How Negative Emotions Affect Us and How to Embrace Them

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Embracing Negative Emotions Actually Has a Positive Impact

Anger, frustration, fear, and other “negative emotions” are all part of the human experience. They can all lead to stress and are often seen as emotions to be avoided, ignored, or in other ways disavowed, but they can actually be healthy for us to experience as well. A better approach is to manage them without denying them, and there are several reasons for this.

Managing Negative Emotions

The idea of “managing” negative emotions is a complex one. It doesn’t mean avoiding feeling them—avoidance coping is actually a form of coping that attempts to do this, and it can often backfire. It also doesn’t mean letting these negative emotions wreak havoc on your life, your relationships, and your stress levels. Unmanaged anger, for example, can compel us to destroy relationships if we allow it to.

Managing negative emotions is more about embracing the fact that we are feeling them, determining why we are feeling this way, and allowing ourselves to receive the messages that they are sending us before we release them and move forward. (Yes, that statement may sound a little odd, but our emotions are definitely designed to be messengers to tell us something, and these messages can be very valuable if we listen. There will be more on this later.) Managing negative emotions also means not allowing them to overrun us; we can keep them under control without denying that we are feeling them.

When we talk about so-called negative emotions, it’s important to remember that these emotions, in themselves, aren’t negative as in “bad,” but more that they are in the realm of negativity as opposed to positivity. Emotions aren’t necessarily good or bad, they are just states and signals that allow us to pay more attention to the events that create them, either to get us motivated to create more of a certain experience or less, for example. Unlike some emotions, they’re not always pleasant to experience, but like most emotions, they exist for a reason and can actually be quite useful to feel.

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