How to Deal with and Release Negative Emotions in a Healthy Way

By Follow Your Own Rhythm


When we are feeling horrible, it might seem easier to ignore our problems, escape from these feelings and pretend they don't exist. 

We think that by denying these feelings they will eventually go away.

Or maybe by distracting ourselves, keeping busy and telling ourselves that we have more important things to do will alleviate this feeling.

But the truth is, holding in emotions, especially negative ones, only makes things worse; they can actually hurt you.

Some examples of negative emotions are: anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, jealousy, hatred, impatience, worry, irritation, guilt, regret, fear, nervousness, and sorrow. 

Everything is made up of energy, even our emotions.  When you are in a stressed out state, you have a lot of negative energy within you.  If you don’t let it out, it will start to build up inside of your body and mind. 

Because this negative energy wants to move and come out, if you don’t release it on your own, it will release itself in other ways, through force, because it needs and wants to come out. This will happen through mental outbursts, sudden rages of anger, physical symptoms, and sickness.  Holding in this negative energy also leads to more severe forms of anxiety and stress, and can also create disease in your body if it remains unchecked for a long period of time.

Disease is dis- ease.  Your body and mind are not at ease when you are stressed so it becomes dis-eased. 

This is why when people are stressed out, their skin breaks out more easily, they are more susceptible to catching a cold, and they can develop all sorts of physical and mental ailments.  That is the body’s way of communicating that something is wrong and that something inside of you wants to come out, but because you are not releasing it, your body releases it for you through other (less healthy) ways.  

The positive side? Even your sicknesses can teach you a lot and be an opportunity to look within yourself and see… what is it that I am holding in that needs to be released?

Have you ever met someone with a really short temper? Carrying so much negative energy within them that the littlest things can make them explode?  

If we hold in our emotions instead of releasing them when they arise, they start to fester inside of us, making us short tempered, irrational, and reactive.  However, if we learn to balance our emotions by dealing with them head on, we avoid becoming overly emotional and we learn to respond to life in a more sensible and healthy way.

Before we learn about HOW to deal with our emotions head on, let’s discuss how NOT to, first. 

  • WHEN TRIGGERED, DON'T TAKE YOUR NEGATIVE EMOTIONS OUT ON OTHER PEOPLE.   When we’re angry, anxious, frustrated, etc., we cannot see things clearly and therefore we have a tendency to blame other people for how we feel, so we take our bad attitude out on them.  It is NOT productive, not effective, not healthy, and most of all, unkind.
  • DON'T TAKE YOUR NEGATIVE EMOTIONS OUT ON YOURSELF. There is no need to judge, blame, or hate yourself just because you are feeling stressed, annoyed, angry, etc.  Hurting yourself or talking down to yourself by calling yourself a looser, failure, bad person will do you NO GOOD.  Self-sabotage is NOT the path to healing. Self-forgiveness is.  
  • DO NOT DIRECT YOUR ANGER TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE WHEN YOU TALK TO THEM ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL.  If you DO talk to someone at the onset of your frustrations, like the person who triggered you, make sure you are not directing any of your anger toward that person.  If you are not in the right state of mind to talk sensibly about how you feel, then maybe you are not ready to talk to anyone yet.   Also, understand that the person who hurt you, is really just reflecting onto you the pain that they are feeling inside.  So their "attacks” have nothing to do with you, so don’t take it so personal.     
  • DO NOT DISTURB OR HARM OTHERS WHILE RELEASING YOUR EMOTIONS. Expressing your painful emotions is sometimes easiest by punching things, throwing things, making loud, obnoxious noises, etc.  If this is how you choose to release your emotions, then make sure you do it in a space where you are not causing harm or disturbance to other people or the environment. 
  • DON'T REACT.  Don’t jump to conclusions.  Don’t start judging.  Don’t start complaining.  If you can just remember this anytime you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed, so many potentially regrettable things can be avoided.  Like I mentioned earlier, when we are emotionally stressed, we are not thinking clearly and our actions become irrational.  So it’s best to avoid making decisions, labeling situations, and jumping to conclusions when in this state, as the results will seldom be favorable.

So How DO We Deal with our Negative Emotions?

When we are angry, annoyed, stressed, frustrated, etc., we aren’t our true selves.  Imagine it being some negative energy that gets attached to us like a leech.  That negative energy feeds off of more drama and more negativity, so it wants us to keep being angry so it can stay alive.  It has an advantage, because it's much easier for its host (us) to stay angry once already in an angry state, which is why it is beneficial to catch and release these emotions as they arise.

The best thing you can do when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed, is to separate yourself from the trigger and give yourself space and time to sort out your thoughts and feelings. 

