how to make negative emotions work for you, not against you

IMG_8419Do you have a certain piece of advice that your mom, or anyone really, has given you that just stands out in your head?

Growing up, my sisters and I use to give my mom a hard time because her two most common pieces of advice were:

1) Soak it (story for another blog ) and

2) Put it in perspective.

I remember coming home from shopping trip mad because I didn’t get the shirt I wanted, was annoyed by my sister, or complained if I had to eat peas at dinner. My mom would always respond by telling me to put it in perspective. Even at a young age, it was really easy to understand, and really hard and frustrating to argue because I knew she was right. To have food, clothes and love in abundance was a luxury that some did not have. That is where my perspective mindset began.

I learned how to turn my perspective on a situation and realize that it is I alone who has the choice to decide how to view the situation. It is ok to have negative emotions but feel them and move on as quickly as possible.

Own your feelings and you have the power.

When you feel frustrated, sad, lonely and upset remember it is your choice. As harsh as this may sound, it really is in your control to decide how you want to feel regardless of the circumstances. It is not easy in any sense to snap out of a mood but don’t deny your mood either.  Feel what you want to feel and move on as quickly as possible. One tool that helps me move on is, you guessed it, to put things in perspective.  It lessens the load of misery and sadness and is a gradual shift that is not always seen or felt right away, but it does work.

It is how you view life around you. You have the choice to change, not the situation, but how you are viewing it.

Ask yourself:

Can I see this from some else’s point of view?

What do I have to be grateful for in this moment?

How can I make this situation work for me, instead of against me?

I know this stuff is tough and takes practice. It is something I still am working on but it does become easier and require less conscious effort as you practice it.

Taking responsibility to be less miserable.

Sometimes when we first begin practicing gratitude, we do it just so we can be happier. It is a simple concept that if we just say we are grateful everything will be better. Yet having an attitude of gratitude does not always translate to behavior. This often happens when we continue to victimize ourselves in our own life, that everything around us is happening to us and we get in the mode of feeling sorry for ourselves. Less gratitude, more blame placed on others and less responsibility on our own selves.

As ironic of an idea as it is, I see why we go into this victim mode and place the blame on everyone or everything around us. It kind of makes us feel better right? I know I have done this before. If I was not at fault and gave up responsibility it meant less work for me. I would get to sit back and play out other reasons why things were not my fault and therefore I would not have to do the work to fix them. 

When I learned to switch my perspective, I realized I could be less miserable simply by reframing my thoughts and it would actually give me more power, love and understanding in life.

Try this perspective shift.


“This always happens to me…”

“So and so is not doing their job and I have to do all the work….”

“I can’t eat healthy because of all the social gatherings this month…”

“I am so busy and never have time to exercise..”

When I learned to flip these situations around the shift in mindset is undeniable. 

“What lesson can I learn from this situation?”

“I will focus on doing the best job I can and not worry about anyone else.”

“I am so lucky to have the choice about what I am able to eat.”

“Where can I find time and how can I prioritize exercise?”

#GetGrateful Task

Write down 4 statements that you feel is someone else’s fault. Rewrite those 4 statements in way that gives you the power to either do something about it or see it from someone else’s perspective.

You have the choice to be upset, angry or frustrated. But acknowledge that it is a choice. It is not someone else’s, it is not someone else doing you wrong or making your life miserable, even when others may truly be harsh or at fault. It really and truly is all in your power.

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