How to Manage Your Negative Emotions

26 March 2020

In the current atmosphere, you may be experiencing not only an information overload but an emotional one too. 

Panic is rife. Sadness, disappointment, anger, fear – these are all rearing their ugly heads and sending many of us into spirals. This is not only going to be unhelpful to yourself, but to the people you are interacting with as well. 

I want to share something I’ve learned that might help many of you to steady yourself in this strong current of negative emotions flooding the world right now.

If you would like to hear more about this please feel free to get in touch.

Get in touch

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text: 

Hi this is Shweta and I want to talk about how to deal with negative emotions.

I’m not a subject matter expert on this but I do follow vipassana of meditation on a regular basis and also the teachings of our teacher Goenka ji.

Now feeling fearful, tired, exhausted, out of control, uncertain, frustrated, angry, sad… They’re all natural feelings and especially in these times.

Supressing And Expressing Negative Emotions Don’t Work

But let me tell you one thing that suppressing these emotions and trying to pretend to be positive, optimistic, it’s not going to work. In fact, it resurfaces and in a much multiplied form or a violent form, just with a little trigger.

Or expressing this emotion, in a vocal form is also not going to help you. Because more you express, more you think about it, more you reflect, more you share with your people and with your other loved ones, it just multiplies and multiplies and multiplies. It’s like adding fuel to the fire.

So the first thing to remember is that suppression of your negative emotions, or expression in vocal forms, that’s not going to help you to manage and to take care of these negative emotions.

Take the Middle Path

So what we’re really talking about here is the middle path. And that middle path is actually to observe your negative emotions. Is to watch them without engaging with them, without trying to suppress them or express them. You’re just observing them.

Now the image that really helps me personally when I’m practicing you know my my vipassana or in my daily life is the image of sitting on the bank of a river and in sanskrit it’s called the tatasth and what it means is that you are on the bank, which is the tat, and you’re solidly and firmly on that bank of the river.

The river is in front of you flowing and sometimes our currents there or rapids, but then you’re not flowing with those rapids and currents you are firmly sitting on the bank and you’re observing the flow of the river. You’re not feeling excited, you’re not feeling fearful, because you’re not connecting with the flow of the river you’re just observing it.

And the beauty of this is that when you observe something, you do not add the fuel to the fire. You just watch it and over a particular time, over a certain time it dies out. It passes.

Now the point is that if you think about it, watching observing an abstract emotion, it’s not granular right – it’s an abstract emotion. It’s not easy. So how do you do that? How do you actually become so aware and alert to watch, to observe these emotions because they’re part of our lives right they come and they go if we allow them to go. So how do we do that?

Mind is Linked to Matter

What you really need to understand and what again has helped me personally, just to make this connection, the first thing is: mind and matter are related. That’s what you need to really understand. How you’re feeling at an emotional level reflects in your physiology. You might notice it, you might not notice it but things change in your body.

There are two fundamental changes that happen at physiological level. One is your respiration your breathing that alters. The speed with which oo the way with which you’re breathing, it actually undergoes a shift, a change. So that’s the first change.

The second is a deeper level where it could be your heart rate, your palpitation, your sweat, the sensations, you know, how you’re feeling the heaviness, the pain. All those actual physiological changes that are happening in your body because you’re feeling a certain way. You might not notice it, you know, your neck starts hurting or your back starts hurting. You just feel different in your body. And that’s the deeper level of physiological change that happens.

Now once you understand this, that the mind is related with matter, and when you are feeling in a certain way about emotions or negative emotions especially, let’s talk about that, your body is responding in a different way. Therefore to watch your abstract emotion is equivalent to watching your breathing and the sensations that are happening in your body. And that’s an important distinction to make.

So for example when I’m practicing the vipassana or sitting down and observing my breathing and observing my sensations, my body sensations, I’m not trying to focus on a mantra or I’m not trying to focus on some image or try to do some breathing exercises. That’s something different and that has got its own benefits. But here the whole idea is to sit down and just to observe the breathing.

Are you aware of that, you know, how is it happening? Which nostril it’s going through what sensations your body is having. Every part of your body. Just observing it, so you’re building that awareness the the minute observation power.

Because how that helps us, actually is on a daily basis. We can’t afford to sit down every moment and just sit down and just observe ourselves, because on a daily basis you’re doing things. On and off right. It’s like how aware you are of your emotional state.

Can you observe it in an objective manner versus getting entangled, expressing it, or suppressing it? Can you just observe, be on that bank of that river, emotional river, tatasth and then you will realise that it passes away it. Just moves because it’s impermanent.

What You Can Control

Look I can tell you one thing that the way things are in this modern world we generally look outside. Sometimes it’s the virus, sometimes it’s people, sometimes it’s the government, sometimes it’s economic situation – there will always be a factor which will throw you off balance. Which will make you feel in a certain way, sometimes angry, sometimes sad, sometimes whatever. There always be a reason, always an excuse, right or wrong. And, unfortunately, we cannot control all those factors, you know that.

But what you can do is to actually focus more inwards. To really observe yourself. To get to know yourself a little bit more. How do you breathe? You know, how are the sensations on your body? When some emotions arise what changes in you? Do you get entangled? Do you engage with it? Or do you just smile and let it pass?

This Isn’t Easy

Now, when I say this I you might think, ‘Ugh. How does that happen?’ Because it’s not easy. It’s not easy, you know when those emotions arise they overpower you. They overpower us. And it’s very difficult to have that objectivity in that moment.

By no means I’m saying it’s gonna start happening by today itself for you, but it does require practice. It does require you to be more aware of being a more balanced person. Not letting emotions throw you off balance. Good or bad, doesn’t matter. There’s nothing good, there’s nothing bad. There is just the reality of that moment.

And that’s what you need to understand, that’s the reality, and I look at it, I observe it, and I know that this too shall pass.

So I really hope that you will spend a little bit more time observing yourself being more aware of your emotional state and knowing how to deal with them so you stay in the state of balance. Wishing you lots of joy and lots of peace and lots of safety. You take care of yourself, I’ll be in touch with you again very soon, namaste.

If you would like to discuss or hear more, please feel free to get in touch.

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