If you’re not feeling a little bit of negative energy right now, I have some bad news. You are a Westworld Host and need an update.
But seriously, we are living in a maelstrom of negative emotions. From the health anxiety many people have, to fearing for sick loved ones, to political tension… I keep saying, if you aren’t a little bit anxious, you aren’t paying attention.
I know I personally have been dealing with a lot of negative emotions in 2020. My soon-to-be kindergartener is not going to get the fun experience she deserves. I have 2 high risk parents that I worry about. Plus, other things that I choose to keep private. It has been a really hard year, and I know I’m not alone.
That’s what inspired me to do this series based on a popular post of mine from several months back: Positivity & Negativity: How to Challenge Negative Thought Patterns. I want to give you some tools to deal with the negative emotions we have been unexpectedly faced with.
You can read the first 2 posts in the series here:
In this post, I am going to talk about what causes negative emotions, how to combat negative words from others, and 9 effects of negative emotions + thoughts on your body. Keep reading to find out more!
This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. See my Privacy and Affiliate Disclaimer pages for more info.
Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
What causes negative emotions?
Like I said, it is natural to feel some form of negative emotions and have negative thoughts right now. After all, I don’t think anyone living (in the US at least) has ever really been through something like this.
That being said, negative emotions are not normal, psychologically speaking, so it’s important to learn what causes them. And more importantly, how we can manage them. What are some examples of the emotions and thoughts that I am referring to?
Negative emotions you might be feeling
- Lack of control
- Lack of motivation
Negative thoughts you might be thinking
- This is never going to end
- I’m going to get sick and die
- Someone I love is going to get sick
- My kids are going to get so behind in school
- I’ll never be able to manage working from home
What causes this?
I talked about this more in depth in the first post in this series, but here is a little snippet:
Do you daydream a lot? Find yourself lost in thought? I know I do. I’m an introvert and massively introspective. If you are like me, you can thank your DMN (default mode network) for that. The Psychology Today article says that your DMN is a network of brain regions that work together to allow you to reflect on past, present, or future events. Your PFC (prefrontal cortex) is a guide for your DMN to help it prioritize which thoughts and ideas are most important. So this is actually a very useful part of your brain!
But when a person has depression, their PFC is their worst enemy and tells their brain that the negative emotions and thoughts are more important than the positive ones!
I found this really interesting! It’s nice to know that there is a reason you feel this way.
How to combat negative words from others
Sadly, you might be in a situation where the things you are thinking and feeling might be caused by other people. Tensions are high right now, and social media keyboard warriors are spoiling for a fight. You might also find yourself clashing with friends and family that have different political beliefs with the impending election.
Does that sound like the situation you’re in? If so, there are ways to protect your heart and mind.
- Correct the person. I don’t mean intentionally start a fight, but if a person says something that offends you, it is okay to correct them.
- Unfollow, unfriend, or block on social media. Even if this is someone you are close with, it is perfectly alright to keep them off your posts and newsfeed. Your mental health matters!
- Practice shielding meditations. This is a great tool for empaths like me that are easily affected by the emotions of others.
- Tell them you need space. If they are always negative or unkind, tell them you need some time to distance yourself from them. This might be a difficult conversation, but again, it’s perfectly okay.
Keep reading to find out what can happen if you let your thoughts get out of control!
9 effects of negative thoughts
When you are chronically negative, this can have lasting effects on your body. That’s why it is so important to learn how to think more positively. According to the University of Minnesota, here are some consequences to a negative lifestyle.
The more negatively you think, the more stress you put on your body. Stress is super bad for you, like I talked about in a previous post. While it can be hard to avoid, depending on your life circumstances, there are ways you can stress as it comes up. Here are some of my favorite methods that I use in my own life:
- Break a sweat
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Write in a journal
- Soak in a hot bath with epsom salts
Let me know some of your favorite ways to destress in the comments! And click the image to get started journaling.
This stress can affect your hormones too! So, people with female parts especially, listen up!
Managing our hormones is really important for the body’s general functioning. Not sure if your hormones are messed up? Check out these common signs in people with female parts, according to Healthline:
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Urinary incontinence
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Night sweats
- Leg cramps
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of interest in sex
But I am not a medical professional. If you are experiencing one or more of these, definitely check with your doctor.
