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Negative Emotions Aren't Negative

Allowing ourselves to sit with difficult emotions

Simply feel them by sobbing, screaming into pillows, or punching pillows helps the emotions run their courses. It’s like the safety valve on a water heater: releasing even a little bit of pressure helps the entire system operate more efficiently.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Negative Emotions Aren't Negative

Negative Emotions Aren't Negative

https://medium.com/personal-growth/negative-emotions-arent-negative-90106f567c19

medium.com

4

Key Ideas

Stigmatizing "bad" feelings

By stigmatizing uncomfortable feelings, we tend to eliminate the visibility of these emotions in society and people who feel sad or depressed believe they are the only ones who feel this way because they don’t see examples of others living with the same emotions around them.

Understanding the source of the emotion puts you in a position to problem-solve it, which means you are back in control and can resolve the emotion.

Understanding the source of the emotion puts you in a position to problem-solve it, which means you are back in control and can resolve the emotion.

There are no bad emotions

Emotions are not “bad” or “good” but simply “comfortable” or “uncomfortable.” And even uncomfortable emotions (like sadness, anger etc) help us point issues we ignored about ourselves.

Allowing ourselves to sit with difficult emotions

Simply feel them by sobbing, screaming into pillows, or punching pillows helps the emotions run their courses. It’s like the safety valve on a water heater: releasing even a little bit of pressure helps the entire system operate more efficiently.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Emotions

They are basal responses that begin in the subcortical areas of the brain responsible for producing biochemical reactions to environmental stimuli that have a direct impact on our physical state.&n...

Feelings

Feelings are preceded by emotions and tend to be our reactions to them. Emotions are a more generalized experience across humans, but feelings are more subjective and influenced by our personal experiences and interpretations, thus they are harder to measure.

Negative Emotions

They can be defined as unpleasant or unhappy emotions evoked in individuals to express a negative effect towards something.

Although some are labeled negative, all emotions are normal to the human experience. And it’s important to understand when and why negative emotions might arise, and develop positive behaviors to address them.

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Emotional clarity

It means that we have a good understanding of how we feel emotionally. 

Label your emotions

Use plain language. The more fluent you are with real emotional language, the more clearly you will be able to think about how you’re feeling.

Clarify your emotions

Get used to the idea of emotional complexity. When we feel upset, we're not feeling one single emotion. We are usually experiencing a blend of many emotions.

Training ourselves to look for and see this emotional complexity is key to better understanding ourselves when we’re upset and moving on in a healthy way.

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Anger and Aggression
  • Anger: An emotion felt when we believe we have been wronged.
  • Aggression: is an act of expression of the anger, by our words our actions. Aggression can be insults, sarcas...
Validation and Boundaries
  • We can try and validate the anger felt by an individual by making them know that their anger is maybe justified while putting firm but respectful boundaries on their aggression.
  • We then need to be clear about what type of aggression we are willing to tolerate, setting boundaries on the unacceptable.
  • We may have to put our foot down and be ready to leave the conversation or escalate the issue, without falling into the trap of guilt and emotion.
  • If possible, we need to restart the conversation when things have cooled down, and diffuse the issue in a calm way.
Avoiding Speculative Self-Talk

Unchecked self-talk can easily turn into self-delusion. The stories we create almost always make you look like the good guy and cannot be termed as objective.

  • The way to get out of this speculative self-delusion is to avoid any speculation about other people's anger, at least initially.
  • Make sure to note down the facts of the situation. This can make the story less according to your gut instinct, and more towards the objective reality.

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Gain Control Over Your Mood
  • Label Your Emotions: There are times that you might feel different emotions. Pay attention to what's really going on inside you to help you take a lot of sting out of that em...
Mood Control = Positive Outlook

Emotions are powerful and managing it is tough at times. But by gaining control over them makes you mentally stronger.

You'll gain confidence in your ability to handle discomfort while also knowing that you can make healthy choices that shift your mood.

Sadness as a Person

A study found that people feel less sad if the feeling of sadness is personified, as it leads to a certain distance between the person and the emotion.

Detached from Sadness

By imagining that Sadness is a person, the sad person becomes detached from his/her sadness.

