How to Deal With Negative Emotions?

how to deal with negative emotions

Do you struggle to deal with negative emotions? If yes then this article is for you. Negative emotions are a universal part of the human experience. Every human being experiences different types of negative emotions in their day-to-day life.

Why do we label some emotions as negative? because emotions like anger, fear, or guilt sometimes stop you from moving toward a happy and fulfilled life. They make you feel miserable and sad. That’s why you need to learn to deal with such emotions.

In this article, I will discuss in detail the science behind negative emotions and how they affect our physical and mental health, the causes of negative emotions, and their different types. In the end, most importantly I will discuss how to deal with such emotions effectively.

See at the end of this article, my goal is that you should learn to deal with all types of negative emotions effectively and face your life problems with a positive mindset. So, Are you ready? Let’s get started…


What are Negative Emotions?

Negative emotions are the outcome of unpleasant reactions to the situation. Whenever you face any bad situation in life they show up uninvited, disrupt the harmony, and make their presence known in your mental space.

If you look at it from a different perspective then you can see that these negative emotions are not your enemies, they are just signals that show something bad is happening. These negative emotions like anger, stress, fear, and sadness are a part of human life experience.

Every negative emotion gives you some kind of signal like let’s say Anger for instance might be the signal that the personal boundary has been crossed. Sadness could be an indicator that something dear to you needs attention or healing.

To deal with negative emotions you need to understand that they are not inherently bad, they are signals from your body and mind indicating that something needs your attention. You can consider it as an internal alarm system urging you to pay attention to particular aspects of your life.

Let’s see the 8 strong major negative emotions that affect our lives negatively. Understanding these negative emotions is like decoding a message from your inner self. Once you understand the message, you can respond appropriately and deal with negative emotions effectively.

  1. Fear: It’s a primal emotion designed to keep us safe but it can become overwhelming and irrational. It often holds us back from taking necessary risks and exploring new opportunities. (Check outHow to overcome with fear?)
  2. Anger: It’s a natural response to perceived threats or injustice. Unchecked anger can harm relationships, affect our judgment, and prevent effective decision-making.
  3. Sadness: It’s a normal reaction to loss, disappointment, or unmet expectations. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness and hinder our ability to see positive aspects of life.
  4. Guilt: It arises from a sense of wrongdoing or not meeting personal standards. It can lead to self-sabotage and low self-esteem. (Check outHow to improve self-esteem?)
  5. Shame: It’s a deep-seated belief that we are fundamentally flawed or unworthy. It directly reduces self-confidence and prevents us from seeking help or forming good connections.
  6. Disgust: It’s a strong aversion to something whether it be a situation, person, or even ourselves. It creates barrier to personal growth, and limit our ability to accept and learn from experiences.
  7. Anxiety: It’s an anticipation of future threats, often accompanied by uneasiness or fear. It can paralyze us making it difficult to focus on the present moment to take positive actions.
  8. Envy/jealousy: It arises from a desire for what others have leading to a feeling of inadequacy. It can undermine gratitude, hinder collaboration, and foster a negative mindset.

Negative emotions


Causes of Negative Emotions

Negative emotions are not permanent they come as a reaction to certain life events or situations. To deal with negative emotions effectively first thing you need to understand is the root causes of these emotions. Let’s have a look at them one by one:

1. Mindset Mix-up

Consider your mindset as the lens through which you view life. If this lens is tinted with negativity, even the most positive situation can appear grim. Negative self-talk, limiting beliefs, or dwelling on past failures can skew your mindset. This can create negative emotions like regret, sadness, or fear.

2. Control conundrum

Human beings have an innate desire for control over everything happening in their life. When situations spiral beyond our perceived control the stress and anxiety can flood in. You feel good when things are in your control but the moment unexpected things happen you get into panic mode.

3. Perception puzzle

Negative emotions often arise from our perception of life events or situations. Imagine your mind as a puzzle solver, constantly trying to piece together the world around you. When the pieces don’t quite fit as you expected, frustration, disappointment, and anger can emerge.

4. Emotional echoes

Negative emotions can echo from past life experiences. Imagine emotions as echoes in a canyon, sometimes a current situation triggers an echo from a previous event, intensifying the emotional response. By recognizing these emotional echoes and understanding their origin you can deal with negative emotions effectively.

5. Goal misalignment

When your actions are misaligned with your core values or long-term goals, dissatisfaction and frustration can prevail. Goal misalignment creates negative emotions like sadness, hopelessness, and guilt, the only way to diminish these emotions is to align your actions with your goals.

6. Energy drain

Your emotional energy is a limited resource. Negative people, environment, and habits can act as energy vampires leaving you drained and susceptible to negative emotions. Surrounding yourself with positivity can act as a shield against emotional depletion.

7. Conflict in relationships

Conflict in relationships is the most common cause of negative emotions. The cause of conflict is miscommunication which leads to misunderstandings and then conflict with friends, family members, or life partners. Clear and empathetic communication is the only way to deal with this.

8. Unmet needs

When fundamental psychological needs like autonomy, competence, and relatedness are not met individuals experience negative emotions. With unfulfilled needs or expectations, individuals may experience disappointment, sadness, and frustration.


How to Deal with Negative Emotions?

Negative emotions are like sweeping dust under the rug it might seem fine for a while, but eventually, the dust accumulates and you will stumble over it. Similarly, unaddressed negative emotions can accumulate and manifest as mental health challenges.

