Healthy Ways to Manage Negative Emotions

I'm not a country or blues music fan, but Chris Stapleton fascinates me.

I remember seeing him perform on an awards show (I think it was the Grammys) years ago. At that time, there was a woman standing on stage near Chris as he performed. She wasn't a backup singer nor dancer. She was just standing there. And I thought, what in the world is she doing?!

Well, it turns out that lady is Chris's wife. Chris had so much performance anxiety that he needed his wife to be present on stage for him to stay grounded. She was apparently doing this at all his concerts.

I found myself saying "maybe he's chosen the wrong career if he's that uncomfortable performing in front of people."

But I recently saw Chris perform on the Grammys again. This time, his wife was not on stage. And I watched him closely. He sang amazingly! Very soulful. He never once looked out at the crowd. And he didn't make eye contact with the camera.

I went to his Wikipedia page to find out more about his personality, but didn't see too much of that aspect. So I think his performance anxiety has probably improved, but is still a factor. I also think he must have a horrible introvert hangover after a performance!

In case you're not familiar with the term, an introvert hangover is that brain fog, zero energy state that happens when an introvert socializes too much or steps way outside of their comfort zone. [Check out this video for how you can prevent it!]

Or maybe Chris is a shy extrovert. If you're a fan of his, please tell me more of his story.

The point of sharing is that he demonstrates how uncomfortable it can be when pursuing your dreams. Fear and anxiety stop so many people from reaching their true potential. Fear keeps you playing small. So I ask...

What do you need to overcome to become your highest self?

Worry about what other people think?
Justifying your procrastination?
Disorganization/time management?
Trying to control the future?
Hanging out with negative people?

All of that is self sabotage.

Deep down you know you will need to change in order to become a better version of yourself. And that's scary.

It means confronting feelings and, us humans aren't so good with managing emotions. We use coping mechanisms like stress eating, retail therapy, tv show marathons, and alcohol to cover our feelings without actually processing them.

The only way to get out of the cycle is to stop and address emotions so you can become peaceful.

Sitting with your discomfort isn't fun, but it does provide answers. Journal, cry, meditate, and ask yourself why you are feeling this way. Get the feelings out. When you keep your emotions in and ignore them, they continue to build and add fuel to the fire.

Fear, worry, and overthinking do not protect you. Action does. Create habits that are healthy ways to manage negative emotions. Here are some ideas:

  1. To release stress, have a weekly standing appointment with yourself to write out everything that is causing you stress.
  2. To reduce overwhelm, say no more often, and stop squeezing things on to your calendar and To-Do list.
  3. When you're feeling anxious, pause and ask yourself "is that true?"
  4. When you're feeling jealous or comparing yourself to others, write down 5 things you are grateful for.
  5. When you're procrastinating with perfectionism, announce a launch date or share a specific date on social media.
  6. When you're feeling irritable or pessimistic, experience something new or connect with someone.

If nothing is helping your mood improve, then it's time to step away and take a real break. Not the kind of time off where you're on vacation, but still checking email. I mean real time off like this beach retreat for introverts.

Your habits are a part of who you are. And while you can't escape hard days forever, you can rely on the above habits to consistently manage negative emotions and restore peace and joy more quickly.

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