It is extremely important to note that if you are feeling a strong emotion, that you DO give yourself the opportunity to process it.  In our busy world, it’s so easy for us to get distracted and forget about our feelings, but this is how negative energy builds up inside of us.  So do yourself a favor and deal with it head on!


STEP 1: RECOGNIZE THE EMOTION.  Self-awareness is key.  Be honest with yourself in the midst of a breakdown by at least admitting that you are feeling a certain way.  And if you are feeling “out-of-control,” separate yourself from other people until you are ready to talk about it.

STEP 2: FEEL THE EMOTION.  Do not deny, suppress, or ignore the emotion.  Feel it and let it be.  If you are sad, allow yourself to feel sad without judging yourself.  Don’t stomp on your sadness by saying “I shouldn’t feel sad about this, everything is ok,” if you clearly aren’t feeling ok.  That time will come.  Don’t dwell on or obsess over your negative feelings, but definitely do give yourself the space and time that you require. 

STEP 3: OBSERVE THE EMOTION.  Avoid being resentful or judgmental towards yourself for feeling this way.  Remember, the negative energy is not your true self, it’s just a leech hanging on to you.  Notice the types of thoughts you are having and the types of behaviors it leads to.  Sit with your feelings and observe it all!  The moment you become aware that you are not these emotions, you separate yourself from this negative energy and it looses its power.  Your awareness of it takes away its power.  Your getting lost in it, gives it power.    

STEP 4: RELEASE THE EMOTION.  Once you have calmed down a bit, if the source of your negative emotions was what another person said or did to you, then you should definitely talk to them and express how you feel.  This way there is no hidden tension between the two of you and you can hear each others' perspectives.  Go into this with an open mindset!

Read on to learn 8 more ways to release tension...

8 Ways to Positively Release Negative Emotions:

1.     CRY! So many people hold back their tears when they’re feeling sad, angry, hurt as if they’re embarrassed, ashamed, or feel like it’s inappropriate to cry. And then if they do cry, they say “this is so stupid, I don’t know why I’m crying,” or they just keep apologizing.  They judge themselves for being human.  WHY??? Crying is a perfectly normal response to strong emotions and it is a great way to release that built up energy!  So if you feel the need to cry, please do!

2.     YELL REALLY LOUD! (If the situation allows). Let out everything that is bothering you.  Let it go by releasing it from your mind! Don’t hold back, say what you need to say, and scream if you have to! Obviously do this in a space where no one is around so that you don’t scare or disturb anyone. 

3.     TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS.  Whether it's to yourself, to your dog, to a video recorder, or to another person, saying things out loud helps us process our emotions while also letting them go.  It can be good to talk to another person though, someone who is open, honest, and trustworthy, as they can help you see things with a different perspective and help you uncover what might really be causing your negative feelings.  

4.     WRITE DOWN HOW YOU FEEL AND WHY. Writing is a good form of expressing and releasing what it is you feel inside without hurting anyone in the process.  Don’t hold anything back and be open and honest when you write.  No one is going to read it. 

5.     Another writing exercise, perhaps after writing down your feelings, is if it was a person who caused your emotional outbreak, to MAKE A LIST OF WHY THAT PERSON MAY HAVE DONE WHAT THEY HAVE DONE.  Try to see it from their perspective. Their behavior could have more to do with their own issues than yours, so don’t take things so personally and don’t jump to conclusions.  This can also open up a space for forgiveness. 

6.     OPEN UP AND TALK TO THE PERSON WHO HAS HURT YOU as long as you are feeling like you can have a reasonable conversation without blaming them, attacking them, or taking your anger out on them.  Your goal is to resolve the issue and not to prove that you’re right.

7.     GET PHYSICAL!  Physical exercise is a great way to release built up emotions.  When feeling angry, stressed, anxious, etc., go outside and sprint as fast as you can, do some jumping jacks or push ups, climb something, anything that takes energy out of you (literally). 

8.     SELF-REFLECT.  Try to get to the bottom of WHY you are feeling bad.  What is really causing these emotions to surface?  Does it happen often? What specific people or situations trigger it? Sometimes the things that make you feel the worst aren’t so obvious and so you need to dig a little deeper to find out what is really bothering you... because chances are, that same underlying emotion is responsible for lots of other negative feelings you may have on a regular basis.  

The best way to deal with our negative emotions is of course to become aware of them before they completely take over us.  But when they do, I hope that the techniques I provided will help you in releasing your emotions in a healthy way so that you don’t hurt yourself or others through the process. 

Do YOU have any ideas of how you can effectively release tension? Which ones work the best for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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