Last update: February 18, 2022
Do you feel sad, angry, worried or anxious? The good news is that there's nothing wrong with that: Negative emotions are critical to mental health, as long as you don't get trapped in them forever. So let's see how to be happy by facing the darkest emotions.
According to the researchers, for the human being it is essential face your darkest emotions because only in this way will it be possible to heal them and be happy. Let us remember that an emotion is not just a noun, but a degree to express what the mind thinks.
While it seems logical to try to avoid the most negative emotions and memories, the truth is that you don't always have good times in life. And these dark emotions, these unpleasant memories, are also part of us, of our history.
The body can hold back the darkest emotions by creating places of pain. Facing them, this pain, physical and emotional, will be released. In other words, knowing and managing hidden and blocked negative emotions, such as hatred, anger, or resentment, can ease the physical pain that comes with it.
According to the latest research, for a person to be truly happy, they must accept their darkest emotions and understand that life can't always be roses and flowers.
3 emotional regulation strategies
Research published in the Australian Journal of Psychology explains how to deal with our darkest emotions. The researchers identified three emotional regulation strategies: acceptance, cognitive distancing and cognitive change.
- Exercises to train acceptance help to know emotions, their physical and cognitive sensations. Acceptance is the first step in learning how to manage them.
- Cognitive distancing is achieved through the acquisition of perspective. For example, observing events as a storyteller would, in other words as an outside agent.
- Cognitive change fosters a perspective of self-compassion, for example by imagining that we are talking about our darkest thoughts and feelings with a person who is very affectionate. You can also use the imaginary listener to talk to him and remind him of our strengths and coping skills.
How to accept the darkest emotions to be happy
When we reject or find our emotional state unacceptable, we deny a part of ourselves. In other words, we prefer not to delve into what causes us so much suffering and, consequently, we block it. We forget, however, that a part of our identity also goes with it. While we can't control how we feel when we're ashamed, we can accept it.
Other times, however, we dissociate ourselves from a certain emotion in order not to experience it anymore. But, as we said, the denial of our dark emotions prevents us from being happy.
“An emotion does not cause pain. Resistance or suppression of an emotion, those that cause pain ”.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have formulated the hypothesis that accepting our darker emotions results in better psychological health, as it helps us to react correctly to negative mental experiences.
Accepting negative emotional states avoids labeling them as such, as we accept them without judging them. In this way, negative associations towards these emotions will decrease and our psychological health will improve.
To be happy, you have to accept your emotions and thoughts without judging them. In other words, you have to be able to recognize your emotions and feelings without getting carried away by them. We must recognize and accept anger, fear, jealousy, resentment and frustration.
Accepting our dark emotions doesn't turn us into bad people, on the contrary, it allows us to get to know each other. It is impossible to do this by embracing only our positive emotions, as our shadows are also part of us. To live our person in a true and real way and be happy, we must accept everything and then let it go when we are ready.
"It is impossible to completely avoid negative emotions because living is also experiencing setbacks and conflicts."