Be in Control: Transforming Negative Emotions to Your Advantage
Negative emotions aren’t always bad for you. Be in control and transform your adverse feelings into something productive.
Updated 30 Aug 2019
Let’s face it. Life isn’t always sunshine, butterflies and boba pearls. On some days, you see the crisp sun shining brightly. On others, you get a lot of rain.
But that’s okay. Often, we emphasise on feeling good, happy and the power of positivity. This is great, except bad days are inevitable — and that’s when we get caught off-guard. When things go south and you can’t help feeling angry, sad, jealous or afraid, the best thing you can do is to use it as a catalyst for something positive.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can channel that undesirable energy into good vibes — and live a more fulfilling life.
#1. Transform anger into motivation
You’ve been arguing with your parents all day because they refuse to allow you to attend a concert of your ultimate idol due to your poor results. Or perhaps you didn’t get the part-time job that you desperately wanted. Or your laptop decided to go bonkers — and you didn’t have a backup of your files. You’re fuming. So, what do you do?
Give yourself some time to ponder about your frustration or anger and try to look at your situation through an objective lens. For instance, you were probably more angry at yourself than your parents for not performing well in your studies. Therefore, it’s time to put in more effort and score better the next time around. And if you’ve been rejected from a job, think of ways on how you can polish your interview skills and improve your resume to make it stand out.
Whatever it is, try to use your anger as fuel to motivate yourself to do better.
#2. Channel sadness into creativity
There are many reasons why you feel sad — from a terrible breakup and being rejected by your crush to the loss of a loved one. It is vital to learn how to manage the feeling of grief or sadness, otherwise, you may fall into depression.
Start by acknowledging your sadness, permitting yourself to be sad and crying it all out. Then, find yourself a creative hobby to channel your sadness. Sadness is, in fact, a great source of inspiration to many creatives out there. Whether it’s through painting, dancing or journalling, having a proper outlet to express your grief can prevent you from lashing out at others.
Besides, pursuing creativity can help enhance your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the process. Studies have also shown that pursuing a creative activity can help increase the levels of various neurotransmitters in the brain, namely dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins — adding a dose of happiness to your life.
#3. Use envy as a motivational boost
The myriad of social media platforms we have today has made flaunting the “perfect life” so effortless. It almost feels like every other second, there’s a post of a friend sipping a cuppa at a hipster cafe or enjoying tantalising foods on an exotic holiday. Whether it’s Facebook statuses, Instagram stories or Twitter tweets, it can be hard not to compare and avoid being envious.
Since being competitive is basic human nature, it’s normal for you to feel envious of others who have more, especially if you’ve been eyeing a similar prize. The next time you catch yourself feeling unhappy about your friend’s achievement, question your intention by asking “Why do I feel this way?”, “Do I want what they have?” — and if so, “How can I work towards a similar accomplishment?”.
Consequently, you’ll be more aware of how you feel about others and yourself instead of evading your negative thoughts. Once you’re conscious about what makes you feel awful, you can start working towards making yourself feel good by planning and striving towards your own goal.
#4. Use fear as a stepping stone
“Why am I doing this to myself?”
“Oh gosh, I can’t believe I’m doing this!”
“No, no. I don’t think I can do it.”
You’ve most likely caught yourself uttering these words countless times, whether it’s taking part in a singing competition, running a 20km marathon or delivering a presentation.
So what should you do when fear kicks in? Well, in order to grow and develop, you must brace yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Sure, doing something uncomfortable can be terrifying. At first. But once you’re in the zone and focused on what’s ahead of you, you’ll find your fear subsiding and realise it’s not that big a deal after all. Keep your eye on your goal and remember how rewarding it will feel after you’ve successfully accomplished the task. You will soon realise that these are hidden doorways to growth and opportunities.
It’s good to always keep your emotions in check. Whether you’re feeling up or down, remember that every cloud has a silver lining. It all boils down to whether you choose to look at a cup as half empty or half full. The choice is yours to make.