It’s natural that we try to control our emotions — maximizing the positive ones like joy and excitement, minimizing things like anger and guilt.
While our behaviors and habits can definitely impact our emotions, in the moment, we actually have little control over what we’re feeling, and efforts to suppress certain emotions can either make them worse (ever try forcing yourself to not be afraid?) or evolve into even more negative emotions (suppressed anger becomes seething resentment).
If you’re experiencing negative emotions like anger, anxiety, or guilt, try to remember that humans often experience many emotions at once and that accepting the emotion doesn’t mean it must dominate your thoughts. If you imagine your inner workings as a banquet, you can acknowledge a boorish guest while also noticing the more welcome ones.
Lots of room at this table.
For example: “I am feeling anxiety. That’s okay, anxiety is here. So is anticipation, and so is curiousity.” It’s a way to notice negative emotions in the context of everything you’re feeling, rather than letting the most unpleasant emotions either dominate or be repressed entirely.
It sounds a bit hokey, but it helps to add balance to periods of anger, fear, and all those other feelings we’d rather not (but have to) feel.