Emotions are complicated, and can get in the way of your overall wellbeing. Sometimes we experience that are so strong that they deeply affect our relationships, goals, self-image, spirituality, work performance, and overall mental health. 

With this technique, Opposite Action, we learn to flip our overwhelming emotion into something that bring about our most favourable and desirable outcome. 

The idea behind it is that when we feel an emotion, a behaviour usually comes with it. For example, if we’re feeling low, we’ll hide under the covers. If we’re angry, we’ll fight and argue. 

That’s our body making us react to emotions in certain ways. 

Doing the opposite action will help change that emotion. Instead of fighting, talk calmly and politely. Instead of hiding under the covers, go for a walk or call a friend.

The way it should work is the following:

  1. Identify the feeling. e.g., feeling low
  2. Identify the associated action. e.g., hiding under the covers/isolating ourselves
  3. Apply the opposite action. e.g., going for a walk/calling a friend
  4. Feel the opposite feeling. e.g., feeling better, more positive

Adapted from: https://www.psychpoint.com/mental-health/documents/emotion-regulation-skills-opposite-action.pdf

Did this answer your question?