Psychosocial Health

Emotions in Adolescents

Emotions such as happiness, anger and sadness often occur in our daily lives. Emotional reactions are particularly common in adolescents who are undergoing rapid physical, psychological and social development. If adolescents can express and handle their emotions well, their psychological health and interpersonal relationships will be enhanced.

How much do you know about emotions?

Emotions are subjective human feelings which dictate mood. They are driving forces for human behaviours.

Positive emotions Negative emotions
  • happiness
  • satisfaction
  • appreciation
  • gratitude
  • concern
  • expectation
  • surprise
  • admiration
  • anger
  • bitterness
  • dissatisfaction
  • sadness
  • anxiety
  • fear
  • shame
  • guilt
  • jealous

People with positive emotions are optimistic, energetic, ready to help others and able to cope with stress. On the other hand, negative emotions will make people unhappy, depressed, discouraged, withdrawn and indignant.

Three Steps in Managing Emotions

  1. Be aware of your emotions

    • Identify your emotions accurately
    • Understand the triggers
    • Be sensitive to others' feelings
  2. Express your emotions appropriately

    • Express positive emotions can make life more enriching and meaningful; also make interpersonal relationships more successful and harmonious
    • Don’t suppress emotions. Express negative emotions calmly and sensibly so as to avoid hurting yourself, other people or things
  3. Handle your emotions effectively

    a) Manage your anger

    • Stay away from the sources that stir up your emotion
    • Do pleasurable and relaxation activities, e.g. listening to music, doing aerobic exercises
    • Be optimistic and humorous
    b) Minimize sadness
    • Understand the reason for sadness, face the problems bravely
    • Avoid ruminating on our failure
    • Keep in contact and get support from parents, teachers, friends and schoolmates
    c) Relieve anxiety and fear
    • Be psychologically prepared for puberty
    • Join social activities to reduce fear of unfamiliar places
    • Well prepare for examinations or competitions
    • Do relaxation and deep breathing exercises in anxiety-provoking situations
    d) Get rid of shame
    • Learn to accept your limitations
    • Appreciate your efforts made
    • Learn from failure. Rebuild self-confidence and self-esteem
    e) Free yourself from guilt
    • Don't overreact to your failure or mistakes
    • Find out the reasons for failure to avoid repeating mistakes
    • Avoid regretting past events repeatedly. Be courageous and ready to face new challenges


Emotional reactions are common. By knowing the effective ways of expressing your positive emotions as well as handling the negative ones, you will not hurt yourself or those around you.

(Revised in June 2022)

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