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Dealing with negative feelings

 Pain is one of the most annoying feelings you can have. Not only literally in your body, it can also make you feel bad. Maybe your head keeps busy with your pain, and how to get rid of it. How can you deal with negative feelings like these? What if you would be able to transform them into something positive?

Why should you deal with negative feelings?

An important question that often gets no answer is: What will change in my pain when I feel better? Well, a lot can change just like that.  As you may already know, it is your brain that creates pain. When your brain estimates that there is danger to you, it causes pain. You could see it this way: there's an alarm center in your brain. In this alarm centre, information is retrieved from the rest of the brain all day long, to decide whether pain needs to be made.

The more 'negative' information, the greater the chance that the alarm centre will make pain. Stress, feeling bad, negative thoughts and sleep deprivation are all sources of information that make the alarm centre more likely to cause 'danger' calls and pain. Getting better at being in your skin can actually change something about your pain.


Dealing with Negative Feelings: An Exercise

The following exercise can help you deal with a difficult situation. You can do this exercise when you feel bad about yourself. If you don't feel well at all, this type of exercise may not work - it may be too difficult to concentrate. Read the exercise through quietly once, and then try to do it yourself.

Sit quietly and easily. Take deep breaths in and out a few times, exhaling to relax your body a little. It can help to imagine your body sinking a little in the chair. 

Now go with your attention to your annoying feeling. Maybe you feel sad, angry, or scared. What's causing this? What happened? 

Think about what you would say to a friend if he or she were sitting with this. What would you do and say? How would you help them? If you thought of that, imagine a friend helping you this way. Imagine what he or she would say and how you would be supported. Can you say this to yourself?

Stay here with your attention for a while, maybe you will feel calmer already. Imagine that everyone has to deal with negative feelings, although you don't always see that. Focus your attention on your breathing for a while. If there are still negative feelings, you may be able to imagine that you can 'let go' of them even more on an exhalation. 

Exercise makes art

The exercise above is not that easy! Especially when you do it for the first time, it is very difficult to concentrate for so long without getting distracted. If you do like it, you can always go further into mindfulness.