How To Channel Negative Emotions Into PRODUCTIVE Energy
If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that no matter how much of a perfectionist you are and how much you want to control your surroundings, you simply cannot. The earth turns, the sun shines, the rain comes, some crops flourish and some die. There are some things in life that we cannot clench into submission. So if we accept that sometimes bad things do happen, we can find healthier coping strategies.
I spent far too long sitting on my butt and playing the victim when negativity arose. I couldn’t muster the energy or the will to turn those negative emotions into productive energy. I think some people are better in these situations but NOT ME Y’ALL. I had to intentionally practice turning the negative into PRODUCTIVE energy and it's a skill I finally think I understand. If I can do this, you absolutely can too. After all, I have dreams to make happen and ONE lifetime to do so. There is no time to waste. After doing a lot of research and testing these strategies myself, I knew this was something that would be beneficial for many of you, too.
How to channel negative emotions into productive energy:
Move your body.
Whether you feel like it or not, get your body outdoors and among the trees. Look up at the sky and breathe deep. Feel your feet on solid, reliable ground. Let the ground support you. Exhale and inhale. Be with yourself. Let your heightened, raw emotions meld into the rhythm of your footsteps. Give it 30 minutes, or an hour, or as long as your heart leads. When you get back home, sit down and write or type or approach a problem you’ve been trying to solve (whether work, relationship, or the very thing that got you in this state to begin with).
If you choose to work out in a gym setting, I recommend running it out, but you could lift if that's your thing. Start moving. Pick up the speed. As the feelings arise, embrace them, but drop the storyline so you’re left with the raw emotions without the who, what, when, where. Let the emotions envelope you -- feel them (you are a human, after all). As you're running with this, endorphins will start flooding in at some point. You’ll begin to feel something kin to exhilaration. Take this feeling and begin to write, approach your problem with all this. For me, some of my most creative, authentic posts have come from this exact process. You'll find that creative energy just comes spilling out naturally.
There are also other therapeutic forms of mindful movement that are beneficial in times of stress and uncertainty. I’ve found yoga particularly useful, but tai chi is another option. If you have other ideas, feel free to drop them in the comments!
If you have anxiety and it’s overwhelming your system to the point where it lacks the ability to simply pause, lay with your back on the floor and your butt against a wall. Raise your legs over your head so they rest on the wall at a 90 degree angle from your body. After about 10 minutes in this posture, your body will start sending relaxation into your cells. Let that bring you back to a centered space where you can start to be productive again.
Prioritize self care.
Self care has become quite popular as of late, so this one will be a little easier to understand. You just need to actually follow through with it. 😃 So what does this mean? In the middle of chaos, stress, anger, rage, frustration — go through the motions of what you think it means to take the best care of yourself. So drink water, eat clean, move your body, breathe. Even if it doesn’t feel natural or normal, just go through the motions. Prioritizing self care is prioritizing YOURSELF. And that, in and of itself, is one of the most productive things you can do. You are worth it. Never ever ever let anyone or any situation tell you otherwise. Your human life is precious and irreplaceable. Never ever doubt that.
Go fly at an acroyoga class. Does that scare the hell out of you? GOOD. Do it anyway. Play ultimate frisbee or a pickup soccer game. Run barefoot. Roll down a hill like you're 8 years old again. Something happens when you play, especially if you’re feeling vulnerable, unempowered, anxious, angry or any other negative emotion. When you challenge yourself in a fun, playful setting, you create new neural pathways that reassociate your pain and channel the negative energy into EMPOWERMENT. It’s magical. Enjoy it.
A note about ENVY: Using it to step into your best, most honest self:
Let’s talk about envy, because let’s be honest -- it’s a beast. Let's say you envy your friend’s career success, or another man or woman's body, or their lifestyle -- let's break that down even more. Is the issue that you're envious of that person's body, or are you envious of the empowerment you imagine they feel? Or if you envy someone’s career, is it really about the job or is it that you want to feel that sense of accomplishment? If you’re jealous of your friend's social life, do you really envy them or do you long for a sense of belonging? Dig a little deeper and identify what's really going on underneath the envy. Take away the storyline and I think you'll be amazed that you can discover some of your deepest (but buried) desires. So from there, what does this tell you about yourself and how can you orient your life to prioritize the things you’re longing for? Your reality might not look the same for you as it does for your friend, but you can start to identify practical, honest next steps based on how you want to feel.
In this way, the negative emotion pulls out the authentic, honest changes you want to make that maybe you haven’t yet been willing to confront. It can also (if you let it) kickstart your work ethic. USE the realizations from the negative emotions to take ACTION.
How do you channel negative emotions into productive energy? I'd LOVE to hear your strategies and tips. There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer here.