They help us to avoid danger and better understand ourselves and others.
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What emotions do we call negative?
Negative emotions are usually considered emotions that cause a subjective experience of discomfort or dissatisfaction.
As a rule, they include anger, anxiety, anger, disgust, sadness, shame, and so on. There is no universal list. However, in general, the division of emotions into positive or negative is not entirely productive, because it causes a desire to get rid of the latter as something unnecessary.
Why do we need negative emotions?
It seems that they cause unpleasant feelings. Not only in ourselves, but also in those around us, for example, if we become angry and lose our temper. But discomfort provoked by negative emotions has a functional meaning. And they do not occur by accident.
All emotions fulfill a certain function in the regulation of mental activity. Negative emotions are no exception, they are mainly intended to signal that something is going wrong and to protect the psyche from destruction.
The processes in the psyche are aimed at avoiding pain. This is what the signal function is for, warning of danger, real or imagined. The main negative emotions are anger and fear. The latter is a warning and the former is an impulse, which tells you there are obstacles on the way to the goal, the frustration that prevents you from getting what you want. That is why they are so important.
The third negative emotion, aggression, is one of the main driving forces in the human psyche. Where expected satisfaction is not achieved, it arises. Rather, it is a way of perceiving and behaving in order to achieve what is desired. As long as there are no obstacles in one’s way, the searching activity of the body is minimal. But the moment they arise, tension mobilizes all available forces of the body.
Negative emotions are a reaction to what’s going on around you. And if you listen to them, it will help to make your life better. Let’s say someone violates your boundaries, anger signals that. For example, in the company of friends, someone is always making hurtful jokes about you. You can block out the annoyance and try to laugh with everyone else, but the unpleasant residue will remain. Or allow yourself to be angry, identify the source of discomfort and talk to him that you will not allow such an attitude to you.
Being aware of your emotions and managing them is essential in improving your quality of life. It helps you interact with other people, whether they are housemates, coworkers, or passersby on the subway.
Why you shouldn’t block out negative emotions?
If you suppress your negative emotions, you’ll only feel the good ones. And that will make you happier. But that’s not entirely true.
It’s important to understand that our emotional register functions this way: either all emotions are available at one time or are not. That is, our world is either colored or black and white. If we don’t want to experience negative emotions, we automatically begin to filter the emotional flow, and our access to positive ones will also be reduced.
Negativity is of course unpleasant to experience, but the experience of conscious work with one’s emotions, the development of emotional intelligence, and the awareness of the reasons why this or that feeling appeared help to change one’s attitude to it over time. That is, after some time, having experienced anger, and disgust and having analyzed the situation, we will feel enormous gratitude because these emotions have protected us from possible trouble.
Moreover, blocking emotions is like putting a lid on a pot full of boiling water. The steam will have to come out anyway. In doing so, it can tear the barrier and scorch everyone around it.
It is possible to suppress and block strong negative emotions, but one cannot do it indefinitely and without a trace. They will still find a way out, for example, through passive aggression. A striking example – you were angry at your boss, but suppressed this feeling. And now for some reason begun to be constantly late for work which annoys him, but not so much to go out in open conflict with you.
Repressed anger can also develop into autoaggressive behavior – causing psychological or physical harm to yourself. Let’s say, self-blaming, punishing yourself by overeating until your stomach hurts, or by exhausting your workouts. By the way, compulsive pimple squeezing also belongs to such actions.
To understand how unlived anger can affect your physical health, just think of your bodily sensations when you’re angry – the tremendous tension inside, the clenched jaw, the rapid pulse, and the heartbeat. But the “hit or run” survival strategy is not being implemented, which means that this energy is hitting your cardiovascular and immune systems continuously.
How to live through negative emotions?
We’ve determined that they can’t be blocked, but they also cause discomfort. So what do you do with them to suffer less? The emotion cannot be stopped, but you can deal with it more quickly.
Analyze how long this emotion has been developing. What events contribute to it? Try to focus, for example, on breathing, and then try to look at the situation and yourself from the outside, observe the emotion, and mentally move it to some distance.
If negativity is overwhelming you, you can use the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Take turns turning your attention to:
5- Objects you see
4- Sounds you hear;
3- Tactile sensations;
2- Smells you can distinguish;
You can perform these steps at a comfortable pace. The main thing is that focusing attention on the senses allows you to focus on the present, and counting objects suspends the cycle of thoughts.
Breathing exercises, such as breathing 4-7-8, also work effectively. This basic technique involves breathing in through the nose for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and exhaling through the mouth for eight seconds. For beginners will be sufficient for four cycles, and for practitioners for several weeks or more, the number can be increased to eight.
To discern, live through, and manage your emotions, try to bring into your daily life what pleases and energizes you. These activities may be related to physical comfort, social needs, or personal values. For example, for some it may be growing potted flowers or taking a walk in the park, for others, it may be reading a book in a comfortable armchair under a blanket or meeting with friends.
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