Expressing Negative Emotions

Expressing Negative Emotions

Whether we express them or not we all experience feelings. It is often easier, and more acceptable to others, for us to express the positive emotions however this is not the case with negative emotions. As children we may have been told that it was not tolerable to be angry, even less to express it - that we needed to wipe out tears and stop crying. Some of us learn to suppresses or deny our difficult emotions, however, this is not healthy for us emotionally or physically.

We need to understand that emotions are not moral, they are not good or bad, they are what they are. However, the way we choose to act in light of our emotions becomes as moral issue, particularly when we make a choice to behave in a way which is unhealthy to our selves or destructive to those around us.

In dealing with negative emotions, the first step is to name them. For some of us it is useful to create  a list of emotions which can help us to identify what we are experiencing. If we are unable to create our own list we can do an internet search and find lists of emotions online. Once we have been able to name the emotion we can also ask ourselves the following  question: What is it about a/this particular situation that has made you feel that way?

It is also helpful to pay attention to what your body is feeling or how it is responding in light of the named emotion. Your body's response to an emotion is real and is connected to the limbic systems response - emotions are part of our limbic system (involuntary, autonomic nervous system). It is due this physical impact that emotions have, that it is important for us to acknowledge how we feel and deal with our negative emotions. Negative emotions ignored can lead to muscular tension, headaches, increased blood pressure, ulcers and asthma - to name just a few physical side effects of emotion we can experience.

For some, simply acknowledging how we feel about a situation and naming the emotion it sufficient for us to let go. For others it may not be as simple. The following suggestions may help us to actively process out emotions. some people may find release in being creative and the following are possible therapeutic options:

Play an instrument as a way to express yourself through sound

Listen to music that connects to your mood

Paint or draw as a way to express yourself visually, or create an intuitive drawing (

Dance as a way to express and release built up negative emotions and stress. The exercise of dance will also allow for emotional release

Write a short story that focuses on similar thoughts and emotions to what you are experiencing. You can also write a poem or song lyrics about what you are feeling

Photography - get out and take a number of photos. Then look through what you have shot and find 1 or 2 photos that really speak to your current emotions

Write a letter, you do not intend to send, to someone who may have been the cause of your negative emotions expressing what you feel

Further practical ways of dealing with your emotions can be one/some of the following:

Create a personal diary, journal, or even create a blog to keep track of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences

Go to the gym or do a physical workout with the specific intent to work out the energy created by the negative emotions. Lifting weights or hitting a punching bag can be a good way to release stress

Do yoga, tai chi, or some other mind-body exercise to release the physical stress behind your emotions

Speak to a friend or person you trust about your thoughts and feelings

Ask yourself if your emotions are trying to communicate something to you - often there is a thought process behind what we feel that we can learn from. In a sense you can then reframe the emotions and experience

When reflecting on negative events in your life, try to see how they may have made you a better person. Often these experiences can build resilience in the long-term

Go out to your local park or a nature preserve. Nature can often help us get outside of our minds and appreciate the world around us more.

Take a light walk to help process some of your emotions and clear your mind.

Do something kind for someone. Creating pleasant feelings for others can increases our own sense of well-being

Meditate on your thoughts and emotions without being judgmental. Don’t label them as “good” or “bad” – just accept them for what they are.

Respectfully confront someone who may be responsible for how you feel.

Look around you and become aware of things you are grateful for

For further information on this subject read the following articles below or do some more investigation on the internet, there are bound to be other useful articles on this subject.