HJ: Until we heal and release negative emotions, they remain in our minds and hearts, forcing us to re-experience them endlessly. However, there are sound, proven techniques for dealing with and healing negative emotions as they arise in our lives.
It is important to remember, as always, that nothing is ever good or bad. This type of dualistic thinking causes us to miss the hidden lesson in all of our circumstances. Every single emotional reaction has a lesson to teach us about ourselves; either helping us to realize an area of heart/mind that still needs healing or to confirm and reinforce a truly life-affirming mindset. Either way, there is rich personal meaning.
The thing is that difficult or ‘negative’ emotions arise when we feel hurt, violated or are somehow in pain. We typically don’t like to dwell in these states so we quickly try to move out of them in whatever way we know how. However, this usually translates to burying, ignoring or suppressing the negative emotion instead of clearing it out right on the spot. Then, when future circumstances, events, situations, people, etc. in some way trigger the thoughts or feelings associated with this negative emotional charge, we re-experience them once again.
This causes us to react to situations in habitual ways that are highly irrational and based on an unhealed hurt we acquired sometimes weeks, months, years or even decades ago. These unhealed emotions can then cause us a myriad of problems in our present day life. They can influence our relationships, our ability to tap into our natural abundance, our self image, and so, ad infinitum.
But the best part is that these emotional charges can be healed by you, with the right tools, as soon as your are ready. You can free yourself from these ‘chains to the past’ and stop reliving them in the now moment — permanently.
The two articles below will empower you with the skills and understanding that you need to begin living life in an emotionally free and liberated way, transmuting and healing negative emotions instantly as they arise. In every sense, a truly a liberated state.
Healing Negative Emotions
Dealing with your negative emotions is an extremely daunting task. While providing psychological support I often notice that some get washed away in the storm, forget their identity and assume the character of the negative emotion. They hurt themselves or lash out at the world in general. They think that by catharsis they will feel better. However, raw release of negativity ends up causing harm – both to the individual experiencing it and others.
There are others who are so scared of negative emotions that they constantly deny these feelings. They are continuously searching for quick relief through addictions, fake ideologies, money, sexual adventures and flamboyance, and thereby deceive themselves and others into believing that they are happy. In the long run, this defense crumbles and there is a sudden resurgence of the denied emotion.
Society perceives negative emotions as a sign of weakness, as a sign of immorality or disease. These widespread faulty beliefs are responsible for difficulties that individuals experience in handling negative feelings. People are so ashamed of owning up these feelings that they are unable to develop a pathway to transcend it. Negative emotions are neither a sign of psychological disorder nor an indication of inner depravity. These emotions are a normal and natural signal that tells us there is something wrong. In my experience I often find that if we understand this signal and take corrective steps we can transcend the negative. Transcendence neither implies embracing nor denying the negative emotion. It can be achieved by self-observation, building empathy and expression.
1. The first step is to openly experience and observe the emotion but prevent any kind of action. Sit still and let emotions come up in your mind. Witness all the feelings and associated thoughts. Do not act on your feelings. Translate raw emotions into words; come up with elaborate description of how you feel. Think or write freely whatever comes to your mind without any censorship. This in itself is very healing as emotions get space for expression. Once emotions get translated into words their intensity comes down automatically.
2. Developing empathy for one’s emotions is the second crucial step. When confronted with negative emotions people wrongly assume that having negative feelings indicate that they are bad and flawed. It is these learnt judgments that make people feel scared of their own deeper psychology. Drop these judgements and openly accept the way you feel. Tell yourself that it is perfectly human to feel hurt, angry and miserable. Remind yourself that when Shiva was mourning the loss of his wife Sati, he also experienced immense pain and rage. Both pleasure and pain are an integral part of life. We cannot always choose pleasure and escape pain. Tell yourself that you also can feel vulnerable and it is alright to feel vulnerable. As you internalise this stance you will feel light and liberated.
