Why ignoring negative emotions can be dangerous
Emotions are a strong feeling deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. Your emotions represent who you are; they can help you to make sense of self, environment and the relationship that you have with others.
Emotions can be both positive and negative. Regardless of whichever one it is, it is important to understand and feel the emotion. People who have grown up in an environment where they were not allowed to express their views or talk about their emotions often struggle to deal with negative emotions. For instance, people who have anger problems may have suppressed their emotions for a long time, particularly towards people who have hurt them as a child. As result of this, they often get very angry at anything and everything as adults since they have not been allowed to express their views or emotions as children.
In addition to this, children who have experienced or been exposed to severe emotional pain during childhood subconsciously develop a coping mechanism to emotionally shut down when feeling negative emotions such as fear, loneliness, vulnerability, sadness, jealously, failure, rejection or abandonment.
Often, individuals that do not know or acknowledge these emotions use people or other things to distract themselves, including food, inappropriate sexual activities, drugs, alcohol, and even dysfunctional relationships. Our emotions represent who we are and often tell us many things about ourselves. It is not always easy to understand your emotions, but doing so will enable you to build your esteem and take more control of your well-being.
It is important for you learn to understand and take control of your emotions, since avoiding them can lead your emotions to control you. If this habit is not tackled, it could lead to mental/emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, dysfunctional relationships, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal idealisation.
How to deal with your emotions positively
It is important to identify and acknowledge the emotions which you are feeling rather than ignore them. Emotions are very powerful and can influence the way that we behave and the type of people we attract.
Keep a journal of your thoughts and emotions to gain a deeper perceptive and understanding of the root cause of what you are feeling or where it is coming from. Try breathing or relaxation techniques if you feel overwhelmed by your emotions.
Talk to positive family members or friends about your concerns and how you are feeling. If you feel that you want to speak to someone neutral, then seek professional help from a therapist to explore your emotions.
Emotions do not always represent the reality of what we feel. For example, you may feel that people will abandon you - this may not be the reality. However, there may be underlying issues that may be associated with your childhood or past that has not been addressed.
It is best not to respond immediately to negative emotions such anger in the moment. Always take time out to calm down or reflect before responding to negative situations. Often, you may say or do something that you may later regret.
Self-care can increase your ability to deal with negative emotions, such as exercising. Exercise can help to increase the happy hormones and help you to be more mentally at peace with yourself.
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About Kate Megase
I am a counsellor, coach and motivational speaker. I specialise in issues associated with relationships, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.