How to Process Negative Emotion

By: Kristin Martineau | March 13, 2018

Did you know that you aren’t supposed to be happy all the time?

Of course you know that intellectually. But do you ever wonder if something is wrong with you because you don’t feel happy?

So many of my clients tell me that they feel sad about being depressed. Or they get mad at themselves because they were angry.

We all do this, but it really makes no sense at all! We think we “should” be happy so when we feel a negative emotion we pile more negative emotion on top of it!

Why do we do this?

Because we are so adverse to feeling negative emotion that we end up resisting the feeling instead of allowing it.

Ironic, because it only creates more of the emotion that we don’t want to feel.

Resisting an emotion is like trying to push a beach ball under the water. You don’t want to acknowledge it’s there, so you try and push it way down where no one will see it. This only gives the beachball more power and eventually it comes shooting up.

What if you just allowed the emotion to be there like a beach ball floating on the water? You’d have to notice it and just let it be there, but eventually it just floats away. Maybe it comes back a few times, maybe not. But it’s not nearly as powerful as it would be if you were trying to push it down.

In order to learn how to properly allow a negative emotion you have to first, acknowledge that a negative emotion can’t hurt you. It doesn’t do anything to you except feel yucky in your body, but you can handle that, right?

Second, name the feeling. Notice what it feels like in your body. Where do you feel it? How does this emotion make you want to react? If you feel yourself tensing up and leaning away from the emotion just notice that you want to do that. Take a deep breath and then open yourself to the emotion. Lean into it. Let it run its course in your body.

I call this practice going into “watcher space.” You realize that the emotion is separate from you. You don’t have to react to it. It’s like you are standing on the bank of a river watching the water rush by. You can see and appreciate how strong the current is but you don’t have to be swept away by it. You aren’t drowning in it.

This skill is one of the most important things I teach my clients. It takes some practice, but as soon as they learn to do this they become so much more powerful over their emotional lives.

Click here to sign up for a free mini session. Take the step to becoming more powerful in your own life!

Leave a Reply