Being human, we experience different kinds of emotions from our early years. As we grow older, a range of emotions becomes more complex as we deal with our everyday lives. We try to navigate our world into an ideal situation to evade negative emotions that can sit in our minds for days. But unfortunately, each person handles it differently.
Often, we are overwhelmed with so many things that happen in our lives that we rarely stop to think and take a closer look at what we’re feeling. Staying in an emotionally disturbed state impacts our physiological and mental well-being, which can hamper how we perceive the world around us.
What are negative emotions?
Negative emotions refer to unpleasant, unhappy, or unfavorable feelings that an individual responds to towards an adverse event or situation. Anything emotion that does not please you is negative. Paul Ekman, an American psychologist, is a pioneer in studying emotions.
In 1999, he identified six initial basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Later, he expanded his list of basic emotions adding amusement, contempt, contentment, embarrassment, excitement, guilt, pride, relief, satisfaction, sensory pleasure, and shame. You may think that we are only capable of feeling happy and sad, as they seem to be the basics of all emotions. But, in reality, there are other emotions that we need to recognize and acknowledge if we experience them.
Being happy is never a problem as it frees our minds from emotional turmoil. It pumps our adrenalin to exert more effort and helps us be inspired to continue what we want to do. However, the negative emotions are often the cause of why they are individuals need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist so that they can receive treatment on how to handle their emotions better.
Common negative emotions are anger, hate, sadness, and jealousy. All of us experience these emotions, and so there are completely normal. However, these negative emotions can affect how we lead our lives. It can affect how we treat other people around us and the decisions we make. People’s reaction varies on how much they would allow these negative emotions to take over their lives. Sadly, how they express these negative emotions may range from being silent to being violent.
The Effects of Holding on to Negative Emotions
While having a negative emotion is a normal part of our life, it is not encouraged to hold on to such negativity for such a long time. It diminishes our ability to function normally and can wreck our lives. Each person responds to negative emotions differently. Some individuals may feel it for a brief moment, while others may spend hours, days, weeks, months, or even years replaying a painful incident in their mind, so the pain remains. Once this happens, that individual creates his own world wherein he is trapped with this negative emotion to no longer give any value to his life or the people who love him.
Apart from the psychological effect, it can do, it can also be physically seen as an individual tormented with negative emotions, resulting in declining health. Being unable to eat and sleep properly can affect how we think. And I do believe that these are the reasons why there are so many people with mental health issues roaming the streets. To add drug and alcohol abuse can even worsen the situation.
Emotions are complex reactions involving biological and physiological processes within our bodies. Our brain responds to these emotions by releasing chemicals and hormones. The elaborate process makes it difficult for some to cope with the negative feelings. Hence, if you lack the skills to deal with negative emotions, it can lead to a critical situation in which psychological intervention may be required.
How To Deal With Negative Emotions
No one is spared from the daily pains that life brings us. I have hit rock bottom once in the past, and looking at it now. I am surprised at how I was able to heal myself without needing to seek a professional’s help. Those who knew what I have been through understand how it was difficult to rise and get back to how things were. It was a long process that I had to do on my own.
There were instances back then when I had almost given up my life, thinking it was my way of getting rid of all the pain and frustrations. I was living without much care for the things around me. It was such a painful time that the memory kept on coming back every day. And one thing I did learn through that rough journey in my life is to allow others to touch your life.
One reason why those people commit suicide is that they feel that there is no one who would understand what they are feeling. And whatever they have in mind is the only truth in which they fear being rejected if they open up their feelings to others. However, if you are in such a situation, you should learn to reach out to someone you can trust and share whatever you are feeling. Remember that no one can validate what you think when you isolate yourself from the rest of the world. And in doing so, you endanger yourself by thinking of certain things which can eventually harm you.
It is a process before you start to trust anyone with what can be bothering you. But, if you focus on your loved ones, you will slowly inch your way out of that darkness.
Never allow yourself to think about an unfavorable situation for a long time. Save your sanity by using coping strategies to help you deal with negative emotions.
- Do not make things worse by spending so much of your time thinking about a bad situation.
- Learn to accept problems that come your way. There are unavoidable circumstances that are beyond our control. Instead of sulking in a corner, understand the situation better and find a better solution to get out of the hole.
- Routine activities can be unhelpful, especially if you spend most of your time only with your job or business. De-stress by enjoying the company of your family and friends. Please take a short vacation or hang out at home and spend quality time with them.
- Think about how emotions like anger, grief, or fear affect you. This may sound a little crazy, but preparing yourself for something that can tick you off can help you escape from being drowned in negativity.
- Keep a healthy lifestyle. Commit to a healthy lifestyle, such as participating in sports or exercising frequently. Doing aerobic activity can lower the level of stress chemicals and can help you deal with negative emotions.
- Some things are not meant to last. The same goes for any problems which you may have gone through. Let go of the past so you can focus more on the present and prepare for the future.
- Give yourself time to grieve over a loved one. I don’t think it is healthy to stay quiet and not shed even a tear. It is beneficial to let go of that emotion to feel better. But don’t allow yourself to remain in that state for too long. It is painful, but you must learn to accept and let go.
- I believe in the power of prayer. Praying for healing and peace of mind will always work regardless of which religion you belong to. Believe that everything that happens has a reason. They are sometimes blessings in disguise.
- Never make any decision when you are angry. It is likely an unwise decision. Instead, allow time to defuse the anger and reflect on the situation. You can think better when you are calm.
- When you are overwhelmed, stay calm and focus. I have seen some getting too emotional to the point of not knowing what they are doing. Instead of cradling that feeling, list down what you need to do most, especially if this is regarding your job or business. I know that sometimes, we are in a situation we seem unable to bear. But if we focus on which to prioritize, it will be easier to perform each task.
- If you are feeling insecure, instead of focusing on what others have, re-channel your mind and identify what your unique qualities that others don’t have are. For example, you may see others be more successful than you. They may have exerted more effort towards their work to reach their current status. If that is the case, why not learn new skills to improve your way of life? It can be your ticket to your goal.
- There may come a time wherein you feel that you have been rejected. It may be in the form of an application for a job, or you may have expressed your feelings toward another person. Remember that life is not perfect. Even if you think you are the right person to do the job or the right person to be with for the rest of your life, things may not be meant to be. Instead of feeling disheartened, focus on improving yourself to land a better job or let the right person come in God’s perfect time.
- If you feel discouraged, consider all the other possibilities you can take advantage of. You cannot allow yourself to feel unhappy just because something you wanted to happen did not transpire. Teach yourself to put more effort and to believe that great things come to those who wait.
- Let’s say you are waiting for the results of your licensure examination. Passing this exam means the whole world to your parents because they have grand plans for your future. And knowing that this is very important to your parents, you are worried that you might not be able to make them proud, hence waiting for the result makes you feel like the butterflies in your stomach are about to come out. Count 1-10 backward. Take deep breaths to regulate your breathing. Stay calm and remind yourself that everything will be alright no matter the result.
We can experience a variety of situations having a ton of different emotions. Those negative emotions can indeed affect our lives. But always choose what is best. And the best option is always to be aware of your feelings, understand the situation, identify the problem, and find ways to keep yourself away from such negative emotions.
Work on all possible ways to keep a healthy mental state. Our current situation has caused a lot of people to have mental issues because they cannot cope with their emotions. Never suppress any negative feelings. If you need help, never hesitate to contact someone you can trust.