Before we start, let us define what we mean by negative emotions, what emotions/feelings this article can help you deal with successfully?
Of course negative emotions are the emotions that you don’t enjoy, the feelings that can make your life miserable, but we need to be more specific in order to solve this problem.
Bad emotions that you and I feel include:
Sure there might be more, but these are the most popular.
Lack of knowledge about how to deal with these emotions can result in A) Unhealthy methods used to deal with these emotions (a.k.a. addictions). B) Numbing and suppressing those emotions, they never go away. C) Reaching a point where you just explode. D) Instead of dealing with a little monster, you’ll deal with a huge dragon when you explode. E) Going back to those unhealthy methods to numb the pain.
As you can see it’s a cycle, a cycle that will make your life miserable, and if you don’t take the initiative to break it, you’ll always be a slave for your emotions.
We’re going to explore this cycle in details, showing you how to break it and how to deal probably with your negative emotions.
Before we do that, we must first understand few things about the nature of those emotions, we need to learn something or two about our negative emotions.
Why Negative Emotions Are There In The First Place?
They don’t just show up out of nowhere, your brain isn’t interested in making your life miserable, so why do we feel these bad emotions anyway?
Simply each negative emotion is nothing but a message. Emotions are the language that your subconscious mind uses to talk to you.
Negative emotions are here to tell you that there’s something wrong, something must be dealt with and something that’s causing you pain, or better: they’re there to push you to action.
Hunger, if you consider that an emotion, is felt when you need food, that’s the message behind hunger: I need to eat.
The more you stay hungry, the more you hunger will intensify.
Insecurity is felt when your mind thinks that you’re less worthy/ less skillful than other people or than your ideal self-image, your mind doesn’t like that situation.
Social anxiety is felt when you think that you can’t handle social situations whether it’s because of doubts in your skills or in your personality and who you are.
Your mind doesn’t enjoy being in that situation.
Frustration is felt when your needs/hopes aren’t met when you thought they should be met.
And so on, the point is that each single bad emotion is there to tell you something, in other words it’s there to tell you to do something.
You’re Wrong, Bad Emotions Are Nothing but An Imbalance in the Brain’s Chemistry, Right?
It’s believed that many emotions, like depression for example, are caused by an imbalance in the brain’s chemistry, and this imbalance should be treated using medications.
That’s the most destructive belief about emotions which can (and will) ensure you never deal with your negative emotions probably.
While it’s true that some bad emotions can be caused by an imbalance in the brain’s chemistry, the reality is that this imbalance is just a symptom.
What caused this imbalance in the first place? That’s what we must focus on.
Medications will only numb the pain, because the cause is still there. You’re just dealing with the symptoms. Something must be done in order for your mind to balance its chemicals and stop sending you these so-called negative emotions.
Also, this belief that emotions are caused by an imbalance which we have no control over is a very weak mindset, it suggests that we have no control over our own emotions, which isn’t the truth.
It allows us to escape the responsibility of taking charge and changing things.
After all it’s very easy to assume the reason for feeling bad is something out of our control and that we don’t have any power over the situation.
The Benefits of Negative Emotions
Negative emotions aren’t there to make your life harder, that’s far from the truth.
As we’ve already said, they’re there to tell you that there’s something wrong and you need to do something about it.
Just like when you feel hungry and you know you need to eat, and just like your phone when it tells you that it needs to be re-charged, negative emotions indicate that there’s an action that must be taken.
But there’s a good side to those negative emotions that most people aren’t aware of, bad emotions can help you understand yourself, your goals and your needs.
What does that mean?
Most people complain about not knowing what to do with their lives, and negative emotions can help them know exactly what they want.
Each time you feel a negative emotion and you look it as a message, an indicator that there’s something need to be fixed, you will learn more about yourself and your goals.
For example if you’re feeling lonely, this means that you need to work on your social life, make more friends (or deepen the relationship with your already existed friends), develop your social skills, go out more often, and learn how to create intimacy in your relationships.
If you do all that, trust me this negative emotion (loneliness) won’t be there anymore, sure it’ll take time, but it’s a permanent solution.
Your mind is telling you “this, the social life, is important to me”, and it tells you that through this so-called negative emotion.
In a nutshell, negative emotions can help you figure out your own goals, subconscious needs and deep desires, if you listen carefully and respond the right way.
A Better Way to Deal with Your Bad Emotions
First of all let me show you how most people handle their negative emotions, most people escape the bad feelings using drugs, porn, Facebook …etc.
They numb the pain and run away from it, which never work because eventually the cause of pain is there and it will come back on them tenfold.
Or they lie to themselves pretending that those negative emotions aren’t there in the first place, they deny their existence.
As you can already tell, this doesn’t help at all because bad emotions are here for a reason and they won’t go away unless you take action.
So we need a better strategy to handle these feelings.
Here, follow these steps in order to do that:
1. Become aware of your emotions:
This simply means that you need to define your feelings, what are you feeling? Depressed? Lonely? frustrated?
You just need to become aware of your feelings and know exactly what negative emotion you’re feeling at the moment.
This requires paying attention, self-awareness is important here.
Also, you can’t numb your emotions using drugs, porn or whatever, you need to feel the bad emotion and know it very well.
After you know what emotion you’re feeling, here comes the most important part: don’t fight it, don’t numb it, and don’t deny its existence.
Acknowledge it and just feel it. You already know that it’s there to help you improve your life.
In a nutshell, become aware of your feelings (e.g. I’m feeling depressed, I’m feeling lonely). And then don’t fight this emotion, don’t deny it, don’t numb it, just feel it and move to the next step.
2. Why are you feeling this way?
I’ll keep saying this over and over again, every emotion has a message and negative emotions are no exception, in fact they’re here to push you to take action and fix something.
After defining your emotion, you need to figure out why are you feeling this way.
Feeling lonely? Check your social life. Feeling depressed and miserable? Look at your goals and your progress in life. Feeling guilty? Figure out which one of your values had been violated and how you can fix that.
And so on. The point is you need to aim the power of this negative emotion in the right way, it’s here to push you to action, figure out that action and let’s do it in the next step.
3. Do Something Based on The New Data
Now that you know the bad feeling and you know the message behind it, it’s time to take action.
Look, no negative emotion will go away just like that, you need to take action and do something, remember that the purpose of the negative emotion in the first place is to push you to action.
Turn the negative power of the emotion into motivation to push yourself to take action, knowing that unless you do something, this emotion will never go away.
Back to the example of the loneliness, taking action will include going out more often, developing your social skills and learning how to create intimacy in relationships.
That won’t happen over night, but it’s the only way to stop the bad feelings of loneliness.
In brief, after you define the emotion and you figure out the message behind it, you need to respond the right way, means that you have to do something to change your situation.
What Are You Going to Do?
Every bad emotion has a reason to be there, and most likely it’s there to tell you to fix something.
Instead of numbing the pain, denying its existence and trying to run away from it you need to face it and do what it takes to solve the problem.
No negative emotion will go away without taking action, period. Fixing something, whether it’s something out there or something within you (a.k.a your way of thinking).
Last but not least, bad emotions can be your best ally if you can listen carefully and respond the right way.
What are you going to do? I’m sure you’ll start looking at your negative emotions as messages and respond to them by taking the right actions, won’t you?
Read more about emotions:
- The Truth About Uncomfortable Emotions and the Comfort Zone
- I Feel Nothing: A Brief Guide on Emotional Numbness
- The Important Role of the Bad Emotions