For Young People

Dealing with difficult emotions

Some days you might feel happy, calm, and contented, but there may be other times when your emotions feel more difficult to cope with. Some days you might feel lots of different emotions all at once, it can be confusing. Are you feeling any of the emotions below?

Click on an image to find out more.



In small doses, anger is an appropriate, normal, and healthy emotion and a natural response to perceived threats. Everyone experiences anger, and there is nothing wrong with feeling mad. It helps us stand up for ourselves when we’ve been wronged, and protect our own needs.

However,anger becomes a problem only when you don't manage it in a healthy way. It causes your body to release adrenaline, your muscles to tighten, and your heart rate and blood pressure to increase. There may be triggers to your anger such as: stress, trauma, bullying, abuse, low self-esteem or peer pressure.

How do I know my anger is a problem?

  • Too frequent
  • Too Intense
  • Lasts too long
  • Leads to aggression
  • Disrupts school and relationships

What can I do?

  • Exercise.
  • Listen to music (with your headphones on). 
  • Write down your thoughts and emotions.
  • Draw.
  • Meditate or practice deep breathing.
  • Talk about your feelings with someone you trust. 

For more help there is some great advice on the Young Minds website


Most of us can worry about things like friendships, relationships or moneyand we can all feel stressed and anxious when we are about to do certain things like a test or exam. But afterwards we usually calm down and feel better, this is normal.

But when you become overwhelmed and your anxious feelings don’t go away or when you’re not in a stressful situation and you still feel worried and stressed, that’s when anxiety can become a problem.
There are things you can do that can help manage how you are feeling

  • Why not write it all down? Keep an ‘emotions or feelings’ diary- write about how you feel.
  • Draw a picture that shows how you’re feeling! This is also something you can use to help explain to others what you are going through
  • Talk to someone you trust like a parent, teacher or friend. It can help to share your worries, and they can support you to find more help if you need it.

Follow these links to find out more:


Sometimes people have lots of feelings and emotions all at once, which can be really confusing. Try not to worry, many other young people also feel this way at times, and it will pass. When you are feeling like this, it might be hard to know what to do for the best. Sometimes, it's good to give your mind a rest from being confused or the mixture of emotions you might be feeling.

To do this, you could try 5,4,3,2,1 Grounding, which can make you feel calmer...
Find 5 things you can see.
Find 4 things you can touch.
Find 3 things you can hear.
Find 2 things you can smell.
Find 1 thing you can taste.

Here are some websites that could help:


Have you ever said or done something that you wish you hadn't? Or has something someone else has said or done made you feel silly or stupid? We all feel embarrassed sometimes - and it can be a hard feeling to shake off. Sometimes you might be able to make a joke about what was said or what happened. Other times, you might want to forget about it, and move on. But, if feeling embarrassed is making you unhappy, it is always worth talking to someone about how you are feeling.
Worrying about feeling embarrassed can stop us from asking for help or from talking about something we have done. Taking the first step to talk about it can be hard, but once you have shared an issue it nearly always feels lighter.

At SAFE! we talk about 'risking for a purpose' - sometimes you need to take a small risk to achieve the outcome that you need. For example, you might worry that you will feel embarrassed talking to your teacher about something that has happened, but you might not get the help that you need unless you take that risk.

For more information see!,there's%20nothing%20wrong%20with%20that.


When something bad has happened to us, or we feel that we have made a mistake, it can be normal to feel guilty. Feeling a sense of guilt can help us to make healthy decisions moving forward or correct any mistakes that we may have made. However, guilt canaffect our relationships, friendships and happiness. If you are feeling guilty for something that has happened to you, or for something that you have done, it is important to talk about it. It can be daunting to reach out to someone if you feel that you would get into trouble or be blamed. But speaking to a trusted adult or professional can help to relieve the burden. They can help you to understand that what has happened to you isn't your fault or help you to think of ways that you can correct a mistake.

Mindfulness can be useful in helping you to accept what you're feeling and start to forgive yourself. Get into a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Feel the air entering in through your nose, filling up your lungs and blowing out of your mouth. Repeat until your body is calm and relaxed.

Tip: Place your fingers gently on your ears to close off external sound.

For more information see


It's normal to feel irritated and annoyed at times, everybody does! When you're growing up it can sometimes feel like your family and teachers expect you to behave in a certain way, and do things that you don't want to do, and that can be annoying. Sometimes you might feel irritated and not really know why. The hormones in your body can affect your mood, making you feel irritable one minute and happy the next, which can be confusing. Some things can help you to manage your moods:

  • Write a diary, keeping a note of how you are feeling - it can be useful to read back.
  • Try to do something active like getting outside for a walk.
  • Try a calming breath exercise - focus on taking long slow breaths in and out.
  • Talk to a friend and share what is making you feel annoyed.

If you are feeling irritated a lot of the time it can affect your relationships with friends and family. If feeling irritated is leading to anger and aggressionthen it is worth seeking some extra help. Talk to an adult you trust about how you are feeling and ask for help.

