How long do you stay there for?

Have you ever had one of those moments where something happens which triggers a negative emotion that becomes all consuming? This emotion may be disappointment in yourself due to a personal failing, it could be that someone has made a hurtful comment about an insecurity you may have which upsets you. You go to a place where you become 100% consumed by negative emotions and thoughts, it’s like the rest of the world disappears. 

A while a go I was out with a friend of mine and they received a text message which immediately had an obvious effect on their emotional state. Someone had sent them a message that triggered my friend to go to a negative emotional place. It was amazing to watch this transition, one minute they were in a happy place to the next minute where the negativity was all consuming, it was like I was watching a movie where a human mutates into another creature. My friend’s breathing increased, their shoulders become tense, the tone of their speech completely changed, and I could see their eyes go distant. It was obvious that my friend was going to be consumed by this for while.  

When we explore the cost of being in this place we can see that it can lead to more negative consequences. It can affect the relationships with those around us, it can lead to us withdrawing from activities that are healthy for us and some people turn to destructive behaviours like heavy drinking or drugs. There’s also the opportunity cost, the cost of not being able to live your life in the way you want while you are in this place. 

Sometimes when we are experiencing this negative headspace, a well intended friend may try to be supportive and say something like ‘don’t worry about it just let it go, in a month from now you won’t be thinking about this’. Although there may be a lot of truth to their comment it often doesn't help because you find it hard to just ‘let it go’. But eventually you do move on and find a way that allows you to let it go. 

If we can understand the cost these negative times have on us and that they often have unhealthy consequences, the question I have for you is;  what activities enable and allow you to move on in a healthy way? It might be talking to a trusted friend helps, it might be doing some exercise, it might be writing your thoughts down or even listening to music. It may be a combination of these but it is a good question to ask yourself.

99% of us are going to experience times in our life where we are consumed by negativity which restricts us, it’s all part of our journey but our aim is to minimise the time we spend here. If the trigger that lead to your negativity meant that you were consumed for the next 8 hours of your life, if you could get that down to 4 hours, the affect would have less of an impact. This is where we want to go back to the tools/activities we know have helped us move on in the past.

When my friend received that text if they could recognise they were in a bad space they could identify the best way forward and the healthiest way to deal with what they were going through. They may know that they should go for a walk around the park and call their best mate to talk about what they are going through, this would put positive action into play and would be a step in the direction of being able to move on faster. If they had made these activities a priority to be done within the next hour, instead of this taking the whole day, the time spent in their bad place could be massively reduced,

All of us experience negative times in our lives to different extents, it’s just a part of life. What we want to learn about ourselves is ‘what are the healthy ways I know work for me to move me away from a negative space in the fastest way possible?’. If you can develop this side of yourself, and it will take time and development, you’ll be living a happier and healthy life. 

This piece orginally appeared in The Press


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Bevan Eyles