The brilliant Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.” In a way I think this is also true when it comes to difficult emotions such as anger, sadness, depression, or PMS mood swings.
It seems that the more you try to control your anger, for example, the more fiercely it explodes later on. Believe me, I learned this the long and hard way.
What I’ve learned is to approach negative emotions differently, not from the same mind that created them, but from a different mind, the mind that contains the antidote to the negative emotions.
For example, some days I feel stressed and overwhelmed. My inclination is to run around like a hot ant, but this would only add to the anxiety. Instead I focus on slowing down, tackling just one small task at a time, and giving it my very best effort. Soon I begin to feel calm, confident and productive again. And a bad day is turned into a pretty good one.
Motions are the precursors of emotions.
Renowned psychologist Dr. George Crane writes in his book Applied Psychology that you can’t control your emotions directly. They are controlled only through your choice of motions and actions.
So the secret is not to focus on getting rid of negative emotions, but rather to focus on going through the desired “motions” you set out to do every day, whether it’s working, exercising, or doing a kind deed. If you do, I promise you’ll soon be feeling more desirable “emotions.”
I want to end this post with a little poem I wrote. It’s a great reminder for me when I encounter difficult emotions. Here it goes:
If you don’t feel like getting up in the morning, get up anyway.
If you don’t feel appreciated and loved, give your best anyway.
If you feel hurt and angry, forgive anyway.
If feel afraid or worried, take action anyway.
If you don’t feel like smiling, smile anyway.
If you feel like it’s going to be a bad day, make it a good one anyway.
Everytime you feel negative emotions, get into motions. They will change according to our choice of actions.