How do you handle your negative emotions? What do you do when you get angry, sad or jealous?
Many people fight these feelings, believing that mastery of oneself means being in total control at all times. They try to cover up their emotions and pretend they don’t exist. They do their best to push them right out of their consciousness and act like nothing ever bothers them.
But this isn’t healthy. It doesn’t work, and it holds us back both professionally and personally. Distancing ourselves from our emotions leads to feelings of loneliness and disconnection from life. What’s more, when we push aside our emotions, the only place to push them to is the subconscious, where they lurk in the background and threaten to surface at the worst possible moments. “Out of sight, out of mind” does not apply here.
The simple truth is that our emotions are what make us human. Getting in touch with them is key to achieving personal mastery. And it takes only a small shift in thinking to transform our relationship with negative emotions and lead a happier, healthier life.
We can accomplish that in three easy steps:
1. Become aware.
Start by slowing down. None of us has ever become more aware of what’s going on inside ourselves by multitasking. So, sit somewhere quiet with no distractions, or go for a walk in nature — without your music player or cellphone. Breathe. Scan your body for discomfort. Take inventory of your feelings. Listen to yourself and be honest about what you’re feeling. You might be surprised at how quickly you can tune in.
2. Embrace your feelings.
When you grasp a deeper awareness of what’s going on inside yourself, accept the feelings. Let yourself be okay with the fact that you’re experiencing them. It’s been proven that accepting your emotional state is the quickest, most healthy way to move through it. The truth is, it’s okay to be angry. Tell yourself, “Right now I’m pissed off — and that’s fine.” Sadness, too, is a natural human emotion that helps us process unpleasant events. Remember: Everything is temporary. A short, powerful phrase that helps is, “This too shall pass.”
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