How to deal with negative emotions

how-to-get-over-your-negative-emotions

Are you guys familiar with the story of Pollyanna?

It’s a best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter about a young orphan who always tries to find something to be glad about, regardless of the situation. One Christmas morning, instead of a doll she wanted, she gets a pair of crutches, and her father tells her to look at the bright side of things- she doesn’t need to use them.

My mom calls me Pollyanna all the time. I always try to concentrate on the happy, good things in life- even when things get tough. But what happens when things get too tough, even for Pollyanna?

Having suffered from anxiety I have spent wasted so much time constantly worrying about things, people, situations, always imagining the worst possible outcome. I have since become  pretty much a different person- my outlook on life has changed tremendously ever since I started practicing gratitude.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE

You can’t expect to live a positive life if you spend most of your time being around negative people. Being around those who discourage you from following your dreams, people who constantly complain and nag, gossip, people who put you down or make you feel bad about yourself, people who are jealous- they will literally drain the energy out of you. It doesn’t matter how happy-go-lucky of an attitude you have, if you surround yourself with people who have a crappy attitude, it will immediately “rub off” on you. There were a few people who I felt the need to cut ties with over the last couple of years, but it doesn’t mean that you have to stop talking to every single person in your life who’s a little negative. If someone you love always complains about their life, or circumstances, you can help them by telling them to shift their focus onto the good things in their life (you can always find those, regardless of your situation). BUT, if you have someone in your life who always thinks they know what’s best for you, someone who criticizes you, makes you feel bad about yourself or shows any sign of jealousy towards you, they need to go. A true friend is not only someone who helps you when you’re down, but also someone who is happy for you when things are going great. Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head.

SPREAD YOUR SPARKLE

Whenever I have an “off” day, there is one thing that always makes me feel better, and that’s making other people smile. When you’re grumpy, sad, angry, you’re much more likely to argue with someone else. Getting into a screaming match with someone close and making them feel bad will not make you feel any better, trust me on this one. If on the other hand, you make someone smile, even if it’s a complete stranger, you’ll immediately feel happier. A few years ago, I was coming home from work, in a horrible mood. I stopped by the supermarket. The clerk that was helping me during checkout was this cute older lady. As she was helping me pack my groceries I noticed that she was wearing this gorgeous ring on her ring finger: it was really delicate with a tiny diamond. Without thinking I said, “Wow, that’s such a pretty ring” still with a frown on face. This lady, who looked like she was having a bad day, looked at me with the biggest smile on her face, her eyes immediately lit up. She told me that the ring was a gift from her daughter who lives in a different state and who she doesn’t get to see very often. She then went on to say that her daughter, her son in law and her baby grandson are set to visit her the following weekend and how she couldn’t wait to see them since she lives by herself and is a bit lonely. We had a nice little chat, after which I wished her a good day and she said that her daughter will be very happy to know how much I liked her ring since it was a very special gift. You know, to some it may seem like such a small, insignificant thing, but guess what? By the time I got home I forgot all about that jerk of a client who got on my nerves at work. All I remembered was how happy that lady looked when I gave her a little compliment and I couldn’t help but smile.

DON’T BE A VICTIM

It’s very easy to say “I can’t be happy because I didn’t have a happy childhood”, “I can’t be successful because I don’t deserve it”, “why should I put all this effort into this, if no one will notice anyway”. “I can’t move on from this”, “I can’t handle this”, “I’m too old”, “I can’t do this, it’s too late for me”. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I’m here to tell you that yes, you can. It doesn’t matter what happened, or what is now happening in your life; you can move on, you can grow and you can be happy. But you first must realize that you need to leg go of all those negative, limiting thoughts and emotions. Once you do all of that, the success will follow (whatever your definition of success may be; whether it be opening up a business, getting a college degree or finding love).You cannot expect to live a positive life if you constantly put yourself down and play the “victim card”.  Are any of you familiar with Liz Murray’s story? Her parents were desperate drug addicts, both of whom died of AIDS. She found herself homeless when in high school and had to steal food in order to survive. Now, at age 34 she is a Harvard graduate and a New York Times best-selling author.  She could have easily used her circumstances as an excuse, but she clearly chose not to.

DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

Something got on your nerves. You first start thinking about how angry you are, then you start feeling really angry, then you go ahead and say out loud how angry you are. You throw a mini tantrum, maybe kick something, raise your- and perhaps someone else’s- blood pressure, and you remain angry throughout the rest of day (if not longer). It all could have been stopped if you were to replace that one, negative thought. It’s not always easy to ignore things that irritate us or make us angry/sad/disappointed/fill-in-the-blank, but we can stop the domino effect from taking place. When you start feeling down, do something that you truly enjoy. Go for a walk, a run, play with your dog, talk to someone you love, write, read a favorite book, open a nice bottle of wine and spend 3 hours in the kitchen cooking a glorious 5-course meal, just for yourself.

STAY BUSY

Last couple of weeks have been very emotional for me. One of the most important people in my life is my grandmother. She’s been suffering from cancer for the last couple of years. I call her all the time and we sometimes talk for hours. Lately, I noticed that she’s just so tired and weak that our phone calls went from being nearly two hours long, to lasting only fifteen minutes. It hit me hard. It made me feel so sad, I was so upset, I couldn’t concentrate on anything- this is why my blogging schedule has been a little off for the last couple of weeks. All I wanted to do was to curl up and cry. But, as I wouldn’t write for a couple of days, wouldn’t take pictures the minute I got home from work, I stopped cooking- I stopped doing all the things I enjoy doing so much and that made me feel even worse. After a couple of days, I just had to get back to my routine, had to get busy, had to stop. I thought about all the wonderful times from my childhood- when she taught me how to make those fluffy apple pancakes I love so much, the times we’d do yard work together, how every Saturday she’d buy us those huge pudding-stuffed pastries. I put up my favorite picture of my grandmother on my desk and thought that I need to stay strong. For her. I need to stay busy, keep working, keep encouraging her, make her laugh and continue to send her all my good energy.

MEDITATION

Whenever I feel myself getting upset over something, I start taking slow, deep breaths. Mindful breathing can help calm you down very quickly. If you haven’t tried meditating yet, I highly suggest you give it a go. It’ll help you clear your mind, make you feel at peace. You can start with some guided meditations.

Ultimately, If you’re having a really bad time, and nothing seems to cheer you up, just give yourself a break. Give yourself one day to feel sorry for yourself, throw yourself a mini pity party. Then it’s back to business.

Know that negative thoughts have their purpose too. If we didn’t have negative thoughts, we’d have no idea how good it feels to have good, happy thoughts. When you feel yourself getting upset over something, it’s important to not try to stop those negative thoughts from flowing, but rather replace them with positive and happy thoughts. I know from my own experience that over-thinking and worrying can lead to horrible anxiety and that’s no fun. Ever since I changed my way of thinking I’ve had quite a few people call me “a freaking Pollyanna” and I usually take that as a compliment. I’m not trying to tell you that life is a fairy tale, where only good things happen, as long as you have a smile on your face. I’m saying that in most of those “negative” situations, you have a choice, and the way you handle and approach them, is all up to you.

girl talk blog

  • Feeling like you are slowly losing someone you really care about must be awful – I’d say I hope she gets better but since I do not know the situation, I’ll just stick with a good old I hope you will find enough strength to go through it! <3

  • Thank you. My anxiety and negativity thinking started acting up again due to stress. I really needed to hear and practice the advice you’ve given.

  • Rebecca Fletcher

    Love this post. I Definitely with surrounding yourself with positive people. I have done that since the new year and I am so much happier for it. Goodbye negative people!
    X

    http://www.beautylifebecca.blogspot.co.uk

  • I agree wholeheartedly with you on all points; I too notice that spreading a little sparkle when you’re down doesn’t only cheer the people around you, but yourself up a little too!

    PS: My best considering the situation with your grandmother <3

    Nathalie / http://www.wantforwellness.com

  • All of your tips are great! I particularly like the one about surrounding yourself with positive people because it means that I spend a lot less time worrying now x

    http://emmaboughtwhat.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Jen

    Spread your sparkle! I loveeee this! Makes me want to stitch it on a pillow <3
    http://decoratethesoul.blogspot.com/

  • amelia may

    What a great post on how to manage the tough times and emotions. Such a powerful thing to be positive and to keep a pollyanna attitude! It really touched me how you describe being strong for your grandmother. Every best wish to you. Lovely advice and word. X

    Keep Calm and Start Writing
    23millymay25.blogspot. co. uk
    Mindfulness with horses
    millymayamelia.com

    Xxx

  • Excellent post! I wish you strength dealing with sadness, and I am so sorry! Stay strong and keep on this beautiful work! :)

    Lii
    https://byliil.wordpress.com/

  • Samileen

    Such a well written detailed post Paula, as usual! Meditation is something that I fail to do, even after trying so much. I’m a way distracted person haha.

