A 3 step process to soothe any negative emotion
"The only reason why you feel a negative emotion, is because the perspective of your higher self about the object of your attention, is a mismatch to yours."
- Abraham Hicks
We all feel negative emotions at some point. Whether it's sadness, guilt, anxiety or despair, sometimes we all get trapped into a negative spiral. I don’t believe that it’s possible to be human and not feel negative emotions here and there, so if you have been beating yourself up for feeling down at time, you have permission to give it up (hint: you don’t need anyone’s permission at all).
The tricky part about emotions is that it's easy to identify with them. Some people will define themselves as sad, optimistic, angry etc, whereas emotions only emanate as a result of our thought patterns. They litteraly give us the weather of our mindset.
As much as feeling negative emotions is the less likeable thing as human beings, avoiding, suppressing or denying them are not the best ways to handle them and I am sure you had your own experiences. Here is a 3 steps process that I’ve been using with much success to handle my negative emotions and I hope it does just the same for you.
1. Welcome your emotions, don’t run
This is probably the most controversial advice because we are programmed to immediately disengage from anything that hurts. Even if it might be accurate at some point on the physiological level, emotions work a little bit differently.
All our negative emotions come bearing gifts. They are highlighting our bogus thinking. If you are really dedicated to self improvement (which I think you are because you are reading this article right now), it is crucial to know where your thinking could use some improvement. You can’t possibly do that if you avoid, deny or suppress your emotions.
So the first step is to openly feel your emotions. Do not shut down. They come with a purpose and that purpose can only seen as you allow yourself to go through them. The rest of the process depends heavily you being willing to let your emotions being felt.
2. Identify the trigger thoughts
As I mentioned before, all the emotions we feel are always ignited by the thoughts we entertain. Let’s take a quick example to illustrate. You get on the road to go to work in the morning and at the first intersection, one pedestrian just runs in front of your car, crossing the street while your light just turned green. Because you are alert enough, you barely stopped yourself in time from hitting that person but the situation triggered you and you feel really angry.
Let’s stop here for a moment and let me ask you why you are angry. You will probably say something along the lines of: "that guy was so stupid, I could’ve killed him, this is so irresponsible, I don’t understand how someone can be so reckless etc...". This is the train of thoughts that is triggering you anger. At least, this is what you are initially aware of.
More often than not those first thoughts are only the tip of the iceberg. The next part of the work is to question the beliefs that supports your reaction. In the case of our example, our driver may have been raised in an environment where everytime somebody did something wrong, they would be screamed at. Therefore our driver associated getting angry at someone who did something wrong, as a logical course of action.
This second step of the process is really about uncovering those thoughts and beliefs behind the emotional reaction and the best way to do it is to ask yourself the question: why am I feeling the way I am feeling now? What are the thoughts and beliefs that are supporting this feeling now?
To do this exercise correctly, you will have to be honest with yourself and deepen your self exploration.
3. Release and reframe
Once the work of uncovering your “not helping thinking” is done, the next step is to release that pattern. You have to be willing to let go of the way you used to think. You have to care more about the way you feel than you are attached to the way you use to think. Sometimes it require choosing feeling better over wanting to be right. It is important that you come to terms with that.
Once you surrendered you unhelpful pattern, the next step is to reframe that train of thoughts. The best way to do it is to replace it with thoughts and beliefs that are imprinted with either compassion for self or for others. In the example of the guy crossing the street abruptly, you can shift your thinking with thoughts like: maybe he is just having a really bad day, maybe he is late for a really important appointment, maybe he is just unbalanced right now. You can go even further by choosing to show compassion to people who do something wrong to your eyes, while making it clear that you don't agree with their behaviour. As you entertain those different thoughts, you will find your harsh emotions being soothed progressively and you will slowly come back to a sense of emotional composure.
Working around your negative emotions in this way will help you sustain your elevated emotions longer and drastically reduce the time that you spend in drama. As you know it already, you need to practice this consistently in order to make it a habit.
I hope this process helps you reduce your negative spirals. If there is anything among those lines that you find helpful, why keeping the fun to yourself? Share it. Don’t forget to join the thrive tribe below to be the first informed about new uplifting articles.
Until next time remain in the knowingness that “You are magnificent”