How to deal with emotions | Education Support
Coronavirus update: We continue to be here to provide mental health and wellbeing support to all education staff.

How to deal with emotions

If you feel the following common difficult emotions that can make you feel overwhelmed, here are some things that can help

Emotions Impact How to help
​Rejection When we experience a relationship break up or we do not get a job we wanted or we get negative feedback from a parent we can feel rejected. Rejection makes us leap from the thing that has happened to feeling like a complete failure over all Separate the event from jumping to an overall conclusion about your worth. Write down how you are feeling and whether this is accurate e.g. does this really mean you will never get a job or no one will ever love you.  Share it with a friend to get perspective.
Shame or embarrassment This is an awful feeling that makes us think that there is something terribly wrong with us overall. Shame and embarrassment mushroom in secret, when we keep it to ourselves so sharing how we feel is often like opening the window to get in fresh air

Separate the behaviour e.g. I forgot someone’s name or I made a mistake, from an overall character assassination of yourself.  Share it with a friend to get perspective.


Loneliness Loneliness is not about whether we are alone or not; you can feel alone in a crowded room.  It is the things we tell ourselves that cause this difficult feeling e.g. I am all alone which means no one cares and that is because of some fault of mine. On an evolutionary level when we were alone or outside of the group it often meant we could not survive and this probably accounts for why it feels so awful. Break the pattern and find someone to talk to. Separate how you feel from your overall feelings about yourself. Work out what you need to feel connected to people whether it is with friends, families, groups or activities. Make a list of your best qualities and what you have to offer to others.
Loss When we lose people, it can feel like a part of us dies too. This process is hard to navigate alone and unless it is dealt with in therapy or other such ways it will leave deep scars where other endings or losses will bring it all up again. Be kind to yourself and know that it is a process you have to go through.  Get help when you are ready and do not go through it alone. Do things that are life affirming and make you feel there is hope. (see Dealing with bereavement)


Questions you can ask to understand more about your emotions

  • How am I feeling physically and emotionally?
  • Do my physical or emotional responses show signs of flight, fight or freeze (e.g. am I producing cortisol and adrenaline).  If so ask what am I telling myself which feels life threatening that is equivalent to there being a tiger in the room?
  • What can I tell myself to counter the life threatening feelings and thoughts? (e.g. I have lots of work on but it is okay, it is not catastrophic, it makes no sense for me to produce adrenaline and cortisol.  What I can do is talk it through with my boss or a friend and plan what I can do and what to do about the things I cannot).
  • Who would be best to talk this through with?
  • What can I do that will help or support me that does not have a negative impact?
  • Do I need to sleep, eat or exercise to see if I can change my emotional state?  

What can you do if you are feeling overwhelmed:

Ask yourself: