When Negative Emotions Help You Do Better
Negative emotions are part and parcel of life, and it’s hard to imagine a day going by without feeling any negativity at all. They’re the emotions that we want to avoid, simply speaking, because they make us feel bad.
Fear, apprehension, uncertainty, envy, dissatisfaction, self-doubt, the list goes on. Common sense tells us to avoid these emotions, and to pursue positive emotions instead. But negative emotions should not be ignored. In fact, they are essential for your well-being. Learn how these emotions can actually help you.
An Opportunity for Growth
Instead of trying to avoid your negative emotions, you should use them as prompts to improve yourself. Start seriously contemplating on your darker thoughts and see what you can learn from them. Problems can only be solved if you acknowledge that there’s a problem in the first place.
Perhaps you feel ashamed about your lacklustre software skills. This causes you distress because you are afraid of being labelled as obsolete in a society that is increasingly becoming computerised. Have a change in perspective – Instead of simply pitying yourself, use it as motivation to improve yourself. You are aware that something is supposedly lacking, so start looking for ways to make up for this shortcoming.
You can even apply the same mindset when you are looking outwards. You might feel envious of your colleague doing better than you. Find out what he/she is doing to succeed and what you can do to make up for it. Create a friendly rivalry out of your envy. The spirit of competition will drive you to do better, helping you improve as a person.
Trusting your “Gut”
Negative emotions can be a result of our survival instinct telling us when things are wrong. When we feel emotions like fear, our body is warning us of possibly threatening situations. If you only pay heed to your positive emotions, you might grow to be ignorant of potential dangers in life.
However, we should not simply give up on something just because of our feelings of hesitation. When you are feeling afraid, assess your initial emotional reaction to the situation and then apply logical thinking to it. Find out the possible reasons for your fear, and then take the appropriate precautions. Pushing through with caution will enable you to be more prepared for the risks ahead.
Improving your State of Mind
The benefits of positive thinking are apparent, but acknowledging negative emotions are important too. Trying to suppress negativity can result harmful effects for your mental health.
Even when you are pretending to ignore something, the fact is that you are actively using effort to pretend it doesn’t exist. You can never truly eliminate any sort of thought because your subconscious will cause it to resurface. What you should do instead is take the good together with the bad, and help make meaning out of your negative emotions. This will help detoxify your bad experiences and enhance psychological well-being.
Take note though that this article is not an endorsement for wallowing in negativity. Moderation is the key to a happy and healthy life. Embrace all your emotions, both negative and positive, and find a perfect balance for them.