    And I absolutely agree with you on surrounding your self around positive happy people, it makes such a difference.

    Sam || Beautydetour

  • This is a great post! Stay strong lady!

  • Your surroundings can really affect your mood, either lift you up or bring you down, choose well and stay strong!

    XoXo,

    Tamara – LoveofMode.com

  • Having positive people around is definitely one of the best way to deal with those emotions! Being Pollyanna is way better than being one of those negative and moody people, at least then everything looks way better.
    I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother, I hope she is not in pain :(

    Ela BellaWorld

    • Thank you so much Ela! She is, but she is one strong lady, my mom is with her now and she’s been in a much better mood :)

  • Thank you for writing this inspiring post! I am sorry to hear about your grandmother xx

  • Phoebida x

    I am so sorry about your grandmother, my love is with you and your family. I really need this post, my own grandma unexpectedly passed away two days ago, so thank you so much for posting this. You and your blog inspire me daily! Xxx

    phoebida.blogspot.co.uk

    • She is one strong woman, so I know she’ll get through it!

      Aw Love, I am so sorry about your loss, i can’t imagine what you must be going through right now. Sending my love your way!! Stay strong.

      Thank you so much for such kind words! <3

  • This post is incredible inspiring. I’ve been trying to be as positive as I can at the moment and it has made a difference. I still struggle with a few things, like only seeing my boyfriend once a week but I get through it and when I do see it, it’s completely worth it. I definitely need to improve on focussing on the positive aspects when I’m at work. There has been countless of times where I have gotten angry or frustrated with colleagues or customers and it’s something I want to reduce. I want to learn to walk away and not hold grudges as it reflects on how I work and it makes the shift worse. Reading your post has definitely encouraged me to push towards happiness even more. Thank you for this post, it really has inspired me and I can’t wait to read more from you :) x

    • Aww thank you so much Tabitha! Oh I remember those days when I could only see my boyfriend (who’s now mu husband ha!) once a week when I was a teen. It was the worst! But now I have him by my side every day and it makes me appreciate it that much more ;) Walking away when you’re angry isn’t easy at first- I find that taking deep breaths always helps me. I am so happy that you liked this post, thank you!

      • Oh wow, that’s so lovely though. Most of the time I can get through the days when I’m not seeing him but sometimes it does get to me and you’re welcome xx

  • This is such a great post! As an anxious person I struggle with a lot of these and end up in a downward spiral so I definitely need to learn how to be more positive and not let the negative get the best of me. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother, I went through the same thing with my grandad and to watch them to deteriorate is the worst but it is great to hang onto all those happy memories and cherish them. Sending lots of love and well wishes your way :) xx

    eat-sleep-breathe-fashion.blogspot.co.uk

    • Thank you so much Sadie! She is still doing well considering everything she had to go through last couple of years. Really happy that you enjoyed this post, hope you’re doing well!!

  • These are great tips. It is incredible the difference it can make when you surround yourself with positive people. It is incredibly draining being around people that are complaining all the time, especially when they are complaining about things that should be a source of happiness! It is all about mindset.

    Brittany | thechicette.com

  • Staying busy definitely helps. I notice that when I have a lot of time on my hands I just start thinking and worrying and let the negativity in…

  • I’m like you spent a lot of my life focusing on the negative and now I try to just be positive as much as I can. It’s a lot harder than people think to try push the negativity away but surrounding yourself with good people and doing what makes you happy definitely helps. Great post as always x

    Beauty with charm | Benefit Cheekathon Giveaway

  • I love taking time out to do something that makes me happy. I totally agree with the importance of gratitude – being appreciative of what you have helps combat that things that you’re struggling with. Lovely post as always, Paula! :)
    – Ambar x
    http://www.herlittleloves.blogspot.com

  • I think surrounding yourself with positive people and people you know that love you is extremely important! <3 Lovely post

    Amelia | http://amelia-g.blogspot.com.au/

  • This is a really fantastic post. Before reading it I thought it might veer into the cheesy “there’s always someone worse off” side of things, but it really does hit on that self reflection level that most people miss. Namely, the “don’t be a victim” thing is something I practise regularly. I have someone in my life who plays the martyr card constantly, and I find it both draining and depressing – which is why I make a conscious choice to think about the way I speak/react around others. Your actions may be causing negative emotions for someone else!

