How To Manage Stressful Emotions

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How To Manage Stressful Emotions

Stressful emotions can be categorised into 3 main groups:

  • Anger – lower intensity versions are irritation, frustration and annoyance
  • Fear – lower intensity versions are anxiety, nervousness, worried and panic
  • Shame – lower intensity versions are depression, melancholy and upset

These emotions are painful and challenging to deal with and may cause us to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms.

In this article, we will be addressing the root cause of these 3 stressful emotions through the lens of the Enneagram, and offer some practical solutions to cope.



Root cause: A lack of control

To deal with anger, we have to regain our control on things that we can and let go of those that we can’t. Here are some things you can do:

  1. Realize there’s a ton of things that are within our control; our diet, the amount of time we exercise, the kind of materials we read, the shows or movies we watch, our daily activities, how we spend our money, how kind we are to ourselves and others and a lot more.
  2. Moving our bodies is a perfect way to release our anger, plus it gives us endorphins.
  3. Talk with a friend, who can be your sounding board (not just a passive listener), to discuss about the cause of your anger.



Root Cause: Uncertainty

Fear is a natural human instinct that exists to keep us from harm. But life, as we know it, is full of uncertainties.

To combat fear, we have to create certainties in our lives by:

  1. Creating routines. Routines act as an anchor point which helps us feel safe and assure us that we are on the right track. Form a health routine by exercising couple of times a week, to an emotional or spiritual routine of journaling, and other physical routine like self-care regimen. Every little act of creating certainty helps create some comfort in us.
  2. Develop new skills. Change is the only constant thing in life, and creating a positive change voluntarily is definitely the way to go. Try to improve ourselves either by learning new skills or setting some personal development goals (and act on them) is a sure way to usher in positive growth to your life.
  3. Seek help. If you found yourself debilitated by your fears, its best to ask for guidance through coaching or mentoring.



Root Cause: Lack of significance

As humans, we need to feel that we matter and our existence has a purpose. The next time shame comes your way, consider doing the following:

  1. Practice Gratitude. List down 5-10 things that you are grateful for in a day. It could be a simple as the delicious meal that you have or your friends and family that always have your back. List all of them.
  2. Find ways to contribute. Maybe you can volunteer to cook for your family or lend a listening ear to a friend.
  3. Create a self-love regimen. Start by getting enough sleep every day. Save a time where you can focus on yourself and what you are feeling.

It’s normal to feel one of these stressful emotions from time to time. The good news is, it’s not impossible to overcome them. Try these tips and start seeing life from another perspective!


Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong is a sought after bilingual (English and Mandarin) Enneagram Personality Coach and Corporate Trainer in Asia, who can help you make sense of your professional and personal relationships. She is a member of International Coach Federation (ICF) and Singapore Psychological Society (SPS). Besides a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (majoring in Communications), she also has a Diploma in Business and has done in-depth research and studies in the areas of Organisational Behaviour and Gender Communications, both in Singapore and Taiwan. Through her expertise in corporate executive coaching, personal development, and relationship coaching, she has helped many professionals in their walk through challenging times, particularly in the areas of identity searching, relationship building and career breakthrough. Aside from being a published author of 2 books, she has also been invited by several radio stations and magazines as an expert guest speaker to provide insights into Enneagram, workplace conflicts and relationships.
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