Negative emotions… they’re awful yet inevitable. No matter who you are — a Debbie Downer or the most positive person — you’ll experience negative emotions from time to time. How do we get rid of them, though? According to experts on the topic, there are ways to banish negative emotions that are very simple. As we’ll see in this article, much of it is based on your way of thinking and how honest you are with yourself in terms of what is worth getting upset, angry, worried, or stressed over, and what is not worth your troubles.
When a negative emotion hits, it can feel like it’s about to ruin our day. Sometimes, it might be something small that sets us off, like the amount of traffic we’re encountering on the way into work. Other times it’s something big, like a break up with a long-term significant other. Despite what stirs up the negative emotion, many of us find ourselves left with one big question: How do I banish this feeling? Luckily, there are some tricks to help rid yourself of the emotion. Of course, the bigger the situation the more difficult the emotion associated with it will be to shake, but for the smaller things that come up in life, we can all actually handle them quite easily if we set our mind to it. Remember, at the end of the day you’re in control of how you feel about things — whether that’s these negative emotions we’re talking about, or the positive ones that can counter it. Let’s get to it. Here are 11 ways to banish negative emotions, according to experts.
1. Let It All Out
Have you ever let emotions completely bottle up, only to end up majorly exploding later down the road? Sometimes it’s best to address our emotions head on as they come up in order to prevent them from lingering, according to the experts at health & wellness site ShareCare.com. According to the experts, if you suppress feelings like sadness or anger, it can end up messing with your personal and professional life. Instead, be mindful of emotions as they come to you and deal with them on the spot, when possible.
2. Laugh It Off
According to researchers, laughter can actually be an effective dose of medicine in banishing negative emotions. Prevention reported on a Stanford University study that showed laughing can boost our mood, as it amps up the amount of dopamine in our brains — a happiness chemical. Try watching a funny YouTube video or reading some of these corny jokes I came across the other day that I personally can’t stop LOLing about.
3. Avoid Trigger Situations When Possible
For many people, there are certain situations that immediately trigger a negative emotion. For instance, let’s say every time you go to a certain restaurant it makes you incredibly sad as it reminds you of an ex-partner. Until that set of emotions has fully passed, consider avoiding that place at all costs. Likewise, if reading old texts from your ex makes you sad, cut it out. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., penned an article for Psychology Today on the topic, and suggested avoiding circumstances that induce these unwanted emotions. This could mean places or things, as mentioned, or avoiding certain people.
4. Weigh How Important The Situation Is
Let’s talk anger for a moment. At times certain things have the power to just set us off, am I right? The key to managing and banishing the anger, though, if allowing yourself to be realistic about how important the situation really is and whether it’s even worth getting mad over, according to anger expert and psychologist Howard Kassinove, Ph.D. Kassinove spoke to the American Psychological Association and suggested thinking through the angering situation at hand very closely. Likely you might find what’s making you mad isn’t very important by any means. He said to be mindful that these might just be unpleasant events that you can easily work around.
5. Find An Outlet
Another important piece to managing negative emotions is finding a healthy outlet for them. Dr. Carmen Harra, clinical psychologist and relationship expert, wrote a Huffington Post piece on controlling emotions and noted the importance of finding the right outlet. According to Hanna, a good outlet might be a friend or family member who is willing to listen to you talk it out. Another good outlet is working out, Hanna added.
6. Try A Writing Exercise
On the topic of finding an outlet for your emotions, you might also consider keeping a journal where you write everything out, according to a Psych Central article by Darlene Mininni, Ph.D, MPH, author of The Emotional Toolkit. Mininni also suggested the idea of putting together a tote bag filled with your “emotional toolkit,” which might include the journal, funny movies, your favorite books, etc. — anything that can work to make you happy.
7. Get Up And Do Something Different
According to Mark Tyrrell, therapist and co-founder of Uncommon Knowledge, sometimes banishing your bad mood might be as easy as getting yourself to change what you’re doing at that exact moment. Let’s say you’re in a terrible mood at work and stress and anger are overcoming you. Try getting up and taking a 15-minute walk outside and refreshing. Tyrrell also suggested thinking of something different, too, as a means of boosting your mood. For example, if you’re angry, Tyrrell recommended thinking about three things you’re grateful for in your life and focusing on those.
8. Don’t Compare Yourself
Comparing yourself to those around you can leave you really vulnerable to feeling inferior. Drop the habit. According to Whitbourne, stop focusing on the people you feel are outdoing you — whether that’s at work or even at the gym — and start putting that focus onto yourself instead. It’ll prevent that inevitable down and out feeling.
9. Don’t Surround Yourself With Negative People
Nothing can make us feel quite as negative as being around negative people. According to the mental health experts at MindTools.com, if — for instance — you surround yourself with people who are constantly worried and anxious, it’s possible you might also begin feeling unnecessarily worried and anxious. Instead, find those who always seem super positive, and start spending some more time with them.
10. Consider Whether You Can Actually Control The Situation
Certain things are simply beyond our control, so getting overly emotional about them is really not going to do anyone any good. According to Kassinove, when it comes to letting ourselves get angry over uncontrollable situations, it’s ultimately a complete waste of our energy. Think it through — if what’s causing you a certain emotion is something you can actually do something about, take action. If not, let it go.
11. Try To Look At The Big Picture
At the end of the day, it’s important to look at the big picture when trying to banish our negative emotions, according to Harra. Take a step back and realize that everything that happens is for a reason, Harra noted, and even things that might seem to only draw out negative feelings for us now might one day sort out for the best in the big picture. “Even in the midst of an emotionally upsetting moment, trust that there exists an ultimate purpose which you will come to comprehend soon,” Harra wrote.
When negative emotions start creeping up, just remember that you can banish them by taking the right actions. Use some of the expert tips above, and you might find you’re feeling better in no time.