We often view negative emotions as things that happen to us. However, emotions are phenomena that we create. Emotions can have an external trigger, but there are things you have to do in order to experience and maintain a full-blown emotion. Emotions aren’t an external condition that has to be endured.
In fact, your negative emotions can be incredibly useful if you know how to use them effectively. Your negative emotions can save you from a lot of grief and provide an opportunity to make your life even better.
Use these strategies to allow your negative emotions to serve you:
- Recognize that negative emotions are a sign. A negative emotion is simply a part of your brain telling you that it thinks something is wrong. Fear is just a message that there might be danger. Anger suggests that someone may have violated your expectations or values.
– View negative emotions as a message that needs your attention.
- Identify the emotion. Name your emotion. What exactly are you feeling? Are you scared, anxious, furious, sad? It’s easier to work with a negative emotion if you name it first.
- Identify the reason for the negative emotion. What is causing you to feel this way? Did someone lie to you? Do you have more bills than you can pay? Is your life not what you expected it to be? Did your partner leave you?
– When you know the cause of a negative emotion, you can begin to figure out how to handle it.
- Determine what, if anything, you can do about the situation. Some situations are beyond your control, and there’s little you can do. In these situations, there’s no value in feeling a negative emotion or worrying about what to do next.
– If you can determine that there’s something you can do to make the situation better, your negative emotion has served its purpose.
- Focus on solutions. Turn your attention to finding a possible solution to your situation. If you don’t have enough money, you might look for a higher-paying job, find a second job, or cut your spending. Avoid dwelling on your anxiety and focus on the solution.
– Have a solution for the current situation and the future. Dealing with the current situation is one thing. Actively preventing the same situation from occurring is what highly successful people do.
- Make a plan. Make a detailed plan to address the cause of your negative emotion. Following the plan is critical.
– Many people are great at making plans, but poor at executing them. You don’t want to be one of those people. Make a plan and follow it.
– You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish if you make an effort to do something as well as you can over time.
- Let go of the negative emotion. If a negative emotion is just a message, there’s no reason to hold onto it after you’ve received the message. Just relax and let it go. Whether you can improve the situation or not, the negative emotion is no longer of value. Just move on.
Negative emotions can certainly be unpleasant and even overwhelming at times. What is important is to recognize that a negative emotion is just a message to pay attention. Determine what that message is and react appropriately.
Strong emotions limit your ability to make good choices. Once you’ve received the message, release the emotion and put your solution into place.
Your negative emotions can serve you. Use an intelligent decision-making process when choosing a course of action.