3. Once you have accepted and understood your negative emotions proceed to the third step of constructive expression of emotions. Develop empathy for others– they hurt you because they were also hurt. Within every perpetrator there is a former victim. Let’s break this cycle by stopping ourselves from being the perpetrator and victimising others. It means expressing your emotions in a manner that makes you feel heard but at the same time does not hurt the feelings of others. To master negative emotions we don’t need to fight but to provide constructive space for our feelings.
By Peter Shepherd | Trans4Mind
One technique we have found profoundly effective is a process of consciously and intentionally releasing emotions as they arise – a technique developed by Lester Levenson.
In essence, Levenson found that people have three usual ways of handling a feeling:
- The first way is to suppress the feeling. But suppressed feelings don’t go away – they build up and fester inside, causing anxiety, tension, depression, and a host of stress-related problems. The repressed energy (or ‘charge’) these suppressed feelings create eventually drives you to behave in ways you don’t like or understand, and which you cannot control.
- The second way is to express the feeling. By ‘blowing up’ or losing our tempers we relieve the pressure of the accumulated emotions. This can feel good because it puts the feeling into action – but it doesn’t get rid of the feeling, or the roots that create the feeling; it simply relieves the pressure of it momentarily. Negative emotions may also be unpleasant for the person on the receiving end, which in turn causes more distress and guilt.
- The third common way to cope with feelings is by attempting to avoid the issue by attending instead to distractions – by talking, watching TV, eating, smoking, drinking, taking drugs, having sex, etc. But despite our attempts to escape them, the feelings are still there – and still take their toll in the form of stress.
But there is another option for handling a feeling – you can focus on it, fully experience it, and then let go of it: release it, discharge it.
This is the healthiest way to handle a feeling that is consuming us. We’ve all had the experience of being in the midst of an emotional explosion and then suddenly began to laugh at ourselves, realizing how silly or inappropriate or useless our behavior is. In other words we became conscious.
Typical feelings include the following:
- Apathy and related feelings such as cold, cut-off, dead, defeated, depressed, discouraged, disillusioned, drained, futile, hopeless, lost, numb, overwhelmed, resigned, shocked, stuck, worthless, neglected, unaccepted, insignificant, lifeless, abandoned, loveless, pessimistic, rigid, stagnant, stopped, insensitive, disconnected, depressed, defeated.
- Grief and related feelings such as abandoned, abused, accused, anguished, ashamed, betrayed, blaming, cheated, embarrassed, helpless, hurt, ignored, left out, longing, loss, melancholy, misunderstood, neglected, lonely, pity, poor me, regret, rejection, remorse, sad, unhappy, melancholic, betrayed, discouraged, self-punishing.
- Fear and related feelings such as trapped, anxious, apprehensive, cowardly, devious, doubt, dread, foreboding, inhibited, insecure, jealous, guilty, nervous, panicky, scared, secretive, shaky, shy, stage-fright, suspicious, tense, trapped, withdrawn, worried, threatened, fearful, undesirable.
- Resentment and related feelings such as exploited, harassed, frustrated, deprived, hurt, embarrassed, used, abused, confused, rejected, offended, unacknowledged, disappointed, ignored, hidden hostility.
- Anger and related feelings such as aggressive, annoyed, defiant, demanding, disgusted, fierce, frustrated, furious, hatred, impatience, lack of control, mad, mean, outraged, rebellious, rude, spiteful, rigid, stern, stubborn, vengeful.
- Antagonism and related compulsive feelings such as aloof, argumentative, arrogant, boastful, clever, contemptuous, craving, critical, demanding, driven, envious, frustrated, greedy, impatient, judgmental, manipulative, lack of acceptance or approval, need to be right, lust, obsessed, pushy, vicious, violent, righteous, ruthless, selfish, self-satisfied, snobbish, spoiled, superior, unforgiving, vain; wanting desperately to have or to hurt; wanting to make another wrong.
- Indifference and related feelings such as bored, careless, cautious, conservative, forgetful, indecisive, lazy, sceptical, tired.
