Your feelings are important and should be acknowledged. But are they always the most reliable guide for how you should react? Most likely not. Try these steps to guide yourself to a more positive reaction rather than letting your feelings run the show.


  • Think about the types of feelings that you might encounter during a stressful situation. Use our Feelings List to help get you started.
  • While you are calm, make a plan for how to react. Your natural reaction may cause you to respond in a not-so-helpful way to a situation. Think about doing the opposite for a better result. Use our Feelings Plan​​ to think through/write out your plan.
  • Practice. Imagine or role play what this would look like.


  • When you feel a strong emotion growing, take a moment and reflect on the plan you made.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Follow through with your plan of using the new way/opposite reaction.


  • Re-evaluate. Determine what worked and what didn't work. Did you feel better?  Did the situation get better or worse?
  • Adjust your plan if needed.

Bonus Step:

  • Journal the feelings that you had and how you reacted. Think about what you learned about yourself and others in this the situation.