How to Deal with Negative Emotions

Dealing with intense negative emotions requires you to stop the downward spiral as soon as possible.  Controlling your breath through peripheral vision techniques puts you back in control of your emotional equilibrium.  It stops runaway emotional reactions.

The moment you discover how you are reacting emotionally, take a deep breath slowly with a count of 3 or 4.  Focus your attention on breathing—breathe in for a count of 3 or 4.  Then, breathe out for a count of 3 or 4.  Inhale and exhale slowly.  This simple activity will calm your active mind moving you back to emotional equilibrium.

Keep up this breathing rhythm until you have control of your feelings.  Breathing is the first primary tactic for controlling the release of those hormones that allow our feelings to take control.  Learning to control our breath is the first step in dealing with intense negative emotions.

Another thing that can help you gain control is through your eyes.  If you can close your eyes, that will help.  Shutting off external stimuli enables you to focus on breathing.  However, there are times when it’s impractical to close your eyes.  Don’t close your eyes while driving a vehicle or operating equipment.

If you can’t close your eyes, the next best thing is shifting your gaze into peripheral vision.  If you cannot shut your eyes or change into peripheral vision, look down if possible.  The last option is to blink your eyes.  Be sure to keep breathing with any of these optical control methods.

The eyes are the windows of the soul.  They are also valuable devices that we can use to control our sympathetic nervous system using peripheral vision to suspend our transition from the parasympathetic nervous system to the sympathetic nervous system.

The latter is the primitive emergency system that kicks in a host of hormones like adrenalin to boost our physical capabilities and shut off pain stimuli.  But, many of these hormones aren’t healthy for the higher thinking centers of the brain, so it simply cuts off blood flow to these areas of thinking.  So, although we can react quickly with strength, we are doing so without the help of the higher thinking functions necessary to assess a rapidly changing situation.

The third tactic is to bring your attention to your posture.  This tactic also helps move our awareness away from the feelings causing the pain.  A self-hug is another good way to intervene.  Wrap both your arms around yourself.  Use your arms to feel your breath.

If you are standing, it can help to shift your weight to one foot.  Focusing on balancing also helps the mind to breathe the emotional chain reaction.