- Enthusiasm and related feelings such as adventurous, alert, amused, anticipating, aware, competent, confident, courageous, creative, curious, daring, decisive, desire, eager, friendly, happy, independent, interested, joyful, motivated, open, positive, proud, resourceful, self-sufficient, strong, supportive, vigorous.
- Love and related feelings such as acceptance, balance, beauty, belonging, compassion, delight, ecstasy, empathic, open, receptive, secure, understanding, wonder.
- Serenity and related feelings such as calm, centered, complete, free, fulfilled, peaceful, perfect, pure, whole.
Note: the last three are positive feelings – it is important to release on even very good feelings such as serenity, love and enthusiasm, for driving these feelings are sometimes hidden and compulsive needs and desires. When you release these good feelings you feel a physical and emotional release, just as when you release negative feelings. What lies behind the emotion is something even better, an imperturbable serenity, the Higher Self.
The Release Procedure
Step One: Locate. First think of some problem area in life – something that is of great urgency and concern. It may be a relationship with a loved one, a parent or child; it might be your job, health or fears. Or it might simply be the feeling that you are experiencing now.
Step Two: Identify your feeling. Determine your feeling about the problem area, or the current feeling. What word comes to mind? If necessary examine the previous list of feelings as a reminder. Check on the list also to determine the primary nature of the feeling – for example, if you perform your releasing operation on fear, rather than hesitance or worry, you will find the results are much more dramatic and powerful.
Step Three: Focus. What do you really feel? Open yourself up, become aware of the physical sensations attached to the feeling and focus on them.
Step Four: Feel your feeling. Deliberately create it. Let your feeling inhabit your entire body and mind. If the feeling is a grief feeling, you may break into tears; if it is anger, you may feel your blood begin to boil. That’s good – now is the time to feel the feeling.
Step Five: Individuate. Become aware of the difference between your Self – YOU – and what that Self is FEELING. When the feeling is fully experienced and accepted, there will at some point be a clear sensation that your feeling is not you, so it would be possible to let go of the feeling.
If you do not feel that it is possible to let the feeling go, feel it some more. Sooner or later you will reach a point where you can truthfully answer: “Yes, I could let this feeling go”.
Step Six: Learn the lesson. Spot the underlying thought, assumption, decision or intention, and how it has been driving your emotions. See now how rational it is in interpreting your current circumstances, even though it may have seemed appropriate in the past. What do you learn from this?
The most vital aspect of this process is the learning of life lessons. Unless you recognize what you are to learn from your negative emotions, they will not release permanently, because they will have to regenerate again until the lesson is learned once and for all. After all, the very nature of negative emotions is a message to you — letting you know that something needs to be learned.
Circumstances create themselves in order to bring an opportunity into your life for the specific purpose of teaching you a valuable positive learning. When you don’t recognize the situation as an opportunity to learn, another situation will be created. And it will continue to be re-created until the lesson is learned.
Step Seven: Release. When will you let this feeling go? Sooner or later you will be able to answer: “I am willing to let this feeling go now”. So let the feeling go, simply release it, if you haven’t done so spontaneously. It feels good to let it go – all the built-up energy that has been held in the body is released. There is a sudden decrease in physical and nervous tension. You will feel more relaxed, calm, centered.
Step Eight: Check. Do you still have any of the feeling? If some of it is still there then go through the procedure again. Often releasing is like a well – you release some and then more arises. Some of our pent-up emotions are so deep that they require a number of releases.
After you have learned to release emotions with the Release technique, with plenty of practice you will become familiar with obtaining the “witness view” of your thoughts and feelings – you will be less identified with them. This makes it easier to release spontaneously, in real-time – new painful emotions never get suppressed but are fully experienced, dis-identified with and let go of straight away. Simply becoming aware of a feeling is enough to trigger a natural, spontaneous release, and you will carry this ability over into your everyday life, resulting in a stress-free mind and body.