What To Do With Negative Emotions

    Yesterday we talked about how “Just Saying No,” is an ineffective strategy for personal change. If you want to let go of a bad habit, such as overeating, overspending, or smoking, it’s more effective to substitute a positive habit in its place. It’s psychologically more effective to work “for something” rather than “against something.” For example, you’ll be more effective “saving for” a new car than you will “trying not to spend” your money.

    Today we’ll apply this strategy to “negative emotions”—those feelings we’d rather not have, such as anger, fear, and sadness.

    If you’ve become conscious that you don’t want negative feelings ruling your life, a first inclination may be to “stop having them.” You could do this by denying their existence, by pushing them under the surface, or by distracting yourself with entertainment or addictions. However, denial, repression, and distraction of emotional energy are ineffective in the long run. Emotions that are not recognized and whose energy is not consciously channeled become tension in your body. They end up re-surfacing as illness or in self-sabotaging behaviors.

    So what can you do besides simply feeling and expressing your negative emotions?

    A first step is to not be afraid of these emotions. Feel them, accept them, and even welcome them into your awareness. Every emotion arises with a purpose. There is information in your emotions and energy to accomplish a specific action. The emotions themselves are not negative, it’s how you relate to them that makes them healthy or unhealthy in your life.

    For example, anger alerts us that boundaries may have been crossed, fear can heighten awareness, and sadness enables us to let go of the past, or of what no longer serves us. When we become conscious of the purpose in our emotions, we can gather information from them and use their energy to take effective action.

    To harvest the energy and information in your emotions, an effective strategy is to approach them with a curious attention. Ask yourself, “What is this emotion telling me about how I am relating this situation and/or what is happening around me? What can I learn about myself and others from this feeling?

    When you approach your emotions with an accepting inquisitive attitude you shift your relationship to them. Rather than identifying them with who you are, or being carried away by them, or reactively expressing them, you relate to them as bearers of information that can guide you to more effective action. This is emotional intelligence—something our world desperately needs.

    Kevin

    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. Using the Core Energy Technique you become aware of how emotions are stored in your body and how to shift into appreciation and acceptance.

      2 Responses to “What To Do With Negative Emotions”

      1. Debbie says:

        Thank You so much for writing this article on “What to do with Negative Emotions”! Now I know EXACTLY why I’ve been feeling more and more sad and depressed lately, and by physically asking myself, “What do I need to do now to get myself back in alignment and to be happy again?”, I received a clear answer to that question within minutes after starting to meditate. My whole body feels so much lighter now. After my meditation session was over, I felt the weight of the constant sadness I had been feeling for months now and the depression that had just started to set in on a daily basis just lift right out of my body. Once again, Thank You!!

      2. Hi Debbie,
        Thank you for sharing how you successfully used this practice with your emotions. Well done! You now know that you can do this at any time that you need to.

        Thanks for modeling how this is done for us all,
        Kevin

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