Did you know that bad or negative emotions are actually good for you?
Let me explain. We tend to try and avoid situations and scenarios where we end up feeling sad, anxious or stressed. These emotions are deemed bad for us and our health after all.
Well, there certainly is some truth in this, especially in terms of prolonged stress, prolonged sadness and prolonged anxiety, however let’s re-examine such emotions in another light.
Negative emotions are great “beacons”:
In the world of coaching we tend to listen out for these emotions as they are great “beacons” that leave, if you like, a breadcrumb trail that can often lead to the root cause of a limiting belief. Bad emotions are, after all, trying to tell us that something needs “fixing”.
An emotion such as stress can therefore be seen as a clue rather than just a symptom. If we metaphorically-speaking go “upstream” and try and discover what the root cause of the stress is, then we can identify other strategies where adopting a different pattern of behaviour might lead to better results (….and with less stress).
How to manage your negative emotions:
A wonderful way of approaching a negative feeling is to try and detach yourself from it. Acknowledge that you’re feeling it, accept it, welcome it as part of you. As the saying goes “don’t beat yourself up”, we all feel bad emotions throughout our lives. Showing yourself a little self-compassion really helps, so instead of saying to yourself “oh, why is it I always feel so bad when this happens” why not try “ok, I’m feeling bad, I accept that, it’s OK to feel bad, I’m only human. So what do I think it is that’s the root cause of why I feel like this each time I encounter the same scenario. What could I do about it?”
Negative emotions are great for focussing our attention:
The other thing that bad emotions are great for is focus. Research suggests that we dwell far more on the cause of our bad feelings compared with how we focus on the things that make us happy. So that’s another positive that is derived from feeling a negative emotion. You can experience this for yourself. The next time you feel stressed or anxious, observe the time and the effort you’re putting into whatever is the cause of the emotion.
This is another way of re-looking at negative emotions and seeing them for what they are. Beacons that are trying to tell us something. Maybe we should “listen” more to what they are saying?