Emotions are contagious. That is great news when your emotions are positive and not so great if they are negative.
Negative emotions can happen to anyone at any time. Here is what can happen when you have them. When you get caught up in negative emotions, you will find it difficult to solve problems, think of solutions, or have the energy you need to change your situation. Obviously, if you get stuck in this position, you will not be productive. Some researchers believe you need to have positive emotions to be successful.
Yes, you can learn from experiences that are negative. However, to be happy again, you need to be able to find ways to be more positive. To do that it is appropriate to let yourself feel the negative emotion for a brief period of time. The trick is being able to name the emotion or emotions so that you can release it. When you are able to release the negative emotions, you will find that you have energy to refocus on important things currently going on in your life.
Here are some tips to help you acknowledge your negative feelings and then release them so that you can have the energy you need to think clearly and be successful:
- Identify and name what you are feeling.
- Identify what you are telling yourself about the problem or situation; this is what you believe about what is going on.
- How true is your belief on a 1 – 10 scale (10 being very true).
- If your belief is 6 or below, you may be able to distract yourself by getting up and moving around.
- Tale a break. Feelings change more easily if you move your body by walking or exercising for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Change the environment if necessary.
- If your belief is 7 or higher, you need to ask yourself what the consequences are for having that belief – what the belief is costing you. You might ask yourself who you would be if you had a different belief.
- Ask yourself what evidence there is for and against having the belief.
- Ask yourself if there are other ways of thinking about the situation and/or why it happened. How would your best friend interpret it?
- Think about the best and worst case scenario and how likely it is for either one to happen.
- Ask yourself what other belief you might have that would be more empowering than your original belief.
At any time in using the above tips, you may begin to feel more energy. When this happens, you will be neutralizing the negative effect of your belief and negative feelings. You can continue the process until you actually begin to feel more energetic and ready to move forward in a meaningful direction.
Sometimes the above process is referred to as the Disputation Model of handling negative beliefs and emotions. This is because you dispute your original belief, using a questioning process with yourself to look at the situation from a different perspective. This process becomes easier if you practice it over time.
Try it yourself, and let me know how it works for you.
Until next time,