When is Feeling Bad Good?

24 Apr

We’ve all heard of the “power of positive thinking.” But sometimes it’s just hard to turn that frown upside down.

So what then?

Sometimes negative feelings persist.

Now, let me be clear. I am not talking about emotions like hopelessness, despair or worthlessness. These are referred to as “empty emotions” and can be signs of depression that need to be treated.

“Beneficial negative feelings,” on the other hand, are characterized more by emotions of anger, guilt, sadness and anxiety.

Often, these are signals. They are reactions to something that has happened. They raise a red flag that we need to protect ourselves.

From what you ask?

Here are a couple of examples:

(a) You’ve been spending more time with the couple next door and you realize how exhausting it’s become.

(b) It’s the third weekend in a row that you’ve devoted to projects around the house and by Sunday night, you are feeling sad … again.

These emotions, such as exhaustion or sadness, may actually be good for us. They can help us to identify what is wrong and motivate us to fix it.

But first you have to recognize what is going on and spend a little time asking why.

The good news is that identifying the emotion is a positive first step.

Now ask yourself … “Why do I feel this way?”

You will likely figure out that you share limited interests with your neighbors or you want some time to pursue your hobbies.

But what do you do about it?

Here’s technique that I find helpful. It’s called “Do it Again.”

If you had to do it is again, what would you change?

Would you politely tell your neighbors that you have other Saturday evening plans? Would you stop doing your house projects at noon on Sunday so you have time for yourself?

The answer to this question can provide clues for what you can change to feel better next time.







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