There’s a fork in the road when it comes to negative emotions. One direction is that when channeled productively, negative emotions can propel you to new heights. The other direction, of course, is that they become toxic for you and can inhibit your well-being and those of others.
All negative emotions are completely normal, and as humans, they are innate for survival in our epigenetics from the beginning of time when we had to daily fight for survival. Look at ‘comparison’ for example. Historically, in the times of our ancestors, it was the difference between survival and death. With more understanding, it means that we can channel our emotions productively because we realise that the person triggering us is multifaceted and is not only provoking a strong emotion like anger, but other emotions too. Cultivate a healthy and positive mindset around the negative emotions. Know it’s an alarm system trying to alert you. If we are not careful and have not learned to regulate and manage our negative emotions, our amygdala, a part of our brain, gets hijacked and all reasoning goes out the window and then we are a slave to our negative emotions. We need to make sure that our frontal cortex is getting enough oxygen to help out and that is why breathing exercises in these situations are so effective. The key is not to repress these feelings because they will come out stronger. Feelings that are pushed down notoriously become worse if denied. Label the negative emotion you are feeling to disarm it to some extent. But the magic is in how we choose to regulate these negative emotions and manage them. That is the defining difference between power and destruction.
In NLP terms, it’s important to reframe negatives to enable us to have emotional freedom and to not be overcome and a slave to our negative emotions.
Any negative emotion is a trigger from our unconscious. We should treat it like a friend here to help us. Imagine asking a toddler to help you paint walls of a room and leaving them with some paint for a few minutes, you may walk back into the room and they have painted all over the floor and wall and think they have helped you. This is like the subconscious. Sometimes it is thinking it is helping you when in fact it is jeopardising you because when it witnesses you experiencing negative emotions, it wants to help you but is like a toddler in the sense that it does what it thinks is best. If you say ‘I hate public speaking’, it will try and help you get out of any public speaking by giving you anxiety, and making you sweat. It needs to be trained and managed. Assign it a different, healthier role that can enhance and not jeapordise your life.
Let’s look at some emotions and the powers of them as opposed to their weaknesses. Many people view envy as something that festers and eats away at you to make you become so critical and negative. But the power of envy channelled in a productive way is that it can inspire you to be a better you and to be the catalyst for transformation. Everyone feels envy, but some people are adamant that they have never felt it. This could be because at the first sign of envy, they are channeling it into something positive and productive so they are not aware of originally feeling it. It links very closely to inspiration. Anger can induce distorted thinking and can permanently destroy your relationships with those close to you and can be detrimental to your health. And, of course, there is the extreme form of anger, which is violence and is very destructive. However, by channelling it productively, it can energise us and promote us to solve problems. It helps us to survive and gives us a sense of control and optimism. Sadness, at its most toxic, can be debilitating and can snowball to larger issues, such as depression. It can be very insular and self-consuming. But focusing on sadness in a reframed way, you become more observant and realise how powerful words can be and are more careful how you use them. You become a better listener. Anxiety can be crippling and can make us prisoners and give us the extremities of the fight, flight or freeze response. But it can be extremely beneficial and keeps us excited and motivated about life. We become engaged and not complacent It can be a great warning sign to shift something that needs shifting. It makes you more vigilant and to pay more attention to that which you are anxious about. You are more sensitive and empathetic to others.
The key is to feel these emotions but to have the emotional regulation to be able to manage them and redirect them so that they become beneficial. Many people talk about how a state of heightened emotion was a catalyst for positive change for them. This is also the case for me and why I launched my six-figure business. The choice is yours as to which direction in the fork in the road you are going to take with your negative emotions.