Makes you unhappy
This one’s pretty obvious. The more negative thoughts you think, the unhappier you are. Negativity affects every aspect of your life. Thoughts lead to feelings which lead to a host of related behaviors. These behaviors lead back to more thoughts, and so on and so forth.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that you want to be happy. Am I right? If so, one of the most important things you can do is focus on gratitude and choosing a positive outlook. That doesn’t mean pretending you aren’t mentally ill. It means adopting the following skill: Okay, X thing happened. I will deal with it in Y positive way. That’s all.
This takes a lot of practice, so make the commitment to start today. Each time you think a negative thought, or feel a negative emotion, tell yourself: I am going to respond to this in a positive way. And then immediately take action!
Damages our immune system
Being constantly filled with negative emotions can also damage your immune system. According to one article:
Negative mood—such as sadness and anger—is associated with higher levels of inflammation and may be a signal of poor health, according to researchers at Penn State. (…) Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response to such things as infections, wounds, and damage to tissues. Chronic inflammation can contribute to numerous diseases and conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.Negative mood signals body’s immune response
It’s more important than ever to be doing this to support our immune system, as we’re living in the middle of a pandemic. So load up on Vitamin C, probiotics, and Vitamin D, and get plenty of rest! I love these gummies for daily immune support. Click the image below to order some ASAP.
Shortens our lifespan
This is because chronic stress and negativity increase a hormone in your body called cortisol. Cortisol causes a lot of the effects we are talking about in this article, especially the ones below. The more physical health issues you have, the less likely you are to live to a ripe old age.
I know I would love to live a long time. That’s why I’ve been working so hard in my own life to try to control the negative emotions that are due to things 2020 hath wrought.
Also known as high blood pressure, this is something you want to avoid. How do you know if you have HBP, apart from asking a doctor?
Often it is hard to tell. This is why it is so important to go to your regular check-ups with your primary care physician so that they can check your blood pressure. It can lead to really serious problems if not monitored.
Increases chance for heart disease
Negative emotions can also lead to increased risk for heart issues. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that this is a big no-no. Heart issues can literally kill you.
Luckily, we live in a time where there are plenty of treatment options for heart disease. But for one thing, all that depends on a person’s insurance (If you live in the US of A like me.) If you don’t have insurance, or the coverage isn’t great, it might be harder to find ways to treat your heart disease.
Also, just try not to do things that lead to heart disease. Pinkie promise?
Worsens digestive health
You ever notice how when you’re super anxious or depressed, you get tons of stomach aches? Negative emotions can have an impact on your digestive health. This is one I personally experience on a regular basis.
There is emerging research about the link between the mind and the gut. It’s definitely worth looking into a probiotic to help manage your digestive health. You can click the image below to order some, and search for ones that suit you.
Make sure you also eat healthy foods that promote gut health. According to WebMD, “Prebiotic foods (whole grains, bananas, greens, onions, garlic, soybeans, and artichokes) act as food for healthy gut bacteria. Probiotic foods like yogurt are full of good bacteria already.”
Increases risk for infection
I already kind of talked about this earlier. Constant negative emotions can lead to an increase in inflammation in the body, which puts you at greater risk for infection.
With a pandemic going on, make sure you are keeping this in mind so you can avoid life-threatening respiratory infections. If you can do this, by trying to control your negative emotions, it is definitely worth a shot!
Don’t let negative thinking take away your quality of life!
Do you live with constant negativity? Let me know in the comments! (Plus, make sure to share this on social media or Pinterest. You never know who it might be helpful to.)
Negative emotions and thoughts are homewreckers. As Michael Scott would say, “Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be.” (NBC’s “The Office” in case you live under a rock.)
That’s what I say to negative emotions! I, for one, am choosing to make the last few months of 2020 filled with joy.
Remember: that does not mean I magically don’t have depression or anxiety anymore. It doesn’t mean I won’t have anything bad happen to me, or won’t have bad days. It doesn’t mean I am free of negative emotions for good.