NEGATIVE EMOTIONS ARE ESSENTIAL TO WELLBEING AND HAPPINESS
Feeling Agitated, Anxious and Angry, Sad, Bad or Mad? Great!! New research has found that negative emotions are essential to well-being.A concept that Stoics and Greek Thinkers embraced way back.
In our society depression, or any kind of ‘negative’ state or emotion is viewed as a failing, and anyone suffering tends to be stigmatised. (For this article I will refer to them as ‘negative’, but there are no good/bad emotions, they all have a purpose).
We have been taught how to control or avoid negative emotions at all costs, they are commonly judged as weaknesses, and represent trouble and pain. So it’s understandable that people’s natural instinct is to run from, deny, ignore, lie about, try to control, or push away negative emotions & feelings. In doing so we collude with the myth that we are OK, in order to avoid judgement, shame and stigma, which would bring more pain.
We have been inundated with the notion that the antidote to negative emotions are positive thoughts, with the promise that positivity will lead us up the path to success and happiness.
But it’s our constant striving and pressure we feel to be happy that is making us miserable and anxious-which create negative feelings.So we are creating what we are trying to avoid.
Negative emotions are seen as an obstacle to positive thinking, and so must be avoided, yet ironically it is only when we respond appropriately to negative emotion’s, can we genuinely think positively!The most important thing to remember about any emotion we are experiencing is to face it don’t FEAR it.
We have the right to be angry, sad, anxious, frustrated. Negative emotions are natural. Channelled appropriately they help us move energy and take action. No emotion is inherently good or bad, but it can become destructive if overly indulged in. Only when they become habitual and destructive do they lose their positive power, and become an obstacle to our well-being. Then they demand greater exploration to determine the source. Proper management of the mind (notice I didn’t say CONTROL of the mind-which only brings more anxiety and pain, as it is impossible to achieve) and emotions comes from self-knowledge.
Make friends with your negative emotion’s, show compassion, they are misunderstood, their intent is a positive one. Be grateful when they speak to you, they will only shout louder and become more intense, if you ignore them. Acknowledge them, receive their message, but don’t engage in conversation or invite them to stay for tea, thank them for their support, then show them the door!
12 Benefits of Negative Emotions
- Help in evaluating your experiences. This is one of the primary reasons we have emotions. e.g. ‘I enjoyed that’ or ‘Doing that was unpleasant’.
- Alert you to when you are out of alignment with your values. They tell you when adjustments or changes are needed. They are your internal GPS. e.g. If you find yourself responding strongly to something or someone, ask yourself what it is about it/them, that has triggered you. Listen to them and let them guide you in making positive changes in your life.
- Emotions play a crucial role in ensuring your needs are met. If feelings are ignored, your subconscious has to find another way to get it’s message across. It acts as a WARNING SYSTEM. Pain, both physical & mental means you give attention to, and explore, where you’re off track and so can make adjustments.
- Negative emotions also most likely aid in our survival. Bad feelings can be vital clues that a health issue, relationship or other important matter needs attention. The survival value of negative thoughts and emotions may help explain why suppressing them doesn’t work, and in trying to do so, leads to illness, depression, anxiety or stress.
- Reach your goals. E-motions push us take action and fuel motivation, acting as motivational drivers. They motivate us away from pain, towards pleasure e.g. finding a new job because you can’t tolerate your current one, or ending an abusive relationship.
- Make better decisions. Evaluating our past choices and how we felt as a result of them enables us to make more suitable one’s going forward.
- Pin point exactly where attention is needede. the area of greatest pain! Saves you guessing and hunting around. Like a metal detector finding the gold!
- Build Resilience. Feeling pain and discomfort helps you grow and build resilience, creating an empowering belief that you can deal with whatever life throws at you.
- Develop Emotional Intelligence. Accepting negative emotions allows you to get familiar with more unpleasant emotions, resulting in building your E.Q, which is x4 times more essential for success than I.Q.
- Learn about yourself. You meet the real you. All of you, the parts you fear and deny. You get to experience the vast spectrum of what it is to ‘feel’, and be human, and to learn to accept ALL of your experiencing, resulting in living as your authentic self, promoting a deeper experience of life.
- Less FEAR (side effects of which are- less anxiety and less depression!) When you have a FEAR of feeling certain emotions, it can lead to anxiety and depression-because you have to push down how you really feel, for fear of feeling the negative emotions.
- Feel more freedom. Facing and embracing negative emotions means they do not have power over you. No fear. Can relax, chill out. Be real. Facing and accepting negative emotions reduces anxiety and depression because your fear is reduced, and your connection to self is increased.
An added bonus of feeling negative emotions’s is that they allow you to enjoy and appreciate the pleasant feelings more. You can’t recognize and appreciate pleasure unless you’ve experienced pain!