For further information and advice about feeling irritated:

Play the mood boosting game


Most people feel lonely sometimes, whether they like spending time on their own or not. You don't have to be alone to feel lonely - sometimes you can feel lonely when you're with a big group of people. Feeling lonely can make you feel sad. For example, if you wish you had more friends to talk to or you would like to spend more time with those people you care about. Try to connect with someone you know:

  • Think about someone you trust - can you reach out to them to talk?
  • Write a letter, or draw a picture to send to someone. Just knowing that they will receive it can make you feel more connected.
  • Ask a family member or friend to join you in a shared activity like playing a game, cooking or going for a walk.

We know how hard it can be to talk about feeling lonely. But if this is making you feel unhappy it is important to talk to someone about how you feel. Talking about our feelings can be the first step to feeling better and finding ways to help change the situation.

Here are some links that you might find helpful...


There might be times when you feel nothing; like an emptiness or a kind of numbness. It can also lead to other emotions such as worry and feeling scared. You might think 'What's wrong with me?' and find it hard to understand why you are feeling this way. Feeling nothing is often linked to feeling sad or blue and you might have noticed this when you have felt down in the dumps or low. You might describe it in a different way like feeling 'meh.' It might be losing interest in the things you used to really enjoy like a hobby or sport. You might still be doing these things but your feelings feel dimmer, as if a dial has been turned down and your enthusiasm has decreased.

To try to turn the dimmer dial back up, you might start by using a mood tracker to try to recognize when this feeling occurs and how often You could also try doing some things that are important to you. Try to remember 'ACE' which stands for Achievement, Closeness and Enjoyment.

For some more helpful resources that you can use to start planning in ACE activities


Feeling sad is a natural human emotion. We can have feelings of sadness that come and go quite quickly and some that stay with us for longer. At times we can identify why we feel sad and other times we can find it hard to explain why we feel that way. People may also describe sadness as feeling unhappy, loneliness, hurt, emptiness, upset and many more.

  • Keep a diary of how you are feeling.
  • At the end of each day note down at least one thing you are grateful for.
  • Share how you are feeling with others.

If youfeel sad all or most of the time, it is important to get help. There are always people to speak to about how you are feeling whether that's at home, school or via organisations that want to help (we have listed some of these numbers below). There are also some websites that you can look at if you want to explore your feelings a bit more before speaking to someone.

For more information and help:
Feelings and symptoms (
Depression and feeling sad | Childline
Calm zone | Childline
For children and young people | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems
Home - Kooth


We all have the right to feel safe, all of the time. There might be times in our life when we do not feel safe and this can be very scary. Sometimes we might feel scared about something that shouldn't feel scary. It always helps to share your worries, but it can feel scary to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Try writing a list of things you would like to share.

Sometimes, we feel this way even when there is no immediate danger and other times, it is because we are at risk and need to take action to keep ourselves safe. If you feel scared or unsafe, it is very important to understand whether this means you are at risk of harm/being hurt. If you feel that you, or someone you know, is at a real risk of harm (physically or emotionally), you must take action.


Shock is an emotional response to a traumatic event which could leave you feeling numb and detached. Shock and denial are often used to protect ourselves from the emotional impact of the event. We don't always feel the full intensity right away. Some Longer-term symptoms of shock could be sleep disruption, low moods, flashbacks, anxiety, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.

Talking to a trusted adult could help you understand how to cope with your feelings, but you must give this process time. If after this, you feel there is no change speak to your GP about PTSD. PTSD is an abbreviation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a mental health condition that's triggered by a traumatic event. Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulties adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better.

Self-care activities don't have to be difficult or time-consuming - try to have a daily routine that includes time to relax, have fun and take care of yourself.

For tips and further information see

Play the childline mood-booster game

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - Causes - NHS (
Young Minds Crisis Messenger -


Everyone can feel stressed at times, particularly when challenging or unexpected events happen. A little stress can be helpful and spur us to take action e.g. stress about an exam can motivate us to revise. However, sometimes stress can feel unmanageable, overwhelming and negatively affect our health.
When we are overwhelmed it can make us 'shut down' and feel it is difficult to know where to start. Sometimes it can leave us feeling unable to do anything.
Give yourself a break! At times when you feel stressed or overwhelmed, the most important thing is to take care of yourself. Give yourself time and try to slow down your thoughts.
A few things you could try:

  • Take 5 deep breaths. Try using 'square breathing' to slow things down.


  • Make a list. Decide which few things are important right now and make a simple action plan of how you will complete them.
  • Talk to someone you trust. Sharing your feelings with someone else can help you make sense of them and they may be able to help you.

These websites provide activities to help you feel calmer and more advice on managing stress:

For more tips and advice for issues you might have experienced, see our safestories pages

You can get immediate help from Childline on their website ( or by calling 0800 1111

If you are in immediate danger or in an emergency, call the police on 999