Acting opposite. A key skill in managing emotion. Each emotion induces an urge. For example, sadness can induce the urge to put on sad music, hide away from friends and curl up on your bed. Sometimes this may be what you need. If something has just happened and there is sadness to be worked through. However, if you are feeling stuck in a cycle of depression or anxiety and have been acting out this pattern for a month, then it’s time to act opposite to the urge. Most people, most of the time, will experience an urge and act on it immediately.
Observing emotional experience and urges through mindfulness opens up a window of opportunity in which we can choose – go with the urge, or act opposite to it. In this case, acting opposite may be switching the music to something uplifting, dancing round the room a little and calling a friend for support. This skill is not easy to do consistently, but with practice can make an important shift in your confidence to manage emotions when they are triggered. We don’t need to fear emotion when we have a response plan.