Most times when we are going through a challenge, we forget who we are.  We forget how strong we are, that we may have experienced the same circumstance and guess what? We survived. In times of hardship it is important to just take a deep breath and remember those personal triumphs. We also tend to forget that there are other great things happening in our lives at that moment. We put all that at risk when we allow uncomfortable emotions to consume us. During a storm in your life, you will undoubtedly feel depressed, helpless, hopeless, etc.  Are these feelings normal to experience? Absolutely because we are human. As humans, most of us are blessed with five senses such as touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. We all feel emotion. There are comfortable emotions such as happiness, elation, hopefulness, confidence, etc. and uncomfortable emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, etc. One of the things that makes life so exciting is that we never know which of these we will experience next, but they are all necessary to survival. Therefore, it would stand to reason, we should be ready for both.

Here are two mild driving illustrations that could make your heart race instantly. Close your eyes for a minute, imagine that you have a very important meeting at 9am. You did everything you could to get ready and even left early to make it there on time. However, for some reason, you get stuck in a major traffic jam. Immediately, you become annoyed, concerned, your heart starts to race as you fill with panic. Think about this second scenario.  Imagine you are speeding to your next appointment and were stopped by a police officer and given a ticket. You instantly become sad, angry, disappointed, frustrated, etc. Have you ever considered that your minor irritation may have prevented something catastrophic from happening to you? Is it possible that your nuisance saved your life? 

Sometimes when we experience uncomfortable feelings that stem from an unexpected challenge, we may or may not see them coming. So, what steps can individuals implement in order to keep their mood stable despite this? 

Below are three effective steps to deal with challenging situations and uncomfortable emotions:

1.Remember that they are inevitable, normal, temporary, but must be accepted. Own them.  You’re allowed to have meltdowns, cry it out, etc. But don’t unpack and live there. The more you try and push them away the less in control you will feel as evidenced by more anxiety and depressive symptoms. In addition, you cannot move forward without accepting your surroundings for exactly what they are.

2. Do everything you can to feel relaxed or calm. Refocus and reminisce on the times you felt you would not survive yet did. Also, count the positives that are happening in your life at that very moment.

3. Develop a course of action in order to resolve the situation so you can feel whole again. 

Wait! so, why do some individuals have so much difficulty accepting uncomfortable feelings? Is it possible that they believe they are there solely to cause pain; or possibly that they are inappropriate to have? Lashing out is an appropriate response to feeling slighted in some way but have we been slighted by the universe? By trying to mask or deny our discomfort, we fall prey to giving up out of frustration. We are human. It shows great emotional maturity to accept uncomfortable feelings in order to integrate them into our whole being. More so, dwelling on the negativity prevents us from being the best version of ourselves. I have listed the top 4 reasons to work toward this shift today:It helps you view life, in general, from a constructive or offensive point of view rather than a defensive or destructive point of view. You are more likely to act instead of re-act to uncomfortable feelings which increases your ability to quickly diffuse them.

1.It helps you think, or process things more clearly and enables you to reminisce on positive experiences rather than wasting your energy on the negative, which is top priority when trying to keep your mood stable. 

2. It could possibly reduce your psychotropic medication dependence. (Consult your physician) 

3. You will feel more empowered and energized to move to the next level through challenging emotions and gaining control of them.