What are mixed feelings and how can we manage them?

Mixed emotions are a real phenomenon that affects millions of people. We tell you what they are and how to manage them.

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz on December 04, 2021.

Last update: 04 December, 2021

Emotions and feelings are much more complex experiences than we think. Although we believe that we have a control over them, they can actually overwhelm us or manifest in a way that is surprising to us. Such is the case with mixed feelings, an ambivalent idea that is often misinterpreted by people.

Indeed, the term mixed feelings It is often used to refer to a state in which two or more feelings conflict. The problem is that it is not always used in the correct context, since as you might expect this type of manifestation is more complex than anyone could imagine. Today we explain its characteristics and how to manage it.

Characteristics of mixed feelings

The first thing we have to emphasize is that experts endorse mixed feelings as a real phenomenon. This idea refers to two different feelings or emotions that a person develops in the same situation. It is also known as mixed emotions or mixed feelings and their particularity is that they are opposites (for example, happiness and sadness) and develop in parallel.

As studies indicate, mixed feelings are conditioned by many variables. Age, culture and context are the most important. For all this, we cannot classify mixed emotions as a single phenomenon. Given the variety of conditions, each person develops or manifests them in a different way.

The term is often used found emotions to allude to two opinions or two ideas that one has about something. This usage is wrong, as researchers agree that mixed feelings are different than emotional conflict.. They have nothing to do with hesitation, doubt or uncertainty regarding what a certain experience generates for you.

On the contrary, it is a real, tangible and clearly uncontrollable experience. The two feelings (or more, even) overlap at the same time, they do not do so in sequence (that is, first one and then the other). As is to be expected, this has great repercussions on the person, since it leads them to experience internal conflicts, insecurity, anxiety and more.

6 tips to manage mixed feelings

Now that you have a general idea of ​​what mixed feelings are, it is time for you to learn some tricks to control them. You already know that it is a natural experience, which varies according to your age, your culture and the context that led to its appearance.

Indeed, it is more difficult for a child or adolescent to deal with them than an adult. In turn, cultural beliefs can lead to their complete suppression. It is not the same that you develop them in the face of an inconsequential situation than one that directly affects you or someone around you. We leave you with 6 tips to manage mixed feelings.

1. Rationally rate your trigger

Doing an introspection exercise to think about the causes of mixed feelings is essential to manage them.

One of the most common beliefs among people is that emotions are irrational. These, like feelings, are children of reason; so that through reason you can come to understand them and then regulate them.

In this sense, the first thing you should do is rationally assess what has led you to experience mixed feelings. Analyze the context objectively, so that you can perceive if the response you are having towards him is rational or irrational.

For example, you may have overreacted to a news story. There is nothing wrong with having experienced this reaction, but there is nothing wrong with not thinking about it and refusing to acknowledge this mistake. When you are faced with what is causing you this ambivalence of emotions, you will be able to regulate them better.

2. Identify the consequences of these emotions

You have already objectively assessed what has caused you to have mixed emotions. The next step is to assess the consequences that they are generating in you and in others. For example, the opposition of emotions may generate stress, anxiety, tension, panic attacks, insecurities and so on.

Similarly, you may externalize these feelings through words or actions; which will also have an impact on those around you. When you put the whole picture together, you will have a greater incentive to manage them, since you know that they are not doing you anything good for your life and that of those you appreciate.

3. Practice breathing exercises

Breathing exercises are a great technique for managing mixed feelings. There is scientific evidence that breathing is helpful in mediating the response to emotional changes. Therefore, you cannot stop appealing for her when you develop mixed feelings.

Certainly it can be a bit tricky to take a break and do breathing exercises in the middle of the episode. However, you can do it when you think they are coming (some people can anticipate it) or when a few minutes have passed since they have manifested. In any case, knowing that it is an effective technique contributes to your wanting to use it.

4. Consider practicing yoga or meditation

It never hurts to bring a bit of tranquility into our life. Doing yoga or meditating may help you think more clearly when there are mixed feelings.

There is evidence that yoga and meditation have positive effects on emotional regulation. Its benefits are felt within a few weeks, and they are practices that you can develop in your own home. Indeed, you only need basic knowledge to start doing yoga and meditation, not to mention that in no case do they require a lot of space or specialized equipment.

5. Keep a journal in which you express what you feel

We repeat again that mixed feelings are a natural experience. In order to appreciate them from a different perspective, you can choose to write what you feel as they manifest.

This is an exercise that allows you to drain them without having a negative impact on you or others. In addition, you can access them when you want to value them in the future.

6. Talk openly about your feelings

This is one of the tips to control mixed feelings that is very useful when you develop them towards a person. For example, towards a family member, a friend or your partner. Talking openly about what the ambivalence of your emotions is like will help you unload, and the perspective of the other person will help you to bet on one of the emotions in contrast to the other.

In the event that the experience of conflicting emotions is very frequent in your life, that you cannot cope with it or that they are conditioning your day to day it is always advisable to seek help from a professional. A therapist can be of great help to better manage them, find their trigger, and help you regain control of your feelings.

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