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:
Here’s a web-friendly version of these tips:
Step 1: Pause.
Instead of acting on feelings right away, 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 you’re feeling, it’s okay to feel that way.
Step 3: Think.
Now that you’ve 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 on what you came up with in the “Think” step.
Content adapted from Red Flags: “Harmful Coping Responses” and “Coping Responses”.