We are living in a challenging and troubled time of civilization. Economic crises, pandemics, and the loss of loved ones disrupt the emotions of individuals. Emotions are an inherent part of life and can carry various energies, often negative.
Even the most subtle emotion can impact our health. Just observe how individuals with a more positive outlook on life are generally healthier as well. It operates like an energy cycle: an illness affects emotions, which in turn further affects health. However, the starting point can be the energy you emit yourself.
Maintaining positive energy doesn’t imply ignoring problems, but rather working with your emotions to your advantage. Here’s how to recognize them and bring about a real-life change.
Identify your emotions
An emotion is an affective state that emerges as an immediate response to a stimulus.
Positive emotions are those that elicit equally positive feelings. They are triggered by attitudes that individuals find pleasant. In essence, they occur when individuals perceive and experience something beneficial within a short period. Some examples of positive emotions include enthusiasm, hope, acceptance, motivation, and happiness.
Negative emotions are immediate reactions to moments that individuals perceive as unpleasant. Regret, worry, despair, frustration, disappointment, shame, and stress are examples of such emotions.
It is important to remember that both positive and negative emotions are natural and necessary. For instance, when you learn that someone you love is sick, it is understandable that you would feel worried. However, when a negative emotion persists and starts to significantly impact your life, it becomes important to reassess how you manage it.
Take the time for self-reflection
We are the result of what we think and feel. Therefore, it is crucial to comprehend the emotions we harbor within ourselves. How do you respond to a significant situation in your life? What factor has left such a profound impact that it still evokes intense emotions to this day?
Self-reflection causes us to get rid of those thoughts considered “inflexible”, of limiting beliefs that never seem to change. However, the human being is naturally flexible – this possibility to change makes the individual evolve.
Here are some tips for self-reflection:
Think about your family’s upbringing
They say that we are the reflection of the five people we live with the most. However, during childhood and adolescence, we receive more solid influences on the formation of our character. Much of the way we act is a reflection of the education we receive early in childhood. Therefore, reflect on how much your upbringing influences how you currently see yourself.
Analyze your real needs and emotions
Every human being has needs and wants, which serve as motivations. Emotions, in turn, reflect these needs and desires. The intensity of emotions correlates with the strength of these needs or desires.
It is crucial to discern between genuine needs in life and desires that hinder personal growth. Many things perceived as necessary for happiness are often attachments to the past that do not contribute to personal development.
Understand your defense mechanisms
Another factor that hinders the effective handling of emotions is the presence of defense mechanisms, which prevent a clear perception of reality. These mechanisms are primarily activated when we encounter information that threatens our perceived identity or when we are exposed to painful revelations about ourselves.
Understanding these defense strategies helps you confront your deepest fears, needs, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.
Know that negative emotions can paralyze you
Have you ever noticed how a negative emotion can paralyze you? Fear keeps you from moving; anger makes you brood over an unpleasant situation repeatedly; Frustration makes you believe that it is impossible to fulfill a dream. All this is natural to the human being, but when you let negative emotions dominate your interior, your exterior paralyzes and stops moving forward.
During self-reflection, consider which emotions might be hindering you from pursuing your desires. Is it the fear of being judged by others? The frustration of not succeeding in your initial attempts? Or perhaps the shame of being older and trying something new? Identifying and understanding these emotions can provide valuable insights for personal growth.
Don’t walk away from the negative
Ignoring negative emotions will not make them go away. It is necessary to understand:
- why did they arise;
- what were the triggers, that is, what fact or thought aroused them;
- what to do to deal with them.
Do physical activities
Physical activity is crucial for altering the energetic pattern of our emotions. This is because negative emotions trigger the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. While cortisol release is a natural response, constant peaks of stress hinder the body’s ability to regulate cortisol levels, leading to physical and mental disorders. Regular physical activity helps in mitigating the negative effects of stress and promotes overall well-being.
In addition to providing overall physical strength, physical activity also triggers the release of serotonin, often referred to as the “happiness hormone.” It also stimulates the release of endorphins, which have analgesic effects and contribute to a prolonged sense of well-being and positive mood. Moreover, physical activity helps in inhibiting feelings of irritation and stress, promoting a more balanced emotional state.
Talk about your emotions with other people
Talking to a psychologist or therapist can make all the difference in how you manage your emotions. They can help identify feelings that, initially, may seem positive but conceal layers of negative emotions that have been stored for a long time.
Another alternative is to seek support groups. These groups consist of individuals who are experiencing similar challenges, creating a safe space where participants can freely express themselves without fear of judgment.
Lastly, there are instances where stronger emotions may be addressed with the assistance of medication. This is a course of action that can be undertaken with the guidance of a psychiatrist, who works in conjunction with the psychologist and support group to enhance your overall quality of life.
Experiencing both positive and negative emotions is completely normal and part of the human experience. The essential aspect lies in understanding how to effectively manage and navigate these emotions.