  • I love the term “Spread your sparkle” and I completely agree, nothing makes me feel better than seeing someone smile because of something I have done xx

    http://www.blossomofhope.blogspot.com

  • EdyeNicolesMakeup

    Such a great, insightful post, Paula! I totally agree that we need to surround ourselves with positive people who will lift up our spirits <3

    Blessings,
    Edye // Gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

  • Margaux White

    Thank you so much for this post. I found surrounding myself with positive people is what wins it all.
    Margaux ∙ http://www.bonjourwhite.com

  • Your girl talk posts are always my favourite ones to read, they’re amazing & so helpful! Thank you for writing them :) x

    Sara / AboutLittleThiings

  • Lisa Jayne Quick

    This was such a lovely blog post. I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a while now and had to learn through very difficult times how to stay positive and it can be so hard but it really does shape you and make you stronger. It has taken me months of hard work, anxiety classes and hurtful personal times to forget playing the victim and start trying to play at being a winner (cheesy I know sorry) I hope you’re Grandma is ok, stay strong!

    Lisa X – lisajaynetextiles.co.uk

  • Totally agree! Not being a victim can be hard, but all you said is so true. Sometimes it is difficult to balance letting yourself deal with pain while at the same time not turing yourself into a victim, but being a victim for your whole life isn’t good by any means. Definitely something I have to work on sometimes :) Thanks for the encouragement!

    xo, mikéla / simplydavelyn.com

  • I love that you’re a Pollyanna because it shows in your posts and I love it! I aspire to be a Pollyanna haha. I feel that even though a crappy mood can be contagious, a positive outlook can also be contagious. I’m truly sorry about your grandma and hope she’s okay, and I hope you’re okay too! That’s never easy, but I’m glad you’re staying busy <3

  • You had me at Pollyanna. I was obsessed w/ that movie when I was a kid (and all of Haley Mills stuff)… but I loved her attitude and I definitely have gotten away from that in my grown-up life. Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive in the world we live in…. but you’re right about all this stuff. There’s always good things to focus on. Having a kid made me a lot more positive— whenever I’m feeling BLAH, I can always look at him and know that there’s good in this world. I love your tips :)

    • Oh it’s definitely not easy. Especially when you look around, watch the news, there just seems to be so much negativity around. But I think that there is a lot more good in this world, we just sometimes forget to look for it. Aww that is so sweet, kids are amazing ;)

  • Biana Perez

    I definitely try to have the Pollyanna mentality as well! It’s important to stay positive and while it’s hard at times, there is always a bright side! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandma. I understand what you’re saying though. When I feel myself starting to sink I try my best to stay busy because that’s what works for me. But like you said, sometimes you just need the day to feel bad and get it out of your system. It happens to the best of us I guess. <3

    • Thank you Lisa! I think it’s totally okay to allow yourself self to have a little day off here and there. We wouldn’t appreciate the good ones, if we didn’t have the bad ones.

  • The Gossip Darling

    Omg I needed this today. Such a horrible two days. I spent the day alone today hiking for 3 hours and doing things that I truly enjoy. It makes such a HUGE difference when you take the time to actually regroup. It’s a must.

    Mel | http://www.thegossipdarling.com

  • Lucy Lees

    Some really great advice here; as a sufferer from anxiety, I’m always on the look out for new coping mechanisms. The biggest thing for me at the moment is staying busy; it really does ease tension and takes away any idle time where your mind starts to wander onto negative thoughts. Thanks for sharing!
    Life inside the Locket

  • Great post, I go always go for a long walk when I feel the need to clear my head or I make plans so I am distracted. Such a useful read x

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

  • thanks for sharing, nice little pick me up :)

  • I am so glad that I came across this post. It was deeply inspiring. Thank you :)

    Tasmin ox

    http://tasminstalk.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Alison Bane

    Thanks for the great advice. I just lost my husband of 12 years, and, yes, I’m connected to other widowed people for support. I still have my moments of sadness. I listen to Weird Al Yankovic on YouTube to make myself laugh. My favorite is “First World Problems”. Check it out, it makes me grateful every time I watch it, and it’s hilarious. It’s about a spoiled boy who just doesn’t appreciate what he has. Life is a gift, even in tough times, so let’s make the most of it, y’all.

    • I’m sorry about your husband Alison. I can only imagine, that it isn’t always easy. I just saw “First World Problems” and it’s hilarious :) Thank you so much for stopping by! x

  • The Sunday Mode

    Your words were so well written and inspirational, I’m sure you made a difference to a lot of people who read your post including me.

    http://www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

  • Lots of people can be mean, but I really try not to generalize. I tend to begin thinking everyone is mean, and that’s no good either. When I start thinking that, I close myself off from the rest of the world. Glad you didn’t and that you made that older lady’s day.