People often allow themselves to be controlled by their emotions. But we can actually harness our negative emotions and use them to transform our hearts and minds into a positive place. Today, I’m going to follow up from last week’s blog on how to deal with negative emotions like fear and anger. Instead of focusing on the negative, we’re going to focus on the positive.
- Use negative emotions as indicators not as captivators. You can learn to use your negative emotions as indicators and triggers to help you identify wrong beliefs you may be suffering from. Outside of mental illness, negative emotions almost always point to unhealthy and incorrect beliefs. There’s a reason why you’re feeling afraid or angry or hurt. These emotions can help you identify the areas in your heart that need some change. So if you are suffering from fear, try to look beyond that emotion’s face value to identify the belief that’s causing your fear. If you suffer from a fear of your husband leaving you, try to reach deep and figure out where that fear comes from. What belief are you empowering? Negative emotions can also point to unhealthy behavior. Learn to observe your emotions, even if it’s after the emotional peak. Ask yourself, “How can I do this better?” to star the conversation with yourself post incident.
- Use your positive emotions as motivators. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you with positive emotions. The Bible calls them the fruit of the spirit, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23). Notice that each of those can be both emotions and behaviors. Depending on the situation they can be emotions or behaviors–and usually the two are related. Joy is an emotion, but it is also an action. Peace is primarily an emotion, but it can also be an action. We express the fruits of the spirit inwardly as emotions and outwardly as actions. When you allow these positive emotions to strengthen you and flow from you, then you will be empowered to reach your dreams, treat others with compassion and to always see life in positive terms.
- Change your focus or change your actions. Because negative emotions point to hindering beliefs, it’s important to change those beliefs. There are two primary ways you can change your emotions. First you can change your focus. If you are dwelling in sadness for instance, it’s because you are mentally focusing on an image that brings depression. If you are in fear, you are mentally focusing on pictures that bring fear. But you have the power to choose what you focus on! Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a positive image that will replace that negative one. The second way you can change your emotions is by changing your actions. Positive emotions empower you to positive actions, but positive actions will also inspire positive emotions. They feed off each other. If a couple has been married for ten years and wants to feel romance again, the first step is to start acting romantically again. With prayer, the feelings will return. God wants you to be blessed with both the positive action and the emotion behind that action. Asking the right questions will change your focus and help you identify your negative beliefs. Below are three questions you can ask when experiencing negative emotions:
- What can I learn from experiencing this negative emotion right now?
- What is this emotion trying to reveal to me about me?
- What beliefs do I need to change?
It takes a lot of self control to begin making the transition from negative to positive. What helps you stay positive?
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