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how accepting emotions can improve emotional health

Often, when we have an uncomfortable feeling, such as sadness, fear or shame, our first reaction is to reject that feeling.

We may tell ourselves that the feeling is a bad feeling that we do not want to have. Then we may do something to try to get rid of the feeling, such as trying to push it away or using drugs or alcohol to feel better.

Certainly, no one wants to walk around feeling emotional pain all the time, but when we reject our emotions, we may actually make things worse for ourselves. Often emotions arise because they give us helpful information about the world, so sometimes getting rid of or pushing away emotions is not the best idea.

An alternative to pushing away or stifling your emotions is learning to accept your emotional experiences. Accepting means that you practice allowing your emotions to be what they are without judging them or trying to change them. Acceptance means letting go of attempts to control your emotions and learning that emotions themselves cannot harm you, although the things you do to try to get rid of emotions, such as abusing alcohol, can harm you.