Throughout our day to day lives, we experience an array of emotions. Some are positive, like hope, happiness, and affection, while others, such as anger, loneliness, and despair, are negative. All of them are quite normal and inevitable, and often times we forget that everyone experiences these emotions at some point in their lives. We tend to embrace positive emotions for all good reason. Being content contributes stronger to personal well-being than being annoyed, as excitement has to the potential to yield more positivity than anguish or apathy. Positive emotions just feel like the norm, and when an individual isn’t experiencing one, it leaves plenty of room for other emotions to creep in.
When you experience an emotion like boredom, the initial reaction is to try to get rid of it. by finding something to fill your time with. Perhaps you find an engaging activity to move you from boredom to curiosity, or maybe you look for the easier route of a simple distraction. We’re always trying to change our emotions when they don’t sit well with us. Often times people who experience anger act upon it in as a way to let out their rage, or they suppress it internally as a way to cope with it. These methods don’t allow any room for healthy progress though. It only fuels the seed of anger even more. You would never try to suppress feelings of ecstasy or gratitude, but only try to extend their experience, so why should you neglect negative emotions?
A healthy way to deal with these not-so-pleasant emotions is to recognize them simply as what they are. They are feelings – they are not you – and they will pass in time. They will also pass easier with mindfulness. It’s easy to ruminate on an emotion. “I am angry, and this makes me angrier!!” But those sort of thoughts just make the emotion swell in size even more. We don’t seek out anger, it comes to us, it resides in us, and, in sequence, it leaves us. It extends its stay when we give it attention or when we hid it deep within us.
These negative emotions might feel like intruders, but instead of getting defensive, take a moment and try to observe them. Is there a reason why they feel so massive and uncontrollable? Is there a pattern to their arrival and stay? Are they triggered by something in particular? Once you try to understand a certain emotion, you’ll begin to know how to deal with it when it comes back around. No one wants to feel angry or depressed, and no one really wants to acknowledge it. But those feelings are normal, and with positive attention, from mindfulness, meditation, and other methods of well-being, one can harvest the benefits of focusing on positive emotions, and keep the seeds of negative ones from sprouting out of control.
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