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The Opposite Action Technique

Most people have had a difficult time in the last few years and I’m sure that many have experienced a flood of emotions of various intensity throughout this time.

Have you felt that these feelings ever get the better of you and felt powerless to do anything about them?

Every emotion that you experience drives you to behave in certain ways and often, we use negative coping methods to avoid uncomfortable feelings.

When you are afraid, you may avoid the situation and, strike out when you get angry. You may retreat when sad or avoid people when we are ashamed or guilty.

But have you ever considered reacting to your emotions in the opposite way you usually do?

That is, trying to behave in exactly the opposite way of what your emotions are directing you to do.

For example-

Angry or Frustrated: When feeling this way, walk away from the situation or the person and take time to understand what caused you to feel the anger. You may discover that the part of you that reacted needs to be understood and worked with.

Fear: If you are scared, find the source of your fear, and face it head on. By doing so, you may realize that you have a lot more courage and will build up your resilience to other situations that may frighten you.

Sadness: If you're sad, sit with the emotion and experience it. Do not avoid it and keep it to yourself. Talk to someone you trust who can help you.

When the intensity of your emotions do not match the circumstance, remember that opposing action works best.

Start by identifying your feeling and the usual behavior that goes with it.

Then, look at whether your reaction is appropriate to the situation. If it is not, then identify the opposing action and perform it completely.

Keep doing so until the feeling subsides.

Move on to more challenging feelings once you've mastered this method so you can better manage with your emotions!

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