We all tend to place our feelings into two categories: good and bad. Also known as acceptable, on the light side of existence (where happiness, amusement, excitement and myriad other positive emotions live) and avoidable, on the darker side (home to depression, anger, fear and pain).
Based on these categorizations, we usually want to live in the light, and steer clear of the dark – as if it were the emotional plague! Yet no one ever manages to be happy, amused, excited and in love all of the time. Why is that?
The answer, of course, is reasonably simple: our emotions are our guide. They reflect our instincts, the senses we’re given in order to make our way through the world. We need them, and they all have value. In other words, all feelings are intrinsically good (or at least good for us), whether our experience of them seems that way or not. Does that mean it’s healthy to live in a state of anger, fear or depression? Of course not! A healthy dose of the blues shouldn’t last forever… But if it seems like you’ve been in the dumps for a very long time, consider the possibility that you are fostering it in some way.
The next time you’re feeling out of sorts, afloat in a sea of negative feelings, consider the possibility that you – and only you – can shift your perspective and your experience. Here are some ways to re-frame your negative feelings, and reclaim your life!
Cry and cry
We all get sad sometimes – life is not all sunshine and roses. If it were, you’d get bored! And while it can be difficult to handle the blues, they’re a necessary part of human existence. Since sadness usually makes us reflective (or we should allow it to, anyway) it allows us to grow, change and appreciate the happier times. At best, it can lead us to make better decisions that don’t lead to the same type of sadness in the future.
So while you’re sad, focus on how you’re going to make things better – and purge yourself of your negativity. Prepare for catharsis.That’s what this emotion is for – a cleansing. After all, let’s face it, sometimes nothing feels better than a good cry!
Use the energy
If someone or something has pissed you off to the point of anger, you’re probably energized – anger is nature’s amphetamine. While it doesn’t necessarily feel good, and it’s certainly no place to stay for the long haul, it will feel good to dispel it. Much like sadness, anger may actually mean you’ve let some feelings build up that you need to purge!
Rather than give in to your more self-destructive inclinations when you’re angry, have a good workout session. You’ll release some of those emotions, and probably give yourself some time to think.
When you get right down to it, fear is the basis of most negative emotions. Whether we fear someone will leave us, that we’ll end up alone, that we’ll never have enough money, that we just don’t measure up… it all leads to depression, insecurity, anxiety and a host of other un-fun stuff. But why is it so powerful?
At its root, fear allows us to sense when we’re in a dangerous situation. Fear is usually the means our minds and bodies use in their attempt to predict future events – which keeps us from experiencing the present. If you’re afraid, the odds are you’re not too late to keep that fear from coming true.
The best way to defeat fear, and kick it out of your long-term experience, is to face it. What is it you’re afraid of? And would it be the worst thing in the world if it happened? How can you prevent events from taking that turn?
No matter what the feeling, you are the master of your experience. And taking your emotions – good and bad alike – as a springboard to create even more positiveness is the first step to a more balanced, happy existence!
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