Can Negative Emotions Be a Good Thing?

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Although we associate happiness and well-being with a fulfilling life, it is normal for our emotions to fluctuate. In fact, Darlene Mininni in her book, The Emotional Toolkit, points out that negative emotions like frustration, anger and anxiety can actually serve a purpose. They can be messages with information telling us we need to take action. This may be the need to have a conversation with someone, to change something we are doing, or even change our perspective about something. We shouldn’t resist the negative emotion – we need to notice it, experience it and look for any messages. The trick is to then bounce back and not dwell or get stuck on the negative emotion and let the situation play over and over in our heads. We must distract ourselves or forcefully choose a more positive thought to focus on (ex. gratitude). As humans, we experience a physical pain once, when it happens, but we can experience a mental pain hundreds if not thousands of times as we replay it. So remember, resilience is the key, not resistance.

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