Someone asked me on ask.fm recently: "How do you deal with negative emotions?"
I figured I may as well share it here since it's actually a question that I get asked more frequently than others.
The better stuff I do to deal with bleh
- I try to figure out the source of the problem and tackle it head-on so it doesn't fester and become worse. Always break problems down into smaller steps and solve them step by step in order to prevent getting overwhelmed. If it's not something I can address or fix, or if it's something I have to wait to fix, then...
- I microwave cookie dough and eat that with some milk. Sugars and fats stimulate an area of the brain that produces reward chemicals.
- Same with hugs. I go beg for hugs from my husband because hugs help release oxytocin, and that's a healthier alternative to eating cookies.
- I go work out. 30 to 60 minutes of cardio will make me tired enough to not feel so horrible, or rather, I'm too busy feeling physically horrible to feel emotionally horrible. And it helps regulate neurochemicals by stimulating circulation and changing the active regions of the brain.
- I play difficult puzzle games. If I'm thinking about a hard puzzle, I'm not feeling anything negative.
- I work on game design projects in google spreadsheets to occupy my brain
- I compose music
- I do really boring but useful studies in order to improve my skillsets -- basically if you're feeling emotionally gross anyway and it's not getting better, you may as well do other things that feel kinda gross too and get them over with at the same time
- I watch this video on repeat:
- I help other people with their problems so I don't have to think about my own (lol)
- I stress-cook/stress-bake, then stress-feed my husband my stress-food
- I talk to someone about the feelings (but don't impose on them, if I can)
- I mend clothes.
- I shop around on amazon and send a random item to someone that I know (yes, I stress-shop and buy stuff I don't need for other people; my friends are getting used to this)
- I open freebies (not anymore but I used to; I can't afford to overwork my arm now)
- I clean. CLEAN EVERYTHING. New atmosphere. More negative space. Minimalism can often give you a sense of mental freedom.
- I start a new arts and crafts project
- I find strangers and try to convince them that their existence is objectively beneficial to others, then thank them for existing, cause it's funny to watch their reactions
- I tell my friends that I appreciate them and give them three facts which support my claims
- I make rice porridge, top it with bonito flakes and pork floss and kewpie mayo and eat it while crying cause it tastes so unhealthily good
- I throw all my cat plushies on the ground and flop on them to feel the goodness of 40+ cat plushies
- I take a walk in an unfamiliar place and explore it
- I tell Kanekiru puns
- I bother sae-midori if it gets really really bad and we engage in sensible, faith-in-humanity-restored discourse.
- I ask for help from people with lots of life experience
- I find a bakery and go in to smell the goods.
- I ask people on my social media to share something interesting or nice that happened to them that day.
- If everything fails, I go out and jog until I'm so exhausted that I can't run anymore, then drag myself home, shower, and pass out. Usually sleep will help reset mood a little.
The not so great stuff I do/did to deal with bleh (I advise against these)
- Cut myself out of existence/cut away 95% of my friends -- yeah, I tend to do this, because when I become stressed to the point of being irrational, I lose the remainder of my self-esteem. Dealing with irrationality is one of the things I dislike the most in life, so when I become someone that I consider irrational, I ghost as many people as I can bring myself to and desperately hope they can forget I existed. I wouldn't want to deal with someone as irrational as me, so why should I subject other people to that? Not a great habit though, cause I end up getting really lonely after I calm down.
- Sleep for days -- When my depression and anxiety gets really bad, I develop hypersomnia. I have slept 18 hours a day regularly before in the most stressed period of time in my life. I don't know how I got my schoolwork done sometimes but I did.
- Eat too much - JUNK FOOOOOD
- Don't eat at all - at least drink water, please?
- Pretend I'm a robot -- This one's a bit weird. When I was little, in order to meet my parents' expectations, I tried to become the most perfect thing I could envision -- a programmed AI. That way if I did something incorrectly, it wouldn't be because I was wrong. It's just how I was programmed. But living in that way, I couldn't afford to make the same mistake twice (a perfect AI would learn after making only one mistake). I couldn't truly comprehend non-objective information (emotions, opinions). If I made a mistake more than the margin of error I allowed myself, I fell into deep anxiety and borderline insanity... but it was really relieving to me, to trick myself into believing that I could 'format' my data, even my personality, and refresh from the beginning. In reality it was just me putting up a set of memory blocks that make me forget whenever I try to access certain information. It was probably the only way I knew how to forgive myself for making mistakes. So that was what I did. I'm still sometimes tempted to do this but my current living situation is very supportive and I haven't had the need to do a 'hard reset' in a long time. I'm still recovering from the effects of doing this repeatedly in my childhood.
- Call my mother -- in my case, calling my mom (or my dad) when I'm feeling emotionally bleh is almost always a horrible idea. Her solution to all problems is "don't fight back" and "be passive" and "don't let anyone know you feel mentally ill or you'll never get a job in the future." She can't help it since her culture is so deeply engrained in her, so I don't fault her... but I would say, figure out who those sorts of people are in your life and don't talk to them when you don't feel good, especially if they're the only person left you can talk to. Sometimes instead of pulling you back from the edge, they'll just accidentally knock you off of it.
- Rant on public twitter -- I highly suggest using a private twitter to do that on. XD; Some people will consider you admirable for sharing. Other people might just think it's unprofessional and inconsiderate. Best to err on the side of safety. You never need unsay what hasn't been said, or so they say.
I hope this is useful for some of you out there dealing with incredible stress. And if you have intentions to commit self-harm or violence, please reach out to a professional. Good luck out there!