Turn Negative Emotions into Your Greatest Source of Strength

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 · Leave a comment

I always say if there’s anything we’re assured of in life besides death and taxes, it’s stress and pain. While that may seem like a doomsday statement, if you look at it again, it’s actually quite freeing. If you know stress and pain are inevitable, then you can learn how to be grateful for the good when it’s here and be graceful when the stress and pain arrives.

Here’s a short passage from Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind that gives voice to this.

“It is what it is, while it is. Nothing lasts forever. Difficulties will pass and so will the wonders; tune in to the preciousness of life.

Bring this awareness into the moments of your day, tuning in to what really matters.”

Life is so precious.

How can we get better and better at setting aside the trivial mind traps that keep us stuck and drag us down into states of anxiety and depression?

  • We get stuck comparing ourselves to others in an endless game of judgment and unworthiness that poisons our souls and relationships.
  • We become enslaved by the brain’s natural negativity bias. Driven by fear it anticipates the worst case scenarios driving catastrophic thinking and dis-ease.
  • In an effort to expel a difficult feeling we are compelled to blame others or ourselves for missed expectations. This only makes matters worse.

What it really comes down to is there are moments in life that are hard. What would it be like to acknowledge that and turn a caring attention toward ourselves in an effort to approach the wounded part of ourselves rather than avoiding?

Say to yourself, “While this is a temporary feeling, it is here right now, how can I care for it, what do I need?”

You can learn to turn your difficult emotions into your greatest teachers and sources of strength.

Play with this in the days that come, watch the love inside grow and watch how infectious it can be to the people around you. Imagine the ripple effects.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

This article originally appeared on Psych Central’s Mindfulness & Psychotherapy blog. Republished with permission.

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