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9 Things You Can Do To Free Yourself From Negative Emotions

9 Things You Can Do To Free Yourself From Negative Emotions

It may be hard to believe, but emotions can become habits that have been formed through repetition. As such, negative emotions can become something that infiltrates your everyday life. Do you find that you’re constantly down on the world and yourself? Do you get annoyed easily and become bitter with people? Is anger your natural response to something? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be a slave to negative emotions. You need to learn to stop before you actually transform into Walter Matthau.

1. Stop Justifying

    First and foremostly, you need to stop justifying getting angry and upset over everything. Stop thinking that you’re entitled to be so negative, because you’re not. The only person responsible for this is you. Do you really want to become that cranky old man or woman that tells everyone they ever meet why everything is awful and why everyone sucks? You know who I’m talking about, you’ve seen them in the grocery line. If you stop justifying your negativity to yourself you won’t have a reason to be angry, and much more people will actually enjoy being around you. Get over the spilt milk.

    2. Stop Making Excuses

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      You need to stop making excuses for both yourself and others. Perhaps you rationalize your own actions and why it’s okay for you to verbalize your anger. Or maybe you create explanations as to why other people deserve your anger. Either way, you’re trying to invent a socially acceptable explanation for your behavior. The only problem is that it probably isn’t acceptable and all it’s doing is keeping your negative emotions alive and making you miserable in the meantime. Eventually there will be no one left to care but yourself. Stop making yourself a victim. Really think about whether or not these other people have actually done anything wrong.

      3. Start Taking Responsibility

        Now that you’ve stopped making excuses, it’s time to take some responsibility for yourself and your actions. As soon as you do this, you will start depriving your negative emotions of the power they hold over you. What right do they have to your life anyway? Own your problems and your actions and stop blaming other people. It’s called being a happy, functional adult.

        4. Rise Above Other People’s Opinions

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          So I’ve done a lot of ranting about how you need to control your emotions and take responsibility. The truth is that this can be difficult when other people can actually be jerks, or if you care too much about what others think of you. You need to stop giving them so much power. Don’t let anyone but yourself define your self image and self worth. This is important, but if you define yourself through others, you are far more likely to be miserable. This is because as soon as you hear anything negative, you’re likely to react with anger and embarrassment. You’ll feel ashamed and inferior and may even begin indulging in self-pity that could lead to depression. The joke will be on you though, because in most cases, the people who made you feel this way won’t even realize it. They’re busy with their own lives. All of the negativity and hurt actually comes from you. You need to stop giving a crap about what other people think immediately. You’ll be much happier for it.

          5. Quit Your Negative Habits and Avoid Bad Influences

            Some habits and people purely and simply bring you down. It may difficult to do, but you need to remove these things from your life. Don’t hang around people who are negative all of the time. Instead, surround yourself with happy and positive people who take joy in life. You’d be surprised how easily their attitudes can rub off on you. Furthermore, don’t engage in behavior that may make you angry and depressed. If that beer or joint is going to have a negative effect, put it the hell down.

            6. Think Before You Respond

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              Calm yourself down, Hulk.

              Let’s say you’re in a situation where your natural reaction is to yell or send a passive aggressive Facebook message. Stop. Just, stop. Now think. Is this something you really want to do? Is it actually that bad? Is it even worth being angry or upset over? Did the person you’re about to react to actually do anything wrong, or is it in your head? What are some of the possible consequences of these actions? Will it destroy a friendship? Will you be stewing over it for weeks?

              These are just some of the questions that you need to start asking yourself before you react negatively to something. You may just find that you’re grateful that you thought about it before acting. Or maybe, because I have trouble being concise, by the time you get to the end of my questions, you’ll forget what even happened in the first place.

              7. Be Grateful

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                Instead of constantly obsessing over how crap your life is, start being grateful. What are the things or people you have in your life that you can be thankful for? Start defining your life by the good, as opposed to the bad. Get into this habit by thinking of at least one thing everyday that you’re grateful for.

                8. Remove “I Can’t” From Your Vocabulary

                  This is a simple one. Saying “I can’t” to things, including letting go of negative emotions, will make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can’t because you say you can’t. Stop placing limitations on yourself and give yourself some credit. You can if you say you can. Unless it’s something like diving out of a plane without a parachute and thinking you’ll survive. You probably can’t do that.

                  9. Just Let Go

                    Most importantly, you need to try and let go of your negative emotions. Holding onto them and subsequently applying them to every little thing that goes wrong isn’t healthy. In fact, it’s dangerous. A great deal of negative people don’t know how to feel much else and aren’t satisfied unless they have something to whine about. Ironically, they’re not happy unless they’re unhappy and actually go looking for conflict. Do you really want to be that person? If nothing else, it sounds exhausting. Let it go, people. Just let it go.

                    More by this author

                    Tegan Jones

                    Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                    Example 1

                    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                    Example 2

                    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                    Example 3

                    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                    Example 4

                    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                    • Understand your own communication style
                    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                    • Communicate with precision and care
                    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                    1. Understand Your Communication Style

                    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                    3. Exercise Precision and Care

                    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                    The Bottom Line

                    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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