You know those days when nothing seems to go right and something inside seems to be sabotaging your efforts to achieve your goals? Maybe you’ve recently lost your job or you’re dealing with some other personal problem. Negative emotions are usually associated with suffering and are seen as a problem we need to avoid. But have you thought that those “negative emotions” could actually be positive things?
Keeping that idea in mind, let’s go through a few tips about taking advantage of our emotions.
Identify and accept
The first step is to identify and accept your emotions as they are. Emotions are designed to impulse, drive or stop behaviours. There are no good or bad ones. Every one of them has its purpose and is important for the right functioning of our bodies and our minds.
For example, when we have an idea our brain thinks is good, our body fills with energy and we feel the urge of making it real. When we win or get some good results in any aspect of life, our bodies send us good feelings urging us to repeat that performance in the future. On the other hand, when we lose or get bad results, our bodies send us the opposite signals.
If those signals wouldn’t reach us, we would only have our rational mind telling us what is good or bad for us. And without having emotions attached to those behaviours, we would have trouble remembering which ones were good or bad.
By identifying your emotions and their purpose, you can accept them as a valuable part of yourself that is trying to help you. But, yeah, sometimes that’s difficult.
Genetic evolution is slow, and our modern world has changed very fast. We have emotions that are not as useful as they were for our ancestors. That’s the reason why we are more afraid of animals, heights or people shouting than cars or other vehicles, even when we know that the later ones are far more dangerous. Sometimes our brains send us wrong emotions, telling our bodies to stop behaviours that are actually fine. Rationalizing these emotions, trying to understand where they come from, is the best way to solve that problem.
For example, losing a job causes negative feelings, but when you rationalize the reasons behind, it helps to move forward. Perhaps it wasn’t your fault. Perhaps the company went bankrupt or there were problems unrelated to your performance. In any case, understanding where your emotions come from is the key to overcome them.
But… what if that doesn’t help either? Well, then your reptilian brain, unadapted to the new world, is playing tricks on you. It’s time to hack it.
Change your mindset
Sometimes, emotions are generated not by events, but by the meaning we give them. Try to change your mindset and see things from a different perspective. It may be difficult to see things through other’s eyes, but you need to get out of your skin and take a step back.
Avoid negative thoughts
Seeing the world always with a positive point of view is not easy, but you can make an effort and try to focus on the positive side of things. You can also play some tricks on your brain, like smiling, looking up, or even singing or dancing! Your brain associates these behaviours with positive emotions, so, even if you’re not in the mood, they can help you feel a little bit better. Also, be aware of the way you speak to others and to yourself. Take a piece of paper and try writing down everything that comes to your mind. If your inner conversation is full of negative words, it’s time to change it!
Change your habits
Habits can turn against us if they are feeding negative emotions. That’s why it’s important to identify the behaviours that are triggering those emotions and remove them from your daily routine. If you’re stuck in a circle and you don’t know where the problem is, just start changing things in your life until you get out from the loop.
The key is to start with very simple and small things that you can achieve, like changing your morning routine. Try waking up 15 minutes before, having breakfast in a different place at home or playing some positive music.
And always keep in mind that your emotions are a tool, that should be accepted, used and then left behind. By applying some of these tips, you can improve your performance at work and get a more balanced and happier life!
I hope you’ve found this article interesting and useful. If you have any other ideas, I’ll be glad to hear them!
David R. Moreno
About the author
“Hi! I’m David R. Moreno and I help people improve their presence on the Internet and social media. As an expert on communication and marketing strategies I’ve advised several professionals and companies, helping them to multiply their reach and achieve their goals. I’m also psychologist from background”