Occasional negative emotions like fear, anger and sadness are an unavoidable fact of life. But for many of us, there are times when these emotions become overwhelming. Persistent negative emotions like these can sabotage days and weeks when left unchecked.
Some people turn to distractions to soothe negative feelings, such as substance abuse, shopping or other activities that don’t actually help us manage our emotions in a positive or constructive way. Everyone struggles with tough emotional battles from time to time, but we don’t all share the same way of coping with those emotions. The key to dealing with negative emotions is to explore a variety of healthy ways to cope with negative emotions so that we can discover what works best for us.
Get Your Blood Flowing to Calm Your Mind and Heart
Many people have taken up running as a fitness ritual to “blow off steam.” There are myriad health benefits associated with movement, but for someone struggling with chronic stress, anxiety or depression, exercise can be a saving grace.
Physical activity releases natural endorphins in the brain that go to work right away to alleviate pain and discomfort. Endorphins don’t just target muscles, however. These feel-good chemicals impact your brain too, increasing general feelings of well-being. Any body movement, such as walking, hiking or swimming, can immediately improve your mood and also help stabilize moods over time, making this a beneficial option to consider when combating negative emotions.
Practice Mindfulness and Be Present in the Moment
Learning to live in the moment is a way to escape the cycle of worry that often plagues people who are fearful or anxious. Constant worry can lead to the development of an anxiety disorder or depression, so learning to calm that worry is key to managing negative emotions.
Mindful activities like yoga, meditation or even gardening can help us to effectively live in the moment. Being fully present for what we experience and being aware of the thoughts that are going through our mind allows our mood to improve. This mindfulness helps us to face negative emotions while feeling stronger and more capable of handling difficult situations and thoughts.
Find Healthy Activities for Relaxation
A credit card and a department store might not be the best combination to turn to in order to cope with anger or sadness, but activities that are enjoyable or relaxing can be beneficial when it comes to handling our emotions. For example, reading helps us to get out of our routines and away from our own thoughts. Similarly, watching a movie, visiting a museum or spending the day at the beach can be therapeutic when it comes to addressing a bad mood.
Therapy Is a Good Option
If these techniques don’t help you to effectively cope with your emotions, it’s important to seek help from a therapist or your healthcare provider. Therapy will help you learn to cope with your emotions so that you don’t suffer a major emotional setback in the future. If you’ve been experiencing persistent negative emotions for more than two weeks, it’s important to tell your doctor or therapist.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you feel a wave of negative emotions building. We can’t always prevent these emotions, but we can learn how to deal with them in the healthiest ways possible.