How To Overcome Negative Emotions By Embracing Them
Do you struggle with negative emotions?
Is fear, anger, sadness, or anxiety holding you back?
Have you tried various techniques to overcome these but find yourself feeling like a failure?
If everything else has failed, use the following technique to transform the power of negative emotions into jet fuel to power your success.
Identifying Negative Emotions is a Great Start
The fact that you’re reading this is a great first step.
This is proof that you’ve realized that something’s not working and you want to fix it.
Most people go through their entire lives ruled by their emotions and making reckless decisions or hurting the people close to them.
Uncontrolled emotions wreak havoc on family members and co-workers.
We’ve all seen the out-of-control adult who is throwing a tantrum like a two-year old.
Give yourself credit for realizing that you want to deal more effectively with your emotions.
And for actually taking steps to do so.
Ignoring Your Emotions Doesn’t Work
You’ve probably heard the advice, “Calm down” when angry or excited or “Cheer up” when feeling down, right?
It’s usually given with good intentions by the other person, but the problem is that it’s impossible to change your mood like you’re flicking a light switch.
Ignoring how you’re feeling doesn’t work, either.
Have you heard of the experiment where you try not to think of a pink elephant?
If not, try it now. Close your eyes and try not to think of a pink elephant.
Almost everyone will find themselves with the image of a big, rosy-colored elephant stuck in their head.
This is true for emotions, as well. The more you push against them the more they push back.
The more you push against them the more they push back.
Changing Your Focus Doesn’t Always Work
A better approach is to change the object of your focus to something else.
While you can’t just simply stop thinking about something, you can instead think about something else with intense focus and you’ll find yourself “forgetting” about the first object.
Some people are able to do this with their emotions.
A useful technique for many people when they find themselves feeling a strong, negative emotion is to focus on something entirely different that sparks a positive emotion instead.
There are some people, though, for whom this approach just doesn’t work.
Maybe you’ve tried it when you’re angry, frustrated, annoyed, anxious, or sad and you found that it doesn’t quite work for you.
I know the feeling, because it doesn’t work for me. I can’t just “focus on something else”.
So what does work?
Tap Into the Energy of Negative Emotions and Steal It
First of all, you can agree that there is a lot of energy in negative emotions.
In fact, you can feel the effects that negative emotions have on your body.
When you’re angry you might feel a hot rush of blood to your head, find yourself clenching your fists, feel tension in your neck, or a knot in your stomach.
While we’re all a little different in our physical response to anger, the fact is that we all feel some type of physical reaction.
And that reaction is packed with a lot of energy.
What if you could take that energy and redirect it into something useful?
How to Overcome Negative Emotions by Embracing Them
This is what finally worked for me.
Imagine the feeling of relief the next time you’re overcome by a powerful emotion that used to leave you feeling helpless but now instead passes right through you.
Or better yet, imagine the power of that negative emotion – instead of smothering and overcoming you – fueling and propelling you forward .
This is how you’ll do it —
Instead of ignoring, fighting against, or refocusing a negative emotion – embrace it fully.
Let yourself feel every last little bit of the negative emotion.
Surrender yourself completely to the feeling and let it wash over you.
You’ll do this without lashing out or acting out any kind of rage or crazy thought.
Embrace the feeling one hundred percent with your mind, body, and soul.
Every single little last bit of it. Don’t hold back.
Like Floating On Waves
Have you ever floated in the ocean, or in a lake?
Can you remember the feeling of bobbing up… and then down… as a wave passed and carried you with it?
The wave passed, and it carried you with it, but it didn’t actually become part of you, right?
This is the same principle. The emotion will pass, and it will affect you for a moment but it will not become part of you.
You’ll surrender yourself to feeling the emotion fully and then – it will pass and be gone.
Just like an ocean wave.
Like a Bolt of Lightning Passing Through You
Another way to think of it is like a bolt of lightning passing through a lightning rod.
You’re the lightning rod.
Suddenly, in a flash, white-hot anger sparks inside you.
But like a lightning rod, the anger flashes through you without doing any damage.
You are a lightning rod when a strong negative emotion strikes.
And like a lightning rod you transfer that intense emotion and let it pass through you.
Imagine the intense, sudden flash of anger as it shoots through the top of your heard and charges briefly through you, before exiting out your feet and into the ground without doing any damage to you.
Like Aikido For Your Emotions
Here’s a final example.
In the Japanese form of martial arts known as Aikido, the purpose is to redirect your attacker’s momentum and use it against them.
Ultimately, the goal is to defend yourself while not causing harm to your attacker.
Picture this – the tension in the room as two white-robed combatants stand several feet apart, facing each other.
Suddenly, one rushes the other in a wild attack.
But the would-be victim deftly maneuvers to grab the attacker by the arm and in one swift, smooth motion flips the attacker to the ground.
You are the combatant and the overpowering negative emotion is your attacker.
You have now taken that negative emotion and redirected it’s flow of energy right through you and past you.
When You Fight Emotions, They Fight Back
You see, the problem is that when you push back against emotions they push right back.
Negative emotions are packed with negative energy, and that energy has to go somewhere.
If you don’t deal with the negative energy – by allowing it to pass through you – it’ll stay bottled up and choked up inside you.
Eventually, it will choke you.
It’s best to deal with powerful, negative emotions by embracing and experiencing them fully.
You’ll observe as the emotions pass right through you and leave you unharmed.
Unharmed, but probably changed – at least a little bit. And for the better.
To put this into perspective, imagine yourself standing on the ocean shore trying to hold back a rushing wave.
Or standing straight and tall as an attacker runs into you at full speed.
Or stretching out the palm of your hand to stop a bolt of lightning.
You can see the outcome of each of those scenarios is destruction and suffering, right?
Instead, embrace the emotion, let it pass through you and outside of you.
What’s the Outcome?
After the negative emotion has passed you may find yourself with a deep sense of calm.
Perhaps you’ll feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
Although the emotion doesn’t leave lasting harm (especially compared to bottling it up or ignoring it and letting it boil inside you) it’s very likely that it will leave some kind of lasting impression on you.
For example, there may have been a deep issue that you were avoiding and by doing this it gives you strength and confidence to deal with it.
You may be part of a group of people who have struggled to deal with negative emotions despite trying many different ways of coping.
If so, allowing yourself to fully feel the emotions and redirecting their energy is highly effective.
You have to surrender yourself completely to the powerful feelings these emotions will generate inside you.
Like bobbing on a wave, conducting a bolt of lightning through you without harm, or like an aikido master redirecting an attacker to the ground, these emotions will no longer harm you.
Surrender yourself, feel the emotion fully, and you may be amazed as you find yourself with a sense of calm and complete control that you haven’t experienced before.
If you struggle with recurring nightmares, a variation of this same technique works wonders.
Next time you realize you’re in the grip of a terrifying dream, don’t run away from whatever is pursuing you. Instead turn around, walk up to whatever torments you, and ask it what it wants.
The answer may surprise you.
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