5 Steps to Calm Strong Negative Emotions of Mental Illness

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Strong negative emotions can be a part of mental illness. Use these steps to center yourself and stop your intense emotions from controlling you.

5 Steps to Calm Strong Negative Emotions of Mental Illness

Everyone has emotions. Feelings are part of being human. However, mental illness can intensify ordinary human emotions so much that they can become overwhelming. They can be positive, but it’s more common for emotions to be negative in mental illness. They tend to stick, too, lingering longer in the minds and hearts of people with mental illness. Use these steps to center yourself and stop your intense emotions from controlling you.

  • Recognize. Notice when you are beginning to feel upset. Awareness lets you turn things around.
  • Pause. Stop for a moment, stepping away from a situation briefly. Breathe deeply for several breaths. This calms the brain and lets you reset.
  • Acknowledge and accept. Name what you’re feeling, and recognize it as valid. Remind yourself that emotions are fleeting when you neither cling to them nor fight against them.
  • Be present. If you stepped away, return more centered. It’s okay if you still feel angry, sad, or any other emotion. Focus on where you are, what you’re doing, and who you’re with rather than on emotions.

When you follow these steps, your emotions won’t instantly disappear. However, you will become calmer, and your emotions will just tag along for awhile rather than pulling you forcefully in their direction.

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Mental Health Quote

"It’s better to break your own heart by leaving, rather than having that person break your heart every day you’re with them."

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2019, December 16). 5 Steps to Calm Strong Negative Emotions of Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 20 from

Last Updated: November 16, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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