Coping with powerfully negative emotions can often be very difficult and when we’re in this frame of mind, it can often feel as though the whole world is out to get us. When we’re feeling truly low, these emotions can end up spilling into every other aspect of our lifestyle, causing us to question our careers, our relationships and even our self-worth.
Unfortunately these negative emotions are a fact of life though. That is to say that they are inevitable and unavoidable and even the richest person in the world, with everything they could possibly want, would sometimes find themselves experiencing these kinds of feelings.
So with all that said, how do you cope with these emotions when they arise?
One strategy is simply to face them and to accept them. Read on to discover how and why this strategy works and what is really meant by it.
When the World Seems Like a Dark Place
Sometimes the world seems like a dark place. As we said earlier, a bad mood can affect your thinking to the point where you start questioning everything about your life and to the point where it can all start to seem a little futile and hopeless. In extreme situations of course this is how people can become depressed and it’s what leads people to make poor decisions.
So how do you deal with times like these? One simple solution is to face that negative emotion and to ‘turn towards it’. What does this mean?
Ultimately, this means using mindfulness practices to try and make yourself more aware of your emotions. This is taught in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) where patients are encouraged to try and sit quietly and to allow their thoughts to ‘pass by naturally’. Unlike some other forms of meditation such as transcendental meditation, the objective here is not to completely silence all your thoughts but instead to let them pass by ‘like clouds’.
In doing this, you can then reflect on where your mind goes when you leave it to ‘wander’ and you can think about how this might be affecting your mood.
Notably, we are going to use this technique to try and learn to better identify the symptoms of being angry, stressed or mildly depressed.
The reason this is so valuable is because we can then intellectualize that emotion and thereby distance ourselves from it. Ultimately, a bad mood is very much like a cold or a stomach infection. In other words, it is a biological imbalance caused by the wrong neurotransmitters which in turn affects your thought patterns. This in turn could be the result of you being unwell, of you being overtired or even of the wrong diet and a lack of some crucial nutrient or other.
The point here is that your emotions will be affected by your brain chemistry and your thoughts will then no longer reflect your reality or how you really feel. Most importantly of all, that emotion and those thoughts are not permanent. With time this will pass and you will go back to normal.
Why This Works so Effectively
Now, when you next find yourself thinking negative thoughts because you’re depressed or stressed, you can simply say ‘I only think that because of my mood, it will get better’. This takes practice but once you can identify and rationalize your emotions, you’ll find that far easier to handle and you’ll no longer be a slave to the whims of your hormones.