Negative emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety are generally emotional states that many people experience regularly but try and avoid due to the uncomfortable feeling they produce.
In addition to the discomfort, they also produce stress on the body and mind which can also lead to health issues if the stress becomes chronic.
So it is understandable that some caregivers use avoidance as a coping mechanism. This comes at a cost as avoidance can create more anxiety whilst not actually dealing or managing with our negative emotions.
When you fight through the initial discomfort that comes with dealing with negative emotions, you are able to see your emotions for what they really are, embrace them, locate the source of your discomfort, and allow yourself to feel the emotions and their purpose before relinquishing them.
By embracing the negative emotions, the discomfort that comes with you are able to see emotions for what they really are. Suppressing or denying your negative emotions will make them come back stronger each time.
A few ways on how you can embrace the negative feelings.
With anything, acknowledgment sets the foundation. When you feel the negative emotions arising, take your time, center yourself with some deep breaths, and connect with whatever emotion you are experiencing.
If you are upset by someone and this triggers your negative emotions, acknowledge it and let the person know.
Our beliefs play an integral role in how we perceive our emotions. Although you may not be able to change the situation, you are in control of changing your thoughts which will help you change the way you believe the situation is affecting you.
You replace the thoughts that lead to unhappiness with thoughts that lead instead at least contentment. This in turn will allow you to build a better perspective on a variety of situations.
Be compassionate with yourself and give yourself time to be with your emotions. We have also been conditioned to judge our emotions in negative ways if society deems that they do not serve us in the best way.
For example, sadness is seen as a sign of weakness, whilst exhibiting jealousy makes us a bad person. We are not allowed to ‘bask’ in these everyday emotions, as there is something wrong with us if we want to dwell in a “negative space”.
However, if our friends or loved ones are sad, we provide them with the time and grace to experience their emotions for however long they wish, in whatever capacity they want. Extend this same compassion to yourself and give yourself all the time you need.
Be there for yourself through the positive emotions and negative emotions. The courage and patience you used to take time with your emotions will provide you inner resources that can be used in a multitude of situations. You’ll be able to trust yourself and build resilience to whatever life throws at you.
Another way to embrace negative emotions is to find an action to counteract the emotion. For example, if you are scared that your spouse might die leaving you alone with the children.
Try as much as you can to spend more time together as a family, encourage communication with every member of the family. Let your spouse know how you feel, he will most likely open up to you about his fears well. Vulnerability builds intimacy and triggers compassion in relationships.
Hopefully, there is something you can take from the above steps to help you embrace the negative emotions as you navigate the journey of caregiving.
It is important to remember there are no wrong feelings. Nor can you help how and when particular feelings arise. You can however choose how you react to them.