Having negative thoughts is a normal part of the human experience. Our minds run through thoughts constantly and many of them are negative but harmless. For example, when we’re unhappy with a business’s customer service or are waiting in a long queue.
But we can also feel strong negative emotions that affect us profoundly and erode our happiness, work performance, relationships, and other areas of life.
Fortunately, there are ways to process negative feelings and find our way back to a basic sense of wellness.
The next time you’re feeling down, use the following tips to manage your negative emotions.
Freewriting is a great tool used by writers to overcoming writing blocks and to create content fast. However, Mark Levy, the author of Accidental Genius also recommends it as a way to solve business problems or help you process personal issues.
The process of freewriting involves setting a timer and writing without pause. This means that you don’t stop to even think or edit your writing.
What this does is allow you to get your thoughts out in full on paper or on a screen. As you write, you’ll be surprised by powerful insights hidden to you. And you’ll process your feelings and release them right away.
If you’re ever stuck, whether you’re trying to get past procrastination or need new ideas for a blog post, freewriting is a good way to channel negative feelings.
There’s an interesting approach to dealing with negativity shared by Hazel Gale, author of The Mind Monster Solution. In it, you’re encouraged to focus on your negative thoughts and express them through drawing, doodling, painting or other methods.
Essentially, you use your imagination, the movement of your hand, and different tools to express negative thoughts into images that embody them.
You can use tools you have at hand like a pencil, chalk, pens, or paints to express what your thoughts and feelings are like. But also feel free to use graphic design platforms and digital drawing tools for your work.
This has a therapeutic effect where you isolate your negative thoughts into a form or shape. And when you can see it and separate yourself from it, you’re in a better place to overcome your feelings.
Look for lessons
Some negative feelings like poor body image or fear of failure tend to stick around. So, trying to fight them or avoiding them won’t help. And if you try to avoid these feelings too often, you can end up coping with them with bad habits like excessive spending or emotional eating.
You need to sit with your negative feelings even though it’s uncomfortable. And then, as your negative feelings surge ask yourself what hidden lessons these feelings are trying to present to you.
Think of them as pain signals that get sent to your brain to let you know that you have a physical injury. Pain indicates that you need to get help by seeing a doctor or dressing a wound.
Likewise, negative feelings tell you that something isn’t working and that you should find the problem and heal it.
What does it practically look like when you seek lessons in negative feelings? You could sit down and close your eyes to get a better focus. Let your mind wander to the persistent negative feeling – it could be guilt, an unreasonable desire for success, fear of public speaking, or something else.
Instead of indulging in these feelings and feeding them by asserting they are your truth, try to let the feelings exist. Then ask yourself if there are lessons that available for you to learn from and then stay silent and see what surfaces. For example, you may discover that your feelings of anxiety come from working too hard but not being recognized.
Once you know what’s going on, you can transform your negative feelings and focus on your wellness.
Negative emotions come and go, but ones that linger should be channeled and addressed. In this post, I’ve shared three great ways to practically channel negative thoughts and feelings.
Repeat these practices until you feel relief and it’s always a good idea to talk to a friend or a counselor to get external viewpoints.
As you feel better and re-channel your energy, you’ll get to focus on personal fulfillment.