Learn From Negative Emotions

Posted January 6, 2013 by Marcy Farrey in Life After Five

We often view negative emotions as killers of our productivity. Feeling anxiety, frustration, anger — it keeps us from getting things done. It’s better to let them pass quickly or ignore them, right?

Not necessarily. MindBodyGreen gives a new perspective, and suggests that you “Turn Your Negative Emotions into Your Greatest Teachers.” Instead of fighting these negative emotions, listen to what they’re telling you, and allow yourself to feel them. MindBodyGreen gives 5 ways you can deal with these emotions, but I want to call attention to two of them. The first:

1. Let whatever emotions are there be there. Besides, resistance is futile! 

Feeling that we shouldn’t feel a certain way and trying to fight against it is not only frustrating but a complete waste of energy. Recognize that ultimately we feel how we choose to feel. No one can “make us” behave in a certain way. If you want to have a ticked off half hour, that is your right. Take control of your emotions rather than letting them take control of you.
It’s so easy to get even more mad at yourself for feeling angry or anxious, and that can be exhausting. Getting mad at yourself for having a feeling is counterproductive and only fuels anxiety. Instead, accept that you will sometimes feel these emotions. Don’t force them down. If you feel the need to hash it out with someone, call a close friend or family member. Or, as is suggested in tip number four, try writing it out:

4. Write it down.

Don’t view negative emotions as an annoyance, but as a sign there is a problem that needs to be addressed in order to move forward and build up your emotional resilience.

Writing things down can really help you rationalize and make an action plan if needed. You can often see things through completely different eyes when they are in black and white in front of you.
After several years of keeping a journal, I can say that this really helps. Writing out your initial feelings can help you calm down and get clearer on what you’re really upset about. You might start to notice patterns. I used to think writing might cause me to dwell on an emotion longer, but I always feel lighter after I get it down on paper.
The next time you feel a negative emotion, try taking a new perspective on it. Don’t fear it, but listen to it. What are your negative emotions telling you?

About the Author

Marcy Farrey

Marcy Farrey is a videographer, writer, and editor. In her previous life, she worked as a broadcast news reporter and producer in Lincoln, Nebraska and as a writer and producer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University. Learn more about Marcy on her website www.marcyfarrey.com.


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