5 Ways to Deal with Your Negative Feelings.
A few years ago, I consciously started to self-develop and rebuild my mind. Today I feel such a huge difference between pleasant and unpleasant around and within me.
Every single day I practice new things in order to raise the quality of my life. If something doesn’t serve me in some way — be it a person, an activity, or even my own thoughts — why should I go for them?
But even if I try to practice happiness every single moment, some negative emotions are inescapable. We’re human, and I can relate to everyone who deals with these.
Through deep meditation, I learned how to stay calm during hard times and how to control my own impulsive mind, which has caused me many, many years in suffering and depression. I guess that every meditation technique teaches approximately the same lesson: staying calm and accepting everything as it is. So a profound understanding of this wisdom could ease the pain and make one’s life lighter, easier and happier. Here’s how I deal with negative emotions of my own:
1. Accepting negative emotions: When we go through a breakup, big changes, anger, hatred, grief, feelings of unfairness, etc., all we want is to be heard (and preferably validated). Negative emotions blow our minds and seem to stay forever. They seem to be much stronger than their happier counterparts. We try to banish them to hell. And the more we banish and resist, the bigger they become. This doesn’t always work, but most of the time I try to remind myself how I’ve survived every single negative emotion until today and this will pass away too. No idea when, but it will.
2. Stepping back from any actions: When we feel negative emotions, we tend to feel the urge to act. Mostly all we do during an anger explosion will be regretted right after we calm down. So here it’s again very useful to stay aware and just do nothing. I take a few deep breaths, maybe close my eyes for some time. Mostly I become calmer by walking outside and being aware of the beautiful nature around me. It gets simpler with practice: just doing nothing about the emotions, and giving them space to exist within us. Sometimes when I feel anger or don’t feel understood, I would argue with those closest to me. I would say stupid things, which I regret afterward. Being aware and stepping back into the role of an observer of one’s own feelings is the best option there is. It saves us from many regrettable consequences.
3. Taking all the time in the world to recover: All of us are different, and we feel differently. I sometimes need a few minutes to deal with a negative situation, and for certain others, like bad breakups, I have needed years. Thinking about some situations still makes me uneasy even years later. Taking as much time as we need to recover is a sign of deep self-love and self-care. I’m a big believer in the power of self-(awareness/love/respect/support/reflection), so while experiencing any negative emotion, the most needed person who can help us is us. Only we can help ourselves. And if we do, we recover so much faster and are ready to face happiness again.
4. Being grateful: In line with anger, loneliness or other negative emotions, which I experience from time to time, I never forget how lucky I am to breathe, to be healthy, to walk on my own, to move freely, to speak, to sing, to be able to speak, to be able to see and hear. We often don’t appreciate the good we have, and only focus on what we don’t have. I train my mind to love the bad things by practicing a lot of gratitude. Every single day for the last 2.5 years, I’ve been counting even the smallest blessings and achievements before going to bed or after waking up. Every day. It seemed stupid and weird at first, but then became the game-changer for my life. I’m grateful for everything I have and get. I’m grateful for my broken heart, for jealous and demotivating people in my life, for abusive people, for my past depression, for fights with my family and friends, and so on. When did I grow the most? Exactly during the hard times. How then can I dislike negative emotions? I embrace them and love them. I’m grateful for them, simply because being grateful serves me, and being angry and thinking of them as unfair doesn’t.
5. Thinking of guardian angels: When I feel insecure, unhappy, lonely, etc., I oftentimes think of all the amazing people in my life who support me from their heart and soul. I imagine them standing behind me and holding space for me, smiling at me. I know I’m not alone, even if they are far away and don’t know about what I’m dealing with. Knowing that we have support is so important. I imagine them, smile back at them, and the negative emotions slowly start to fade away. Little practice with a huge positive outcome. I also do the same when I’m dealing with toxic people. I imagine all of my guardian angels as being with me, and I feel safer and calmer.
Vipassana teaches us about this characteristic of every single feeling and sensation in the universe: it arises and passes away. In times of negative feelings, this is the rule to keep in mind. Negative emotions can bring us down if we let them, but that’s not the point of a fulfilled life. If we give our negative emotions permission to exist within us, they won’t seem as bad. Because we resist to them so badly, they bring us down so much. Negative emotions make us stronger, they lead us to our greater self and help uncover our potential. Negative emotions are the storms which prepare us for sunny, much brighter and better days than ever before.
Each one of us experiences negative emotions, but the art is not to let them to destroy our own lives and lives of our significant others. Is it worth giving a negative emotion, which will pass away anyway, power over our lives? I believe it is not. I believe that we have the power over our emotions. Negative emotions definitely feel bad, but we must decide if we want to perpetuate that, or to calmly let them pass away and look forward to being our happy selves again.
Olga Chirkova was born in St. Petersburg and moved to Germany when she was nine. She believes there is no journey which is more difficult than the journey to your own true nature. It can be hard, painful, confusing, but it’s worth it. It is the most beautiful and honest journey there is. Come with her on the journey on her blog.