They can picture the sadness to have human traits or mannerisms, leading to an internal regulation of that particular emotion.

Not for the other Emotions

While this approach of humanizing the emotion appears to work for sadness, it can make a happy person less happy, if that feeling is humanized.

Other complex emotions like guilt and embarrassment may have any kind of effect and are yet to be studied. 

The role of anger
The role of anger

Anger is not actually bad for us - it alerts us to the fact that we've been wronged. The racing heart and hot face is your body preparing for a fight or flight response, energizing you to confr...

Managing your anger

Managing your anger is all about managing your thoughts. Your thoughts will determine how you respond.

Strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy can teach people healthier thought patterns.

The Angry Cognitions Scale (ACS)

It helps a user read a set of blood-boiling scenarios and rates how likely they are to have each of six possible reactions. It enables you to recognize unhelpful thoughts that cause a knee-jerk reaction. For example: When you are driving through a residential area, and someone backs their car out of a driveway and nearly hits you. There are six possible reactions:

  • "They did that just so I'd have to stop." This is a fallacy known as misattributing causation - you don't know the other person's intentions.
  • "They almost totaled my car." It catastrophizes a scary situation into utter destruction.
  • "Nobody knows how to drive anymore" overgeneralizes a specific situation into a universal truth.
  • "I was here first. They shouldn't have gotten in my way." Here you make an unreasonable demand that somehow other people should know where you're going.
  • "That dumb jerk!" is inflammatory labeling that dehumanizes and insults the other person.
  • "He must not have seen me" is adaptive and more likely to calm you down.

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Human Perception

Our five senses combine and create our understanding of what's real and what is not. They tell us what to pay attention to, and what to shun.

The physical environment today is complex and ...

Experiences of Affect

The experience of Affect is the 'sense data' we automatically collect from our surroundings.

The emotions we feel, like sadness, joy or anger, are all experiences of Affect.

Then And Now

Before our modern life, before supermarkets, cities and our predictable routines, we just were. We weren't aware of our feelings but were just reacting/responding to our immediate environment and the situations.

Life was uncertain and immediate in the old times, but now it is more towards the future.

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Anger Is Pleasurable
Anger Is Pleasurable

Anger and the accompanying feelings of revenge are associated with dopamine and norepinephrine secretion in the brain, which feel exhilarating to us.

The neurological chemical systems in th...

Anger Is Mobilizing

Anger is an emotion that can be harnessed, with collective anger being able to spearhead entire movements and disruptions.

Anger has a strangely energizing effect and helps people deal with trauma and grief. Anger is the one emotion that encourages action.

Anger Is Impactful

People listen to an angry person, making it a salient powerful emotion for interpersonal connections.

Entire movies are made of characters taking revenge as they are angry and resentful due to a reason that the audience loves to hear about.

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Persuasive Stories
Persuasive Stories

Content persuasive and memorable enough has the tendency to evoke the person to share it to others, has ethics, emotion, and logic. If the content is credible, has some emotional a...

Evoking Emotion

Studies on the ‘viral’ tendencies of articles showed that:

  • Positive messages were shared more often.
  • Articles evoking an emotional response to the reader fared well.
  • An exciting headline made a big difference.
  • Amusing stories of the same event or news performed better than the duller versions.
What Makes Content Go VIral

Content can go viral when one takes care of the following things:

  1. The emotional value of the content.
  2. Arousal of positivity or excitement in the reader.
  3. An insider culture, a social currency that is understood by a subset of people.
  4. A memory-inducing trigger, which helps one remember the core message.
  5. Practicality and usefulness of the information, making it shareworthy.
  6. Good quality content, packaged in a great story, making it compelling to view and share.
False positivity

We are caught up in a rigid culture that values positivity.

However, when we put aside our difficult emotions in order to embrace dishonest positivity, we fail to discover skills that can hel...

Tough emotions are essential for living

How we deal with our emotions affects how we love, how we live, how we parent and how we lead.

We should not view our emotions as good or bad, positive or negative. We need our emotions for real resilience.

Moving Beyond Emotional Rigidity

When we go through tough situations, we cannot ignore our negative emotions with the hope that they don't matter.

Write down what you are truly feeling in a personal notebook. Move beyond the rigidity of denial.

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