Commentary: Overcoming toxic emotions
The following is a commentary for the Opinion page submitted to the newspaper. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
By Bryan Golden, Hopewell Junction, NY
You’ve experienced one or more toxic emotions. Anger, frustration, fear, guilt, bitterness, resentment, and sadness negatively impact you. Toxic emotions cause you mental and physical harm.
Anger leads you to do or say things you’ll regret later. Frustration causes you to consider giving up. Fear holds you back by inhibiting action. Guilt makes you ashamed about what you’ve done. Bitterness and resentment cause you to feel sick both mentally and physically. Sadness can be all consuming.
The good news is that you don’t have to suffer with toxic emotions. You can proactively deal with these emotions, rather than feeling like a passive victim. Toxic emotions are best dealt with before they take hold.
Here are some effective strategies for overcoming toxic emotions. Start with keeping things in perspective. Don’t blow situations out of proportion. Marinating an attitude of gratitude, where you are thankful for all of your blessings helps keep you balanced.
Be patient. The world is filled with negativity. Toxic feelings want to creep into your mind. You can become conditioned to automatically purge them once detected. Although you will experience toxic emotions, you can significantly minimize the amount of time they persist.
Relax and engage in enjoyable activities. Maintaining positive emotions is the best defense against toxic ones. The better you feel on a regular basis, the less likely toxic emotions will have much of an impact.
Physical exercise clears your mind and keeps your body healthy. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic, (although there’s nothing wrong with being one.) Just a vigorous 20-minute walk, 3 or 4 times a week is effective. So is taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Or when out shopping, park as far from the door as possible.
Let go of any negative aspects of your past. You don’t want your past to pollute your future. Lamenting what you could have, would have, or should have done feeds toxic emotions. Instead, determine what you can and will do moving forward.
Recognize and acknowledge your toxic emotions. These feelings must be dealt with rather than being repressed. You feel the way you feel. Don’t make excuses. Identify the sources of your feelings. When possible, avoid negative people and seek out positive ones.
Toxic emotions are displaced by focusing on positive thoughts and memories. You can’t stop thinking about something. Instead, you have to change your thoughts. You are free to choose what you think about. Whenever you are upset with the way you are feeling, start thinking about something more pleasant.
Learn from your mistakes, they are a normal part of life. Maintain an awareness of what worked and what didn’t. Eliminate behavior which results in toxic emotions. You’re not a victim. You are free to make necessary changes to improve your life.
Have patience. You won’t completely eliminate toxic emotions, but you can minimize the amount of time they reside in your mind. In order to overcome toxic emotions, you must identify them as they occur. Once you realize negative feelings have taken hold, work to displace them with positive emotions.
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude is a powerful antidote to toxic emotions. Being thankful for all of the blessings in your life creates a potent force, which keeps negative emotions at bay. Other positive emotions worth cultivating include joy, pride, hope, happiness, and inspiration.
Toxic emotions can’t take hold when you are leading a rewarding life. You don’t have time for them while you are busy traveling down your desired path. Being immersed in positive energy creates a toxic emotion repelling force field
Bryan Golden is the author of "Dare to Live Without Limits."