Shift Your Perspective On Negative Emotions – Why They May Actually Be Good For You!

Morgan Casavant
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Our society is not one that praises negative emotions, and there are endless cliché phrases to prove it. “Don’t get mad, get glad,” “When they go low, you go high,” “Turn that frown upside-down,” and on, and on, and on.

But, guess what?

Negative emotions – anger, frustration, fear, and more – can actually be good for you. When you sit mindfully with negative emotions, you become more emotionally intelligent. You learn how to sort and process your emotions, and you’re better able to learn from your mistakes.

Mostly, negative emotions help you to get creative and get sh*t done. If you constantly focus on positives, if you’re always above the line of contentedness, what motivation do you have to make any change? Every human emotion has a time and place to shine, including the negative ones.
 

Harness the Constructive Power of Your Negative Emotions

Often we’re led to believe that we should quiet down, bury, or ignore our negative emotions and replace them with positive, feel-good vibes. But, more often than not, this leads to an even bigger emotional explosion in the future. So why not listen to the emotions while they’re relevant?
 
Ask yourself why you’re feeling frustrated, angry, sad, let down, or whatever negative emotion you’re feeling. Sit with it. Journal about it. Use this momentum to change what you can about the situation. When you harness the power of your negative emotions in a constructive way, they can be some of the most fantastic teachers.
 
An important distinction here is: constructive. What does that mean?
 
Let’s say you’re angry because someone cut you off in traffic, and you use this anger in a constructive way. You find out this person probably cut you off because they were turning out of a blind spot. Then, you write to your city government to install a traffic light at that intersection. That’s constructive anger – you accomplished something positive!
 
Destructive anger in that same scenario is vastly different. Maybe you lay on your horn and curse them out. Maybe you tail them to make sure they know who’s boss. Maybe you fly by them and flip them off. You get the idea. And it’s probably pretty clear that none of these options accomplish anything other than making sure you have a terrible day.
 

 

The Surprising Upsides of Negative Emotions

Anger, fear, worry . . . they all play a valuable role in your human experience. Actually, they can give you a more accurate and realistic view of the world, and help you to better predict the outcome of future events. Constructive anger and frustration specifically can be a great motivating force to help you achieve status at work or among your colleagues.
 
When we sweep away the things that upset us and don’t tell someone how they’ve hurt us, we’re gradually chipping away at relationships until they crumble. That person will never know they hurt you, and will continue with that behavior. Instead, learn how to feel and express negative emotions, and it can greatly benefit your relationships.
 
These negative emotions can even help us to become more mindful. As you turn the “positivity filter” off, and allow yourself to feel a fuller range of emotions, you’ll be more in tune with your mind and body. You’ll learn that, when you feel certain ways, it’s your body alerting you that something is off.
 

Negative Emotions: It Just Takes a Perspective Shift

Humans are pretty cool, aren’t we? There is no definitive black or white, good or bad. It’s all mixed up in this jumble of “sometimes” and “maybes.” Sometimes positivity is good, sometimes negativity is good, and vice versa.
 
Ultimately remember that it’s OK to feel whatever you’re feeling. Ignoring an emotion, especially negative emotions, just because society has determined they’re not pretty can be way more destructive than actually listening to the emotion and trying to figure out where it came from.
 
And, sometimes, negative emotions are good! They have the constructive power to light a fire under our asses to be productive and accomplish something big. Learning emotional literacy can help us in personal relationships, and even help us get a promotion at work. All it takes is a little perspective shift.
 

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Morgan Casavant

Morgan is a graphic designer and yoga instructor committed to inspiring compassion, balance, and centeredness - on and off the mat. She loves minimalism, the zero waste movement, and all the things working to protect the environment.

morgancasavant.co

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