Using negative emotions

I’ve had one of those days. You know when you’re on the edge of tears all day and kinda wish you’d spent the day in bed? There’s a squirmy discomfort and, for me at least, a real sense of sadness. I’ve cried twice already and the day isn’t over yet.

I was musing on this on my drive home and decided to use this feeling as fuel. To pour it into something positive, to use it as gasoline on a smouldering flame.

It made me think wider about the negative emotions we have and how we can use them. I’m purposefully steering away from saying ‘transform your negative emotions into positives’, because that’s not particularly helpful and sometimes, down right wrong.

Instead, it’s about recognising where the feelings are coming from and figuring out if you can use them to propel you somewhere or if you just need some space to feel them. Here are some thoughts on how we can do this.


Get to the root of the feeling

Sometimes the cause of the feeling is obvious, sometimes it feels like the tears are coming out of the blue. Pick up the discomfort you’re feeling and examine it, where is it coming from? What do you want right now? What are you not getting?

Take other factors into account here too. For example, I’m currently dying from period pains and am basically a walking mess of hormones, so I know this is contributing to the sad feelings.

Ask yourself if there is a positive action that can come from this

Once you’ve figured out where your feelings are coming from, think about any ways you can use this to take some sort of positive action. This could be something as small as writing a blog post (*waves*) or as big as creating a business plan.

Consider whether you can do this action now or if it needs to form part of a bigger plan

If it’s a smaller action, like creating art or using it as a learning to tell people about – you could probably do this right now. If it’s something bigger like a new idea for a business however, you should probably just jot some things down and come back to it when the feelings have calmed a little.

It may all form part of a big exciting plan, but doing anything rash when your emotions are high could end up coming back to bite you on the ass.


Photography | Elle Narbrook 

If none of this feels right, what do you need to feel this emotion?

If there is no action you can think of that would help you feel better, or no real underlying cause (sometimes we just have shit days) think about what space you need to feel this emotion.

Do you need to have a night in front if the TV to escape for a bit? Would writing or meditating help? Negative emotions are healthy, so never try to force yourself to feel positive. Even if you take a positive action, it’s still perfectly OK to feel crap while you do it.

Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Have a cry, have a rant, do what needs to be done.

How can someone else support you right now?

Again, this could just be having a chat and cuddle with your partner, a drink and a moan with your friends or a phone call to your family. Sometimes though, and especially if you’re getting this feeling regularly, more specialist support is needed.

If you think the feelings stem from your mental health, a counsellor may be the best bet. If you think it’s your situation, direction/lack of direction, self-worth etc. a coach could be an ideal support.

We put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to feel happy and uplifted all the time, but negative emotions are so important. They are part of being human and they can be incredibly helpful.

They can tell us when something isn’t right, when we need to change direction. They can spur us on to focus on what we love.

If we treat them with the space and respect they deserve, they can be our allies, not enemies.

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How to use negative emotions

4 thoughts on “Using negative emotions

  1. Peta says:

    What a brilliant, really well thought out and well worded post Kat. Your thoughts on how to use these negative emotions are ever so useful to us all. I hope you don’t mind if I share your post in my Sunday Letter?
    Sending lots of love your way,
    Peta xx


  2. Katelyn Boucher says:

    I loved these suggestions! Sometimes we get so caught up in the feeling and don’t know how to deal with it. These suggestions are a great way to get outside of our heads when it comes to that.

    Liked by 1 person

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