Figuring out how to release negative emotions can be a challenge. During the day, you might experience anger or some other sort of bad feeling several times. It can build up to the point where you want to get your negative feelings out, but you might not know how to do it in a healthy way. In some cases, releasing a negative feeling can make things even worse, such as lashing out at a loved one or a co-worker.
You can turn an unhealthy emotion into a positive one. You can escape that limiting belief that may be holding you back from truly enjoying life. But it’s going to take some effort, and a lot of patience, to do it successfully. Here are some ways you can support your emotional intelligence and find a positive outlet for the negativity you might be experiencing.
Feeling Stress, Fear, Or Even Anger? How To Release Negative Emotions
It can be hard to express a negative emotion. You might be worried you’ll offend someone, or break something, or do something else that could eventually have horrible consequences. But this can lead to suppressed emotion, or unprocessed emotion – both of which can be bad for your mental and physical health.1
So, how do you go about releasing those repressed emotions you may be feeling? Here are a few ways to go about it in a healthy manner.
- Be honest with what you’re feeling, and identify exactly what that feeling is.
- Say what you’re feeling out loud, using the word “I.”
- Whatever that feeling is, express it to yourself first when no one else is around. As you get more comfortable with expressing your negative emotion, share it with someone you can trust.
Eventually, you may feel confident enough to express yourself to more people. Just remember not to place blame on anyone else, and always have an open mind when someone else wants to share what they’re feeling.2
Tips On How To Focus On Positivity
Rather than struggling with trapped emotions and negative thoughts, doesn’t it seem like it would be better to have a positive feeling instead? Two of the best ways to achieve this are by nurturing your relationships and retraining your brain to focus on positive emotions.
Think about the relationships that make you happy. These could include your spouse, your family, your friends, or even your pets. The more great relationships you have, the happier you’ll be. Take the time to build new relationships and to truly appreciate the ones you already have. The happier you are, the more other people will want to build a relationship with you.3
You can also work on helping your brain turn a negative feeling into something positive. Just about everybody tends to remember bad things more than good ones – it’s a natural way of thinking. But instead of dwelling on the negative, take more notice of the good things that happen to you each day. Appreciating those positive things can lead to more positive emotions.4
Releasing Emotions Through Physical Activity: Fight Negative Emotions Through Dance
The phrase, “dance like nobody’s watching” may be one of the best pearls of wisdom ever uttered. Dancing can deliver a ton of positive benefits, such as boosting your social skills and basically making you feel better overall. According to one study, people dealing with mental health issues saw substantial improvements after taking a nine-week salsa course. Researchers credit this to increased production of endorphins (“feel-good” hormones) as well as increased social interaction.5
Sweat It Out: You Can Also Release Negative Emotions Through Exercise
If you’re having a hard time getting rid of stuck emotions, one thing you might want to consider – after first getting your doctor’s okay – is to start an exercise regimen. Exercise has a major impact on your brain, which, of course, has a major impact on the emotions you’re feeling. It helps boost the supply of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the brain.6
Evidence suggests that regular exercise may help support the growth of neurons in an area of the brain known as the hippocampus. The hippocampus plays a role in regulating emotion. The idea is that these newly formed neurons may help people keep from repeating behavior that can lead to negative emotion.7
According to another study, people who engage in sustained levels of physical activity have higher levels of psychological well-being.8
So, it appears that regular exercise not only benefits the body but also the mind. It’s a win-win situation.
Did You Know Emotions Are Contagious?
Have you ever been around someone who did nothing but put off negative energy? Did you find yourself wanting to get away from that person as soon as possible, for fear you might “catch” that negativity, like you’d catch an illness? It turns out emotions are contagious. It’s actually surprisingly easy to subconsciously mimic someone else’s emotion, whether positive or negative.9
You can pick up sad or angry emotions from another person just as you can pick up joy from someone who’s happy. Think about that the next time you’re really feeling down. You wouldn’t want to spread that stress and negative emotion to others, would you?
Stimulate Your Mind Through Nature: Focus On Emotional Health By Getting Outside
Another thing you might want to consider if you find yourself overwhelmed by negative emotion is to simply get outside for a little while. According to one study, people reported being in a better mood after just one 50-minute walk in a city park.10Another study showed that being in a park inhibits blood flow to a portion of the brain’s prefrontal cortex that is commonly linked to negative thoughts.11
You might not even need to take a walk to enjoy a boost in mood by being outside. People participated in a 30-day study where they engaged in several different activities involving nature, such as planting flowers that help support the wildlife population or feeding birds. The participants reported an excellent feeling of overall wellness that lasted well after the study ended.12
Emotional Release By Taking A Break Or Meditating: How Meditation Can Support Positivity
Meditation is another method some people turn to in order to release negative emotion. The great thing about meditation is you can do it in just about any quiet place.
Sit down in a spot and just close your eyes for a few minutes, focusing on your breathing. Try to remember something in the past that spurred negative emotion. It could have been an argument with a spouse, a friend, or a coworker – anything that left you feeling upset. Take 30 seconds to think about all the details surrounding the event.13
The key is to not re-visit the emotion but to view the event as sort of a non-partisan observer, like a newspaper reporter. Separate the emotion from the event – you’re just a witness, not a participant. This may eventually help you reduce the intensity of emotion you experience the next time you get upset.14
Hopefully, you’ll benefit from some of the above suggestions the next time you encounter stress, anger or some other negative feeling. However, if you find you simply can’t shake that feeling, or if you ever feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a mental health professional.