Are you good at following instructions? Or do you ignore what your emotions are telling you?

 In Negative emotions, Relationships

I never knew that my emotions were trying to tell me something! Especially my negative emotions. I just thought they were meant to make me feel bad. But Positive Psychology has taught me that they actually serve a greater purpose – they are a warning signal, instructions that I need to take action. But how often do we miss the purpose of the instructions and instead just get stuck feeling discouraged, frustrated, or mad? 

For example, does your inner voice ever complain that you shouldn’t have to be the one to do “everything?” Maybe you think this when you’re putting stuff away, washing the dishes, shoveling the driveway, or mowing the yard. Maybe you think this when you’re coming into work on the weekends, reminding teammates to finish their part of the project, or just cleaning glasses out of the lunchroom sink. The more you replay this frustration at the lack of appreciation, the bigger and louder it gets.

Now you’re in a bad mood. Not only does this negative energy not feel good, but it also gets in the way of your motivation, your ability to focus on your work, and it hurts your relationships. It’s easy to let that bad mood permeate your interactions; especially with those people that are the cause of your aggravation, which only makes things worse.

Instead of focusing on this negative emotion, what if you interpreted the thoughts and frustration as a signal, as instructions? It could be a message that you need to have a conversation with the other person to respectfully share your concerns. Or maybe you need to broaden your perspective and realize all the stuff the other person does that you don’t notice. Or maybe you need to reflect on the situation when you’re calm and see if it really is an issue.

Give it a try this week. When you notice yourself feeling upset, instead of getting stuck feeling bad, look for the instructions.

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