There are many negative emotions: hate, fear, worry, anger, and sadness, just to name a few. What should you do with these emotions? You might feel like never leaving the house again or taking a golf club to your partner’s SUV. Obviously, some responses are more appropriate than others.
You probably weren’t given a lot of insight on how to how to handle negative emotions effectively. But the information is likely to be more useful to you than the analytic geometry you were taught in high school.
Learn more about negative emotions and what you can do about them:
1. Recognize that negative emotions are just a warning sign. But, sometimes it’s just a false alarm. When you have a negative emotion, that should be a signal to assess what’s happening. Are you in danger? Is someone mistreating you? Are you angry? Why? Determine the actual emotion and the cause.
◦ Many negative emotions are false alarms. It’s important to put your attention on the situation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any action has to be taken.
◦ If you have a chronic negative emotion, such as sadness, it’s time to do something about it. That might include professional help. There’s no reason to just ignore it.
2. Is the emotion driven by fear? There are different causes for fear. There’s the “I might fall to my death” type of fear. There’s also the, “What if the pretty lady rejects my offer for a date” type of fear. One is definitely worth paying attention to. The other is best ignored.
◦ Most of us allow the wrong type of fear to drive our decisions. A little courage can go a long way. A little discomfort is necessary to grow and progress. Running away from that type of discomfort is very limiting.
3. What are the consequences? Consider the cause of your negative emotion and the consequences of your potential responses.
◦ Science is quite clear on the fact that our ability to think and make decisions is degraded by strong emotions. It’s easy to make a poor choice that can cause you a lot of grief. Choose carefully.
4. Use your logic to make a final determination. Do your best to be logical in your response to negative emotions. It can be a good way to override the tendency to respond emotionally and instinctively. You have a lot of wisdom deep inside of you. Use it to your advantage.
5. De-stress if appropriate. If you’re feeling stressed, take steps to de-stress. Most people are too passive when faced with stress. There’s a lot you can do to relax. Listen to peaceful music, watch a good movie, call a friend, get a massage, take a nap, or go for a walk. Take control and de-stress yourself.
6. Take time to respond, if appropriate. If you can wait to make a decision about how to respond, do it. Once you’ve had a chance to think and have calmed down, then you’re in a better position to make a wise choice.
◦ A lot of the challenges in your past could have been avoided by waiting a few minutes, hours, or days to make a decision.
Negative emotions are a benefit if used properly. They can save your life. They can force you to make positive changes to your life.
They can also be a source of great discomfort. Whaty can drive you to do and say things you shouldn’t.
When faced with negative emotions, stay calm and assess the situation. Use your intellect to make a wise decision. Negative emotions can be your friends.