Negative emotions like fear, sadness and anger are a basic part of life and sometimes we struggle with how to deal with them effectively. It can be tempting to act on what you’re feeling right away, but that often doesn’t fix the situation that caused the emotions. In fact, it may lead to more problems to deal with down the road. The good news is that with practice, everyone can do a better job of dealing with their negative emotions in healthy ways. One way to deal with uncomfortable or unpleasant emotions is to remember the word PATH. PATH stands for:
Step 1: Pause
This step is important because instead of acting on feelings right away, you stop yourself and think things through. Count to 100 or say the alphabet backwards.
Step 2: Acknowledge What You’re Feeling
For example, are you mad at someone, or are you sad because your feelings were hurt by what they did? Whatever it is that you are feeling, it is ok to feel that way.
Step 3: Think
Now that you have taken a few moments to figure out what exactly it is that you are feeling, think about how you can make yourself feel better.
Step 4: Help
Take an action to help yourself based upon what you came up with in the “Think” step.