“The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful.”—Dalai Lama
Someone has triggered you—hit your “hot buttons,” and now you feel all riled up that your heart rate speeds up, and your skin perspires. You experience anger, resentment, frustration, or other negative emotions.
Before you know it, you find yourself off on an emotional rollercoaster.
Why can’t you be happy!?
Is that so hard??
You can choose how to feel.
“I have been taking care of Mom and Dad for nearly twelve years now. Six years have been 24/7 living with Mom and Dad until he died two years ago.
“We all know how stressful life is when caregiving. And it only builds up.
“In addition, I have had anxiety/panic disorder for the last thirty years.
“Anyway, a close friend and I were chatting, and we were saying how we don’t feel ‘happy’ and haven’t felt so for a long time, but we don’t know why or what is missing.
“I thought it was because I’m a recovering addict/alcoholic—although I have been clean and sober for thirty years now—and that my personality is searching for an emotional ‘high,’ and when I don’t feel it, I’m down.
“So, we decided to do some homework. Each night for a week, we were to make a list of things that made us happy during the day. So, I sat down in front of the computer to start my list.
“I sat there for a long time, and as I reviewed my day, nothing was coming to mind—until the first f*****g thing that popped into my head was, ‘I yelled at Mom today.’
“And yes, that made me happy.
“I am pathetic!”
Lillian seems sad that she reacted with pleasure to yelling at her mother.
What in the world is wrong with Lillian?!
Lillian is not alone in her quest for joy and satisfaction.
Without exception, it doesn’t matter your race, color, creed, or religion —you want to feel good.
But why is feeling pleasure and contentment so tricky?
Your mind and your body are closely linked.
Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment, and hatred are responsible for most sicknesses; some even estimate that they account for 60 percent of all illnesses.
One professor of neurology claims: “It feels good to be happy and hopeful. [Positive emotions promote] an enjoyable state that produces little stress, and the body thrives in those conditions. [Being positive] is one more thing that people can do for themselves to stay healthy.”
But, believe it or not, you can choose how to feel.
You don’t have to be at the mercy of negative emotions.
How exactly can you deliberately create positive emotions?
Negative thoughts are often too strong to dismiss.
The answer: you must forcefully replace negative thoughts.
When your music player is playing music you don’t like, merely change the channel, or music station, stop the CD or pause the streaming service.
You make a switch.
The same applies to negative thoughts and emotions; you consciously “switch” to something more pleasant.
Yes, you indeed can choose how to feel.
Seven Ways to Create Positive Emotions
- Concentrate on positive things. Focus on qualities and virtues, such as faith, hope, love, trust, security, communication, positive stimuli in life, recreation, and the will to live and be healthy.
- Talk about positive things. Discuss encouraging experiences that help keep one healthy, as pleasure can stimulate the immune system and strengthen the resistance to illness.
- Laugh. Researchers believe laughter may empower the immune system, which underscores the point in Proverbs 17:22, which it states, “A Heart that is joyful does good to the curer.” Some hospitals have set up so-called “laughter rooms” where patients can play games, watch funny movies, and listen to jokes. Laughter* can also mitigate anger.
- Seek the company of positive thinkers. Spend time with someone who knows you well and can remind you of your successes, encouraging you.
- Focus on helping others. If you have friends who feel depressed, ask what you can do to help them. Encourage others.
- Treat yourself compassionately. When feeling overwhelmed, sad, or having other negative emotions, force yourself to take a walk, call a friend, or listen to music to ease your negative feelings.
- Forgive. The perfect antidote to harmful emotions caused by the hurt is forgiveness, as you replace negative feelings with positive ones.
*Here are four quick tips for laughing more:
1) Ask a preschooler (if you know one) to explain something.
2) Spend time with funny people.
3) Watch more comedy shows.
4) Laugh at yourself.
Some Commonly Experienced Positive Emotions and Their Definitions:
- Joy: great pleasure and happiness.
- Hope: a feeling of expectation or desire for something to happen.
- Relief: feelings of reassurance and relaxation after you no longer feel anxiety or distress, such as when your loved one has overcome their illness.
- Happiness: feeling or showing pleasure.
- Contentment: the feeling of being happy or satisfied.
- Optimism: hopefulness and confidence about the future.
- Inspiration: a person or thing that has filled you with the urge or ability to do or feel something you thought was not possible.
- Confidence: means self-assurance arising from one’s ability to achieve something.
- Affection: a feeling of fondness or liking toward or from another person, a friend, or even a pet.
- Satisfaction: a sense of pleasure by doing or giving someone what they want and need.
- Pride: deep pleasure or satisfaction gained from achievement, qualities, or possessions.
- Enthusiasm: great enjoyment, interest, or approval.
- Gratitude: thankfulness or appreciation of kindness.
- Admiration: great approval or respect.
- Serenity: calmness and peacefulness.
- Cheerfulness: a noticeably happy and optimistic feeling, indicating a bright and pleasant disposition.
- Love: the strongest of all positive emotions, indicating strong affection.
Can negative emotions be eliminated?
You will only meet frustration and disappointment if you expect to achieve perfect happiness and contentment or positive emotions.
Happiness is relative.
However, striving for it is better than being imprisoned in a life filled with persistent and debilitating negative feelings.
You are in no way a slave to your negative emotions.
You can change them.
You can choose how to feel!
No question, you can create a positive emotional state.
If you are currently feeling down, why not follow the seven suggestions in this article?
Why not begin at once?!
“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.”—Dodinsky