What emotions do we call negative?

Negative emotions are usually considered to be those that cause a subjective experience of discomfort or some kind of dissatisfaction.

Dmitry Demidov

Consultant psychologist, clinical psychologist, ACT therapist, affiliated member of ACPN (ACBS, USA).

As a rule, they include anger, anxiety, anger, disgust, sadness, shame, and so on. There is no universal list. However, in general, the division of emotions into positive or negative is not entirely productive, as it causes a desire to get rid of the latter as something unnecessary.

Why Negative Emotions Are Necessary

It seems that they cause completely unpleasant sensations. And not only for ourselves, but also for those around us – for example, if we get angry and lose our temper. But the discomfort provoked by negative emotions has a functional meaning. Yes, and they themselves do not occur by chance.

Stanislav Telegin

Practicing psychoanalytic psychotherapist, member of ECPP.

All emotions perform a certain function in the process of regulation of mental activity. And the negative ones are no exception, basically they are given a place to signal that something is going wrong, and protect the psyche from destruction.

Processes in the psyche are aimed at avoiding pain. It is for this that the signal function is needed, which warns of danger – real or imagined. The main negative emotions are anger and fear. The second as a warning and the first as an impulse that speaks of the presence of obstacles on the way to the goal, of frustration that does not allow you to get what you want. That is why they are so important.

The third negative emotion – aggression – is one of the main driving forces in the human psyche. Where the expected satisfaction is not achieved, it arises. Rather, it is a way of perceiving and behaving in order to achieve the desired. As long as there are no obstacles in the way of a person, the search activity of the body is minimal. But at the moment when they arise, tension mobilizes all the available forces of the body.

Negative emotions are a reaction to what is happening around you. And if you listen to them, it will help make your life better. For example, if someone violates your personal boundaries, anger signals this. For example, in the company of friends, someone always makes offensive jokes about you. You can block irritation and try to laugh with everyone, but an unpleasant aftertaste will remain. Or allow yourself to be angry, identify the source of discomfort and talk with him that you will not allow such an attitude towards yourself.

Maria Shpilman

Psychologist-psychodiagnostic, crisis psychologist, specialist in providing emergency psychological assistance to victims in emergency situations.

The ability to be aware of your emotions and manage them is an important factor in improving the quality of life in general. This helps to interact with other people, whether they are household members, colleagues or passers-by on the subway.

Why You Shouldn’t Block Negative Emotions

It seems that if you suppress negative emotions in yourself, you will only feel good ones. And it will make you happier. But it is not so.

Maria Eril

Psychologist and Head of Communication Psychology at Business Speech.

It is important to understand that our emotional register functions in this way: either we have access to all emotions at once, or not. That is, our world is either colored or black and white. If we do not want to experience negative emotions, then we automatically begin to filter the emotional flow, and our access to positive ones will also be reduced.

Negativity, of course, is unpleasant to experience, but the experience of conscious work with your emotions, the development of emotional intelligence, the awareness of the reasons why this or that feeling appeared, helps to change your attitude towards this over time. That is, after some time, having experienced anger, disgust and analyzing the situation, we will feel great gratitude, because these emotions protected us from possible troubles.

Moreover, blocking emotions is like putting a tight lid on a pot filled with boiling water. The couple still needs to get out. At the same time, he can break the barrier and burn everyone around.

Maria Shpilman

It is possible to suppress and block strong negative emotions, but it will not work endlessly and without a trace. They will still find a way out, for example, through passive aggression. A prime example is when you got mad at your boss, but suppressed that feeling. And now, for some reason, they began to constantly be late for work, which annoys him very much, but not so much as to come into open conflict with you.

Suppressed anger can also develop into auto-aggressive behavior—inflicting psychological or physical harm on oneself. For example, self-blame, punishing yourself with overeating to the point of stomach pain or exhausting workouts. By the way, the obsessive squeezing of acne also applies to such actions.

To understand how unlived anger can affect your physical health, it is enough to remember your bodily sensations when you are angry – huge tension inside, clenched jaws, rapid pulse and heartbeat. But the fight-or-flight survival strategy is not implemented, which means that this energy hits your cardiovascular and immune systems time after time.

How to deal with negative emotions

We decided that they cannot be blocked, but at the same time they cause discomfort. So what to do with them in order to suffer less? Psychologist Maria Shpilman advises to remember that an emotion cannot be stopped, but you can deal with it faster.

Maria Shpilman

Analyze how long this emotion develops? What events contribute to this? Try to focus, for example, on breathing, and then try to look at the situation and yourself from the outside, observe the emotion, mentally move it some distance away.

If negativity overwhelms you, Shpilman recommends using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Pay attention in turn to:

  • 5 items that you see;
  • 4 sounds you hear;
  • 3 tactile sensations;
  • 2 smells that you can distinguish;
  • 1 taste.

You can complete these steps at your own pace. The main thing is that focusing attention on the senses allows you to focus on the present, and counting objects stops the cycle of thoughts.

Breathing exercises, such as 4–7–8 breathing, also work effectively. This basic technique involves inhaling through the nose for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and exhaling through the mouth for eight seconds. For beginners, four cycles will be enough, and for those who practice for several weeks or more, the number can be increased to eight.

In order to recognize your emotions, live them and manage them, try to bring into everyday life something that pleases you and gives you strength. As Maria Shpilman notes, these actions may be related to physical comfort, social needs, or personal values. For example, for some it is growing indoor flowers or walking in the park, for others it is reading a book in a comfortable chair under a blanket or meeting with friends.