Embracing negative emotions—welcoming and accepting bad moods instead of fighting them.

This morning I woke up grumpy, for no apparent reason. This happens more regularly than I would like. I woke up and immediately everything bothered me—it’s too hot, my head hurts, my dog won’t stop standing where I’m trying to walk, the kitchen is dirty, the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom is getting low and I’ll have to replace it soon, my birds won’t stop screaming, the list goes on and on. My first reaction when I’m in these moods is to try and force myself to not feel so grumpy. What if, however, I embraced this bad mood?

Before I simply lean into a negative emotion, I try to really think about what could be causing this. What physical symptoms could be aiding in this negative emotion? Are these physical symptoms a manifestation of my emotional state? Am I tired? Hungry? Are there external factors influencing my mood? If there is anything external that is affecting my mood, I will try remedying that first. I can take a step back, rest, eat, whatever my body is telling me it needs. If all of these are already dealt with and I’m still in a bad mood, that’s when I’ll embrace the negative emotion for what it is—an emotion, neither good nor bad, just how I feel. It’s ok to feel exactly the way you feel, it’s your actions in response to these emotions that can be troublesome.

Now what does it mean to embrace negative emotions? Does that mean I get to be rude to people and take my bad mood out on them? Absolutely not. It does mean, however, that I know I am grumpy and short-fused right now, so maybe I should avoid talking to anyone until this has resolved itself. It will resolve itself if I stop fighting it! Denying how you truly feel and shoving emotions down only makes them linger longer. If you’re constantly trying to force yourself to feel differently than you truly do, all your doing is shoving that emotion further and further down until it comes back stronger. If I can sit here and accept that “today I am grumpy,” then I’m allowing that emotion to take up space. I’m not denying how I feel.

What am I going to do today? I’m going to allow this grumpy funk to take up space and I’m not going to fight it. I’m going to do the best I can with the resources available to me and I’m going to embrace the fact that, sometimes, I have crabby days. I’m not going to fight it, I’m going to let it run it’s course—armed with the knowledge that all feelings are temporary. It will pass when it’s time.

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