We often experience negative emotion when another person says or does something that activates a past fear or bad memory. This is what we mean when we talk about others “pushing our buttons.” When negative emotion is triggered--by someone’s thoughtless remark, a bad situation, or bad news of some kind--we may feel out of sorts, angry, out of control, fearful, or anxious. We dislike these feelings, and often think, I’m trapped in this negative emotion.
Yet each negative emotion we feel has an important purpose. We become sad when we lose someone or something, angry when we’re being mistreated, and anxious when facing too many life challenges. And yet we often resist our negative emotions or tell ourselves there must be something wrong with us for feeling them. But there isn’t anything wrong with us for feeling them. We’re human; they’re natural and even useful.
And interestingly, accepting our negative emotions actually helps us move beyond them sooner, according to a study done at UC Berkeley (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/feeling_bad_about_feeling_bad_can_make_you_feel_worse). This doesn’t mean that if you’re feeling a lot of negative emotion over a long period of time that you shouldn’t seek help: you should. But some negative emotion is perfectly normal. If you can simply allow a negative emotion to be there for a while, it will soon lift so that better-feeling emotions can return, and you can think, My negative emotion is information that I can use to find ways to increase my inner well-being.
You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/store
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