Our mental health affects how we think, feel, and act, plus how we handle stress and make everyday choices. When it comes to handling stress, it can be easy to lean into negative emotions. However, that can be destructive, especially if it becomes a pattern. These emotions are natural to feel but need to be addressed in order to move forward.
If you experience anger, fear, guilt, shame, envy, or other negative emotions, here are some ways to kill these emotions before they cause more harm.
Use Envy as a Call to Action
A touch of envy can turn into a burst of energy that helps you put goals into action. Acknowledging envy and addressing the specifics of what exactly is making you envious is important for your mental and emotional health. Understanding and managing these negative emotions is key to your personal (and business) growth. Think about how you can use it to better yourself and your business.
Refresh Your Perspective
How you feel now isn't necessarily how you'll feel in a month, a year, and beyond. Making comparisons with others constantly can make you perpetually feel down. Instead, consistently take time to appreciate what you have instead of what others have. A gratitude journal can help hold you accountable to explore the positive aspects of your life.
Try to remember we all work on our own timelines: someone else's success or happiness doesn't mean you've failed.
Social comparison theory research suggests both upward and downward social comparison can influence how you see yourself, your self-belief, and motivations. This type of comparison can create a long-term negative outlook that doesn't serve you well and hinders your growth.
Focus on Your Achievements
There is no better antidote for envy than to create your own achievements. By reaching goals and taking time to celebrate your wins, you can help alleviate unneeded envy and motivate yourself for the next goal.
Pursue excellence to the point of fanaticism. Produce first-class work for sheer pride and pleasure, regardless of how it compares to anyone else.
Manage Envy in Your Environment
Envy can often crop up in both your professional and your personal life, but how you manage it can make all the difference.
At work, managers can implement fair hiring and promotion policies, be transparent about expectations, and recognize and honor wins, both individually and team-wide.
On the personal front, take time to be aware of and learn more about your envious feelings or other negative emotions as they arise. Here are some tips to consider.
How to manage envy:
- Acknowledge envy.
- Dig deeper to understand your feelings.
- Know your value.
- Prioritize self-improvement.
- Think positively.
- Be self-aware.
- Avoid negative comparisons.
Increase and Cultivate Self-Awareness
Focus on increasing self-awareness within situations that bring feelings of resentment and discontent. By making a conscious effort to cultivate self-awareness, you can become empowered by your emotional intelligence, increasing your chances of leading a fulfilling life. Practicing self-control is also important so you don't overreact in the heat of the moment.
Avoid Provoking Situations
While you can't avoid every situation that might provoke negative feelings, passive use of social media can be a place to start. Profile embellishments and photos of lavish vacations, for example, can negatively affect a person's satisfaction with his or her own life. To start, block notifications from the individuals who are inspiring negative feelings in you. Take breaths while scrolling through social media to consider how you feel.
You can also pick a time block each day or one night a week to unplug. From there, see if you want to increase or adjust your plan.
Try to remember we all work on our own timelines: someone else's success or happiness doesn't mean you've failed. Offline, they might be actually feeling negative emotions like you are.
Reflect on the Trade-Offs
If you feel anger, fear, or jealousy, try to reframe these emotions. Think of the sacrifices people might have made to reach their goals. It might mitigate some of your destructive emotions. Again, consider all the happiness you've experienced in your life: when you practice gratitude, you can reset your mind to think more positively toward the future.
Practice Generosity of Spirit
Get in the habit of appreciating life rather than seeing the negative in it. Send an email to congratulate a business associate on their success, praise someone for a stellar presentation, and share others' good news with your network. The more you practice these gestures, the less you'll feel destructive feelings.
Indulging in negative emotions wastes your mental energy and hinders motivation and productivity. It can block a positive outlook about ourselves and those around us, both at work and in our personal lives. Though it can take hard work, self-reflection and self-control, along with being intentionally grateful and generous, can help kill negative emotions.
A version of this article was originally published on January 22, 2014.
Photo: Getty Images
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