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How To Make Negative Emotion Constructive? 4 Easy Steps - Self-development
How To Make Negative Emotion Constructive? 4 Easy Steps - Self-development

Video: How To Make Negative Emotion Constructive? 4 Easy Steps - Self-development

Video: How To Make Negative Emotion Constructive? 4 Easy Steps - Self-development

Strong negative emotions are always stressful. To which, as you know, we react in three ways: "hit", "run", "freeze". These responses are automatic and innate, and sometime in the early days of human evolution, they must have been very useful for our survival. But to what extent are these three types of emotional / stressful responses useful for the modern person? Imagine that at work, the manager unfairly criticizes your work without really understanding it. You are very offended, you cannot restrain yourself and immediately give out an automatic reaction:

  • a. If this is a “hit” reaction, then, most likely, your resentment will splash out as a categorical disagreement, irritation, anger, a desire to sharply object to the leader. You will easily start an argument that can just as easily turn into swearing and long-term conflict.
  • b. A “run” reaction is more likely to be manifested in the fact that in a conversation with a leader you will be silent, but will throw out your resentment somewhere else. All the negativity will be "leaked" to some of your sympathetic colleagues who will be morally on your side. But the problem is that this kind of "leaks" greatly worsen the emotional climate in the team. Gossip and speculation begin, emotional distrust of each other arises.
  • in. The freeze reaction is perhaps the worst. Because in this case the person “becomes numb” and withdraws into himself; the offense is “preserved” inside. And this is a direct path to emotional burnout and disappointment at work.

As you can see, all three types of automatic reactions that are triggered by strong negative emotions are rarely helpful and constructive in modern society.

But can you learn to react differently? This is possible, and a simple 4-step algorithm will help with this.

4 steps to make negative emotion constructive

Step 1. Stop

The human brain is fundamentally different from the brain of animals by the developed cerebral cortex, where the frontal lobes (prefrontal cortex) play the most important role. Back in the early twentieth century, the great physiologist I. P. Pavlov found out that the main function of the prefrontal cortex is to inhibit impulses coming from deeper parts of the brain. These deepest areas of the brain are responsible for instincts and violent, uncontrollable emotional responses. And the prefrontal cortex assumes volitional self-control, which in the most basic sense means the ability to inhibit, stop, block (at least temporarily) emotional outbursts.

There are a number of simple steps that can be taken to help the prefrontal cortex do its job. As soon as you feel that the automatic "emission of negative" begins:

  • a) literally freeze, stop moving and talking for at least 10-15 seconds;
  • b) take a deep breath (or better yet, take a few deep breaths and exhalations);
  • c) mentally / aloud tell yourself: “Stop! Stop! "

Step 2. Distance yourself

This means that you need to get out of the situation at least for a short time and look at it from the outside. You can get out of the situation both literally and figuratively.

In the first case, you need to literally physically go out into another room, or at least turn away and switch to some other activity. You need a break for at least a couple of minutes; pause to calm down and comprehend what is happening. This break must be organized for yourself under some plausible pretext. For example, to apologize and say that you need to make an urgent call (not in this room), but in a couple of minutes you are ready to return to the conversation. Or at least just pour and drink a glass of water; this is a small pause, but often it is enough.

In the second case (if there is no way to physically go out), one should distance oneself from an emotionally negative situation in the mind. Imagine that you are observing what is happening to you from the side, through the eyes of another person. Or as if you are watching a movie with yourself in the lead role.

Step 3. Understand

Distancing is necessary in order to calmly and rationally comprehend your negative emotion. Just ask yourself questions: What's going on? Why am I reacting in such a way that I was particularly hurt? How constructive and helpful will this response be? If I do this now, will the long-term consequences be good or bad? How can I react to this situation differently - more calmly and positively?

Step 4. Decide and act

The result of a calmer comprehension of a situation is a decision on how to act in it in the best way. The criteria for the “best solution” may vary. For example, in the example above (unfair criticism from your boss), you can calmly accept the criticism, assuming there is some rationale in it. But at the same time, you can accurately say that, obviously, the manager has incomplete / inaccurate information, and you would like to make an important addition. Then give a reasoned view of the situation.

At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that the leader is also a person who is not immune from mistakes, bias and bad mood. He, too, is not devoid of human weaknesses, to take offense at which is a childish, emotionally immature reaction

It would be much wiser to help him overcome these very weaknesses. Correcting a manager's mistake will be the right decision, if only to do it calmly, friendly, trying to help, and not to justify or assert itself. It is this kind of reaction in an emotionally tense and negative situation that can be called constructive.

In conclusion, we add that this four-step algorithm will help transform any negative emotion into a constructive, more reasonable and calm one. But using it requires training, because it is easier for our brain to behave naturally, giving out responses in a "fight / flight / freeze" pattern. Discipline your mind, apply the four-step algorithm gradually (from simpler situations to more complex ones), and you will definitely succeed!

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