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Emotional Acceptance: 3 Steps to Accepting Your Emotions

Emotional Acceptance: 3 Steps to Accepting Your Emotions

It’s important to learn to embrace and surf painful emotions. When we...

It’s important to learn to embrace and surf painful emotions. When we understand how to cope with negative emotions, we become more empowered, confident, and trusting of ourselves. Begin managing and accepting your feelings with these three steps.

Step 1: Mindfulness and Emotional Curiosity 

The first step in managing your emotions is practicing mindfulness and exploring your emotional curiosity. Become more aware of your emotional state and how it connects to your thoughts and behaviors. 

When you pause to accept that an emotion is present, you can begin to put a label on it. Does the negative emotion feel like anger, or is it fear? How does it make your body feel, and what are you thinking? Being mindful of your feelings and how they connect to your mental and physical state allows you to potentially shift your focus onto something more positive the next time similar feelings emerge.

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Step 2: Emotion Surfing 

Emotions ebb and flow like waves, gradually intensifying before subsiding. The more we sit and accept the discomfort that accompanies negative emotions, the less influence those feelings have over our behavior. 

When we stay present throughout the wave of emotion, we learn to process what it is we’re feeling. Surfing the emotion, as opposed to ignoring or avoiding it, allows us to open a path for discovering what we need or how to make changes.  

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Step 3: Practicing Self-Compassion 

Be kind to yourself. Take part in healthy activities you enjoy, like walking, drawing, or listening to music. Utilize your network of resources to find a peer or a group that can help you process and endure the emotions you’re feeling. 

Accepting painful emotions comes from practicing mindfulness, emotional curiosity, self-compassion, and surfing. These emotional wellness skills create a safety net that allows us to experience our feelings in a more healthy, confident way.

This article has been medically reviewed by
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Nurse Practitioner

Erin is a Nurse Practitioner with 8 years of experience in midwifery and women's health. She has spent the past 5 years specializing in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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