We all experience negative emotions from time to time. Its quite natural and part of the beauty of being human, but we need to see and understand the role of negative emotions in our life.

Instead of backing away from negative emotions, accept them. Acknowledge how you are feeling without rushing to change your emotional state. I often tell my clients that a thought is just a thought and a feeling just a feeling, nothing more. If the emotion is overwhelming, you may want to express how you feel in a journal or to another person.

You may also try doing mindfulness exercises to help you become aware of your present experience without passing judgment on it. This practice may make it easier to accept unpleasant thoughts. Earlier this year a study found that among 125 individuals with a history of trauma who were also in treatment for substance dependence, those who were naturally more mindful both coped better with their trauma and craved their drug less. Likewise, in a 2016 study psychologists found that a therapy that included mindfulness training helped individuals overcome anxiety disorders. It worked not by minimizing the number of negative feelings but by training patients to accept those feelings.

It is impossible to avoid negative emotions altogether because to live is to experience setbacks and conflicts. Learning how to cope with those emotions is the key. To make things clear, I don’t want to glorify anger, rage, and sorrow. Alone, they create destruction. With awareness and the full availability of the higher brain, however, they can be transformed into fuel for amazing changes. When we start to see things clearly, we can use our emotions masterfully… instead of being mastered by them. Using all of our emotions to allow personal growth is utilizing typically negative emotions powerfully AND peacefully. Truly there’s a something meaningful in this.

Peace and Love, Jim

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