How To Channel Negative Emotions Into PRODUCTIVE Energy
If there’s one thing I’ve learned the hard way, it’s that no matter how much of a perfectionist you are, or 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.
Do you have big dreams that are sidetracked by either emotional drama, negative life circumstances, or apathy? I think some people are naturally better in these situations, but NOT ME Y’ALL. I had to intentionally practice turning the negative into productive energy. It's a skill you can cultivate. If I can do this, you absolutely can too. After a lot of research and testing these strategies myself, I knew this was something that would be beneficial for many of you.
How to channel negative emotions into productive energy:
1. Give yourself grace.
Unclench those fists, turn your palms to the sky and take a deep breath. Release expectation and control. Sometimes we’re holding on so tight that we’re blinding ourselves into submission. Number one tenant here is to invite more kindness toward yourself and others. Take a load off, lighten up, loosen your grip and let your body relax into a state of groundedness.
2. Move your body.
Whether you feel like it or not, get your body outdoors and among the trees. Look up at the sky and notice. Feel your feet on solid, reliable ground. Feel the strength and stability there — and smile, because that’s pretty cool. 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 you need. When you get back home, sit down and write, or approach a problem you’re attempting to solve (can be related to work, relationships, etc).
If you choose to work out in a gym setting, I recommend a modality that brings joy and release — it could be running, mobility or weightlifting. As 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, feel your humanity. As you continue, endorphins will eventually start flooding. You’ll begin to feel something kin to exhilaration. Take this feeling and start to write, approaching your problem with all of this newfound creative energy. Some of my most creative posts have come from this exact process.
There are other therapeutic forms of mindful movement beneficial in times of stress and uncertainty. I’ve found yoga and biking particularly useful. If you have other ideas, feel free to drop them in the comments!
3. Active Napping
If you have anxiety, or unrest that won’t go away, lay with your back on the floor, 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.
4. Prioritize self care.
The concept of self care has become quite popular in the wellness world, so this one will be a little easier to understand. The key is to actually follow through with it. 😃 So what does this mean? In the middle of chaos, stress, anger, rage, frustration — make a list of self care habits that bring ease and energy. So drink water, eat clean, move your body, breathe deeply, call a friend. Even if the desire isn’t there, just go through the motions to start. Prioritizing self care is prioritizing yourself and that 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, disempowered, anxious, angry or any other negative emotion. When you challenge yourself in a playful setting, you create new neural pathways that re-associate 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 — it’s a beast. Let's say you envy your friend’s career success, or another man or woman's body, or their lifestyle. Is the issue that you're envious of that person's body, or are you envious of the empowerment you imagine they feel? 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 and connection? Dig a little deeper and identify what's really going on underneath the envy. Take away the storyline and you'll be amazed that you can discover some of your deepest (but buried) desires.
From there, what does this new information 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 as your friend’s, but you can start to identify practical and honest next steps based on how you want to feel.
In this way, the negative emotion pulls out the true changes you want to make that perhaps you haven’t been willing to confront. It can also (if you let it) kickstart your work ethic. Use discoveries from your negative emotions to take forward 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, so lmk!