Today I’m excited to share with you a mental switch I’ve been employing for the last year or so that has made a significant difference in how I move through negative emotions that do not serve me. The emotions I’m talking about are not sadness, frustration, grief, or the like. I sincerely believe life is 50/50 and those difficult emotions are worth feeling deeply, being present too, knowing I am capable of feeling them and then witnessing their grip soften when I choose not to resist them.
The negative emotions that do NOT serve us are things like anxiety, confusion, overwhelm, self pity, etc.
I used to feel these emotions, some of them several times daily, and give them the power to completely unravel my good intentions for that day. Now, I have a different way of addressing them that helps me redirect much more easily and reclaim power and intention in that moment.
It goes like this:
I used to notice anxiety creeping in and remark to myself something like: “I’m feeling so anxious! I hate feeling anxious. When will this leave? I can’t function feeling this way.”
Now, I notice anxiety knocking at my door and I say the following to myself:
“I’m feeling pulled toward the idea of indulging in anxiety right now.”
“I’m feeling pulled”…. reminds me that I have a choice as to whether I give this emotion power in my life right now or not.
“Indulging” … reminds me that anxiety, and its cousin emotions, are a false pleasure as Brooke Castillo calls them. When I reframe the emotion this way, I see how it is simply inviting me to ‘quit’ or ‘abandon’ what I was pursuing because it feels ‘too hard, overwhelming, stressful, etc’. But in the end, if I do, the pleasure is false. It never feels good to abandon the pursuit of something I wanted because I gave these emotions too much power.
Once I’ve reframed the emotion within the context of it being optional and non-serving to my highest self, I often feel less inclined to indulge in it after all.
The next step?
I go on a gratitude rampage. I take 2 minutes to list everything I’m grateful for; everything that is going good, everything I’m good at and all the abundance in my life. THEN, I envision the outcome I’m working toward. With my emotions elevated from something like anxiety to gratitude, I get clear about my intentions and remember the reasons why I’m pursuing whatever it was that triggered my anxiety.
Afterward, get back to work.
I have yet to experience a time when reframing a non-serving, negative emotion this way and following it up with a gratitude practice doesn’t help me bounce back from anxiety/confusion/overwhelm/self pity 10x faster than before. I hope you enjoy this exercise. Just like me, you deserve to have these kinds of coping mechanisms so that when normal, human emotions arise, you are able to choose personal empowerment every time ♥︎