It’s not easy to cope with stress, anger, regret and other negative emotions especially with the fast-paced life most of us are leading today. I’ve done my research and came with five things you can do when you feel bad. However, there’s one thing I’d like to start with which is: Negative emotions aren’t always bad.
“Ancient Stoics believed that there’s actually a lot of peace of mind to be gained in thinking carefully and in detail and consciously about how badly things could go,” says (https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/11/the-art-of-negative-thinking/ ) the British journalist, and bestselling author Oliver Burkeman.
According to the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, exploring the worst case scenario can make you less stressed if you, like most people, tend to over-exaggerate your fears.
“In most situations, you’re going to discover that your anxiety or your fears about those situations were exaggerated. It’s so tempting to respond to anxiety and worry with reassurance, whether it’s in ourselves or our kids or our friends. Somebody is really worried about the future,” he adds.
1. Take a nap
Power naps have so many benefits like boosting your immune function and reducing muscle soreness (https://www.healthline.com/health/5-recovery-tips-prevent-muscle-soreness#stop-overtraining ), but did you know that can improve your mood?
According to one Berkley study (https://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2011/03/afternoon-nap-tunes-out-negative.html ), taking a nap after bad events makes you less sensitive to their negative emotions throughout the day than those who didn’t nap.
2. Talk loudly to yourself
Self-talk is the first thing a soldier focuses on during tough situations according (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljqra3BcqWM ) to the bestselling author, and retired Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink. A 2014 Scottish study (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejsp.2048 ) backs Willink’s claim and recommends talking loudly to yourself using “You” not “I” when feeling bad or unmotivated. Here’s what the study says:
“Experiment 1 revealed that giving self‐advice about a hypothetical social situation using You yielded better anagram task performance than using I. Experiment 2 showed that using You self‐talk in preparation for an anagram task enhanced anagram performance and intentions to work on anagrams more than I self‐talk, and that these effects were mediated by participants’ attitudes toward the task.”
3. Write it down
Journaling your negative thoughts helps you understand them. Negative emotions come and go quickly and journaling helps you catch them before you totally forget about what makes you sad or angry. According to this 2017 study (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170914151529.htm ), keeping a journal is very beneficial especially before big events or if you’re someone who tends to worry a lot.
“Our findings show that if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work toward the task you’re completing and you become more efficient.” Says Hans Schroder the study lead author.
4. Talk to a friend
“Having few friends is more dangerous than obesity and is the equivalent health risk of smoking fifteen cigarettes a day,” writes Eric Baker in his bestseller, Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong.
Venting out —quite similar to expressive writing — makes you feel better and helps you find better solutions to your problems combined with the fact that you’re talking to someone who genuinely cares about you which you can find in a good friend.
Another benefit of having a caring support group is that you get a lot from hugging them. According to studies, hugs have so many health benefits (https://www.healthline.com/health/hugging-benefits#1 ), one of which is reducing stress.
5. Find something you’re grateful for
“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins” this was what Amelia Boone, the four-time world champion in Obstacle Racing, asked to be written on a custom-made bracelet that she wears every day.
“I wear it on my wrist every day as a constant reminder to myself to live in a place of gratitude,” said Boone in an interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV_VwVGXjig ) with Tim Ferris.
If you can find three things to be grateful for every morning, there’s a very high chance the intensity of your negative emotions will go down. According to Todd Kashdan (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090313145939.htm ), the associate professor of psychology at George Mason University, gratitude is the best way to achieve happiness.
When asked “what makes someone happy?” Kashdan said that gratitude along with having meaningful relationships and living in the present are the three keys to happiness in any culture at any time.
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