When you’re feeling miserable, it’s the most natural thing in the world to want to wallow in your misery.
Angry people do it by obsessing about what others have done to them. Sad people do it by summoning up their disappointments. Worried people do it by anguishing about the “what ifs” of life. Frustrated people do it by giving up their goals as soon as the going gets tough.
Though there is something to be said for feeling miserable from time to time (how else would you appreciate feeling great?), many people hold on to negative emotions for way too long. They don’t just feel their emotions, they embrace them, defend them, indulge them – until these feelings morph into an identity.
The upshot? They no longer just feel angry, sad, worried or frustrated; they become people with a chip on their shoulder, despair in their heart, fear in their soul, failure on their mind. Don’t let this happen to you! Let go of your negative emotions by doing what doesn’t come naturally. That is, act contrary to the way you’re feeling!
When you’re feeling ticked off with someone, it’s easy to keep recalling all the affronts that you endured. Of course, you feel angry. But don’t stay angry. Instead, do something for yourself that you truly enjoy. Have you heard the adage, "Living well is the best revenge."
When you’re down in the dumps, it’s easy to just hang around, feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, push yourself to do something that will lift your mood – surround yourself with music, dare to dance, watch a funny movie, walk on the beach, contact an upbeat friend, visit an engaging website.
When you feel frustrated with the laborious work you need to do to reach your goals, it’s easy to just give up. Why keep struggling? Instead of giving in to frustration, take a short break. Remind yourself why you want to achieve this goal. Then begin again with a fresh approach. Persevere. Be smarter this time. Make a new mistake. Edison claimed that it took him more than 1,000 tries to invent the light bulb. His attitude? Not failure; he had simply found 1,000 ways to NOT create a light bulb.
Though it will undoubtedly feel counterintuitive to act contrary to the way you feel, that’s exactly what you need to do to expel the negative emotions that so easily drain your energy, your time and your life.
Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior.
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If you'd like to pump up your productivity, check out Dr. Sapadin’s new book HOW TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE. Take a quiz to determine your personality style(s) (perfectionist, dreamer, worrier, crisis-maker, defier and pleaser). Then delve into the change program tailor-made for you. Don’t delay! Get on the success path now!
Follow on twitter @DrSapadin or Facebook Linda Sapadin, PhD.