The Hidden Advantages of 3 “Bad” Emotional States

It’s no secret that humanity’s utmost goal is the search for happiness. Some have apparently found it already — through the screen, at least. I mean, just look at people’s Instagram pages and you’ll see how desperate our society is to forcefully improve its mental state.

Sad, I know.

Throughout this aimless hunt, most everyone seems to praise positive feelings while neglecting the negative, oblivious to the fact that both work together. 

Oftentimes, I stumble upon wrong ideas of healing, such as “faking it until you make it” or outright avoiding low moods in order to feel better. In essence, that would mean acting as if certain emotions didn’t exist, when the truth is, they are all very present and necessary for growth! Dodging them is no easier than facing them, so you might as well make your choice.

We all know how hard it is to be stuck with unwanted emotions. Still, it’s possible to make them bearable, and all it takes is a tiny shift in perception. Powering through difficulty becomes easier when you see it in a new light. Here’s how you can find the advantages in three common negative states.

When Feeling Scared

More often than not, fear holds concepts that are beyond our prediction. We fear that things won’t work out or that we aren’t good enough. We might even be scared of irrational things we know are irrational, but choose to dwell into the snowball, anyway. Fearful thoughts are cyclic and can be stuck in our heads like an annoying tune.

The bright side is: you’re much more powerful than fear. However, there’s no realizing that unless you feel scared.

Nobody enjoys the sensations fear causes. That’s one reason we desperately attempt to block any thoughts related to it. But guess what? We shouldn’t be doing that!

Let me ask you something: when was the last time you sat down with your fears?

Sitting down with your fears is an effective way to calm yourself down. I’m speaking as an anxiety sufferer. Sit down in silence and let your worries roam. Let them come up with the most catastrophic of scenarios. They’re thoughts, no more than that.

They can’t hurt you.

Allowing yourself to feel afraid might just give your overactive brain what it needs: peace.

I like to imagine my bad thoughts as stubborn children. Surrendering to them means they’ll have no one else to fight, therefore they’ll get bored and calm down. That’s the secret.

When Feeling Envious

Envy happens when you’re unsatisfied with yourself and what you have – or don’t have. As long as there’s comparison, there will be envy.

A common reaction to this feeling is shame. We feel bad for not being grateful all the time.

Pssst: we don’t have to!

If we settled for everything, would we improve our mindset? Bet not. I’m not telling you to change the way you look or anything of that nature. On the contrary. You should only change how you see yourself and the things you do.

It’s an inside-out process. For instance, the reason you care so much about what so-and-so is achieving is that you don’t care enough about what you’re achieving. If that’s the case, it’s time to ask yourself some questions.

Are you doing what you love? When comparing yourself to someone, are you analyzing the big picture or just a fraction of someone’s life?

Envy is one hell of a teacher. It certainly proves that the way you see the world is a reflection of how you feel.

When Feeling Sad

Sadness is a broad term. It’s also one of the most dreaded. In a day and age where false joy is preferred over true human nature, being blue might just feel wrong.

When you feel sad, for whatever reason, is when you are the most vulnerable. That explains why artists do their best work during a bout of gloominess: sensitivity allows them to reach deep inside themselves, and the result is amazing.

Still, no work of art changes the fact that it hurts to be broken, nor that it’s a necessary step that people skip without success. Rejecting hurt delays healing, so why not listen to your body and give it what it wants?

It’s okay to cry, and it’s okay to shut the world down for a day or two. Focusing on yourself might bring insights you wouldn’t otherwise have in a different state of mind.

Note: there’s a big difference between sadness and depression. If you notice that hopelessness and anguish persist, it may be best to seek professional help and learn whether or not your case is clinical.

These were a few examples. Obviously, humans feel countless emotions — according to a study, there’s a total of 27 of them!

The bottom line is that every frame of mind has its own place and time. Going through life without confronting them all would be tedious. After all, we’ll never be genuinely happy if we don’t experience the flip side for a while. Think about that.

Laila Resende

Laila Resende

Anxious writer and 20-year-old college student pursuing an English degree. I'm passionate about words and use them to make a difference to those who feel detached from this crazy, yet wonderful world we live in.

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