Dealing with Negative Emotions

Emotions are a part of our everyday lives. We can’t help feeling all sorts of emotions. Positive emotions such as joy, love, happiness are a pleasure to express, and once we let them out we find ourselves in a resourceful state. We become calm, confident and strong.

Negative emotions such as fear, anger, envy, on the other hand, can adversely affect our actions and decisions. Keeping those negative emotions inside can make matters even worse and lead to significant problems.  Unfortunately, most western cultures place a high value on suppressing and ignoring emotional reactions. Yet learning to handle our emotions is an important skill we need to learn. Usually, the following reactions hold our negative emotions inside:

  • excuses
  • accusations
  • criticism
  • manipulation
  • self-flagellation

However, if we learn to interrupt our usual pattern of behaviour, we will also learn to not let our negative emotions take control over us. For the following three weeks, replace your usual negative reactions with the following positive ones:

  • Stop look for excuses, apologise instead. Think of possible solutions to your situation.
  • Stop accusing other people. Remind yourself that you are the one in charge of your life.
  • Don’t criticise other people. Offer them your support instead.
  • Never manipulate people. If you want something, simply ask for it.
  • Instead of reproaching yourself, ask yourself the following questions: what’s already good about my situation? What can be improved?

The more often you repeat the new of behaviour, the stronger it will become. After about three weeks you’ll reach a ‘tipping point’ – the point at which it will be easier to exercise this new behaviour than not. Continue replacing negative actions with positive ones for the following three weeks and you will have developed a new habit. You will become more positive, calm and happy. You will start to look at life with more optimism, seeing opportunities to succeed all around you.

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