges from mild irritation to intense rage. It can be a healthy, natural response to perceived injustices or frustrations. However, when uncontrolled, it can lead to aggression and negatively impact relationships and decision-making processes.


Guilt involves feelings of remorse or responsibility for a real or perceived wrongdoing. While it can be a guiding force for moral behavior, excessive or misplaced guilt can be debilitating, leading to feelings of worthlessness and despair.


Jealousy is a complex emotion often involving feelings of insecurity, fear, and concern over a lack of possession or safety of something valuable, particularly in personal relationships. It can lead to destructive thoughts and behaviors if not managed properly.


Shame is a deep sense of embarrassment and unworthiness stemming from one's actions, characteristics, or circumstances. It's often internalized and can lead to a negative self-image, impacting mental health significantly.

coping with negative feelings

The Importance of Addressing Unwanted Emotions

Ignoring unwanted emotions can lead to a buildup of psychological stress, negatively impacting mental health.

Studies have shown that unaddressed emotional challenges can contribute to long-term psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders. Suppressing emotions can increase stress levels, emphasizing the need for effective emotional management strategies.

By understanding these emotions and managing them effectively, individuals can improve their mental well-being and overall quality of life.

What’s the Source of these Unwanted Emotions?

Exploring Common Triggers

Unwanted emotions can be triggered by external factors, such as stressful life events, interpersonal conflicts, and environmental stressors. One example of this is the relationship between workplace stress and the increase in anxiety and depression reported among employees. External situations, including job demands and conflicts, can contribute to the onset of intense emotional responses.

Internally, factors such as negative self-talk, unresolved past traumas, or even chronic health issues can provoke these emotions. Our internal dialogue and memories significantly influence our emotional state, often acting as a lens through which we interpret external events.

Source: Roots Mental Wellness

External Factors vs. Internal Thoughts

As we’ve mentioned, external factors and internal thoughts can trigger unwanted emotions. While external events serve as the initial trigger, it's the internal thought processes that determine the intensity and duration of the emotional response.

Research in cognitive psychology suggests that individuals with pessimistic outlooks tend to experience more intense emotional responses to similar stressors compared to those with a more positive self-view.

Developing self-awareness is important in identifying and managing emotional triggers. It involves an understanding of how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected and influenced by both internal and external factors.

Techniques for Emotional Regulation

To keep your mind healthy and happy, it's important to know how to manage your emotions in different situations. Here are some techniques to consider:

Mindfulness and Meditation

These practices involve focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness can help in recognizing and distancing oneself from overwhelming emotions, reducing their intensity.

Cognitive Restructuring

This technique involves identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and replacing them with more balanced, realistic thoughts, thereby altering emotional responses.

Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

Deep breathing exercises and relaxation methods like progressive muscle relaxation can help in reducing physiological symptoms of stress and anxiety, aiding in emotional regulation.

Developing Healthy Coping Strategies

Healthy coping strategies are constructive and support long-term well-being, whereas unhealthy mechanisms may provide temporary relief but can be harmful in the long run. For example, substance abuse or avoidance behaviors are considered unhealthy, as they can exacerbate emotional issues.

Look at simple and helpful ways that can make a big difference in how you feel. Exercising, journaling, and talking to someone can help you stay happy and healthy.

Getting Professional Help

For intense or persistent unwanted emotions, professionals can help. Therapists and counselors offer strategies tailored to individual needs. Psychotherapy has been proven effective in helping individuals develop healthy coping mechanisms and emotional regulation skills.

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We've delved into the nature of unwanted emotions, from anxiety and sadness to anger and shame, and recognized their potential impact on our lives. We've seen how both external events and internal thoughts can trigger these emotions, emphasizing the need for self-awareness in identifying our emotional patterns. Most importantly, we've shared practical techniques for emotional regulation.

If you need help managing your emotions, Roots Mental Wellness is here to support and guide you. Together, let's work towards a future where you feel empowered to face emotional challenges with confidence and clarity.

Henna Geronimo
Contributing Writer