These emotions when chronic can cloud your judgment hinder decision making and strain relationships. That’s why it is crucial to acknowledge and learn to deal with negative emotions. Let’s see practical ways one by one.

deal with Negative emotions

1: Start with Acknowledging and Accepting the Emotions

You know all the emotions whether it is positive or negative are like guests knocking on the door of your mind. Instead of ignoring them, you can start by acknowledging their presence without judgment.

Don’t get attached to the emotions just observe them from a distance. You can think this way like you are watching a movie of your life, emotions are like movie characters passing through the scenes.

I know it is difficult but when you accept emotions as a part of the human experience without getting attached to them it reduces the intensity of your emotions and you see them more objectively. This helps you deal with negative emotions effectively. 


2: Name or label your Emotions

After the first step, you can see the emotions objectively so you can name or label them like Are you feeling anxious? Feeling fear of failure? feeling stressed? feeling sad? just label them this helps you understand what you are dealing with.

Negative emotions carry an underlying message like the causes I discussed earlier goal misalignement, conflict in relationships, career problems, etc. Try to understand and explore what the emotions you are experiencing telling you.

Ask yourself questions like what triggered this emotion? or is there any underlying issue? this kind of exploration helps you identify the root causes of these negative emotions and makes it easy to deal with negative emotions and address them.


3: Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the best weapon to deal with negative emotions. Just imagine your mind as a lake, and negative emotions are like ripples on the surface. Mindfulness is observing those ripples without getting swept away.

It’s about being in the present moment without judging your emotions. Take a few minutes to focus on your breath, inhale deeply, and then exhale slowly. This simple practice can help you calm down and bring back your focus to the present moment.

When emotions run high and you do deep breathing, it signals your brain that it’s time to calm down. The more you practice this, the more it reduces the intensity of your emotions and gives you the clarity to respond to those negative emotions in a better way.


4: Question your thoughts

The outcome of any negative emotions is negative thoughts, which disturb your mind completely that’s why it is important to challenge negative thoughts by reframing them. Whenever you are in any situation that produces negative emotions, just ask yourself ‘Is there another way to view this situation?’

You can also ask ‘Is this negative thought true? What evidence supports or contradicts this thought? such questioning to your negative thoughts helps you see the situation or negative emotions from different angles.

You know negative emotions are fueled by distorted thinking and when you question the negative thoughts you shift the perspective which leads to a more balanced and realistic view of the situation. For this step to apply, you need to calm down yourself.


5: Express yourself

You know weeds can’t survive in a well-maintained garden. Similarly, negative emotions lose their power when you express them. Every negative emotion comes with an underlying message and wants to convey something, so instead of avoiding it, find healthy ways to express it.

You can channel emotions through different ways like you can talk to someone you trust (friends or family member, mentor), you can write a journal or you can engage yourself in listening to music.

Find ways you are comfortable with and express yourself when you are experiencing negative emotions. Because Expressing yourself is the most practical way to deal with negative emotions. 


6: Respond instead of React

You know you don’t have control over the arrival of negative emotions, if something bad happens or you face some bad situation you naturally start experiencing the negative emotions you do not have control on it.

You have control over how you respond to it. Generally many times, we react immediately to negative emotions, and that creates more problems. Think about whether can you take some time to respond to negative situations.

I know it’s not going to make you feel better but at least the outcome of responding to the emotions is better than the instant reacting to it. Now think, will you let the negative emotions dictate your day by immediately reacting to them or will you take charge by responding to them practically?


7: Build the habit of practicing gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most powerful antidotes to negativity. Think about whether can you make a daily habit of appreciating the positive aspects of your life, no matter what your current situation is.

If things are going well in life be grateful for that, similarly if things are not going well in life find things that you can be grateful for. This practice shifts your focus from what’s going wrong to what’s going right.

It’s like flipping the switch from darkness to light of hope. This shift in focus changes the way you feel and ultimately helps you deal with negative emotions that you generally experience in challenging life situations.


8: Move your body

Moving your body by engaging yourself in physical activity like playing sports, walking, or going to Gym can have a positive impact on your mood and the way you feel. Any type of physical activity releases endorphins and you know that it’s a natural mood booster.

When you move your body with some physical activity it not only changes your mood but also helps you process and release negative energy. This way also you can deal with negative emotions and feel better.


9: Practice detachment 

You know in the majority of cases negative emotions you experience when you too much attach yourself to the situation, person, problem, or end result of anything. That’s human nature but this nature is the ultimate cause of your bad and negative feeling.

For example, let’s say you appear for a job interview and you get rejected at the end, you feel bad because the result is not what you expected. Similarly, there are some situations in life in which you expect that outcome in your favor but in reality, it is something else that makes you feel bad.

So the ultimate solution to this is to practice detachment, I know it’s difficult but with practice you master it. Just give your best in everything you do enjoy the process and leave the result/outcome to God.

Just be ready the accept the outcome whatever it is, your job is to give 100% from your side and detach yourself from the outcome. This simple thing can help you deal with negative emotions. 


10: Take professional help

Even after doing all the above-mentioned things, if you find it difficult to deal with negative emotions and you feel overwhelmed then it’s always better to take the help of mental health professionals. (Check out – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

There is nothing wrong with taking the help of a therapist or counselor who can help you deal with the negativity. You can discuss your problems in detail with these professionals and they can help you get clarity and provide you a better solution.



Emotions are continuously changing but you have the power to deal with them effectively. By understanding the root causes of negative emotions you can get the clarity to deal with them using different practical ways which I have discussed throughout the article.

I would recommend you start building the habit of self-reflection, it will help you reveal the underlying message of every emotion you are experiencing most importantly negative emotions. Your journey toward emotional well-being is not about ignoring the negative emotions but learning to deal with them positively.

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