Unpleasant Feelings

Chapter 18 of the book Self-Help Stuff That Works

by Adam Khan

NEGATIVE FEELINGS PLAGUE all of us from time to time. Worry creeps into the mind like an unwelcome in-law, and if something isn't done about it, the worry will stay and eat you out of house and home. Anger strikes, pumping your body full of adrenaline, making it hard to concentrate on your work or speak with a civil tongue. Depression brings feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, darkening and saddening your world like a cold, bleak day in winter.

These are the three faces of negative feelings: Worry, anger, depression. Most negative feelings you ever feel are a shade of anxiety, anger, or sadness. You know these feelings are unpleasant. You know they aren't good for your health. But what can you do to minimize the amount of time you feel them?

First, of course, is to look at the situation causing the negative feelings. If there is a concrete circumstance, a real problem causing the feeling, give it some good hard thought and then do something about it, if you can.

But if there's nothing you can do about it, get involved in something that engages your mind and forget about it. Don't try to stop thinking negatively. Simply try to get absorbed in doing something constructive.

Purposeful activities occupy mind-space, and the more the task engages or takes up your attention, the more mind-space it occupies. Get involved enough in something or do something absorbing enough, and there's no more mind-space left to think about anything else.

What continues a negative emotion is thinking about it. Just as you can distract a crying child and he will forget his skinned knee, you can distract yourself with something so interesting or challenging or important, your mind will stop thinking about the problem, and your negative feelings - now that you're no longer producing them with your thoughts - will dissipate.

Seek escape from unnecessary negative feelings by fleeing into a purpose. It will take your mind off the negative thing, giving you a healthful break from those negative feelings. The side effect is that something purposeful and productive gets done in the meantime. And that will give you something to feel good about.

Relieve negative feelings by turning your attention to purposeful activities.

Find out a useful way to look at the cause of anger, and how much control over your own life this insight can give you:
Argue With Yourself and Win


If worry is a problem for you, or even if you would like to simply worry less even though you don't worry that much, you might like to read this:
The Ocelot Blues

We've been fooled into believing that more material goods
will make us happier than we are now:
We've Been Duped

next: The How of Tao

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, October 14). Unpleasant Feelings, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: March 31, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info