Shifting Your Emotions

Moving from a place of negativity to a place of positive action

This is a simple little exercise I do when I am feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions or energy.

It’s inspired by the idea of, quite literally, burning negative stories and emotions. There may be a number of variations of it, but the general idea is that you write down what you are feeling on a piece of paper, and then blow all your negative feelings into that piece of paper, and burn it – thereby releasing them from your life. While the negative things are being turned to ash, you tune into what positive things you wish to bring into your life. I know a number of people who have found this to be very effective.

For me, living in a dense neighbourhood in the heart of a city, the idea made me somewhat uncomfortable. Fire seemed hard to come by – and more than a little on the dangerous side. So, I came up with a simple alternative that you can do safely and easily at any time, and in any place. I’ve been using it for two years, and have found it to be highly effective.

Here’s how it works:

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by negative emotions or stories, I sit down and think of the dominant six or so emotions that I’m feeling and I write them down. This gets them outside of me to a place where I can see them.

Next to each, I place a little arrow and an emotion I’d rather feel instead. For me, a key part is writing all of this down – doing it in my head doesn’t work the same. Once I have my little list, I read it through a few times, breathing slowly and deeply, and really try to tune into what I want to feel. Once I’ve spent a few minutes doing that, I always find myself feeling much lighter.

Next – and this is an important step – I think to myself, “Ok, what small step can I take next to get more of those things in my life right now?” Without fail, a quiet little answer will come back to me. Whatever that answer is, I get up and do that thing. Whether it’s making a cup of tea, going for a walk, or exploring an idea for a painting.

If you give this a try and find it works for you, come on over to Instagram or Facebook and tell me about it.

If you’re struggling with a lot of negative emotions day-to-day, maybe you have some really loud Inner Critics to deal with. I talk about what they are, where they come from, and how you can turn their negativity into a positive force in your life, in my free PDF ‘Banishing Your Inner Critics and Finding Your Guiding Energy’.

A few more examples from over the years:

You’ll notice how, oftentimes, the emotion/energy you want to shift to is not a direct opposite of the negative, but something even more powerful to you and how you want to show up in your life.
You can just sense the energy difference between the left column which is so agitated and tense, and the right which is calm and purposeful.
I just love the idea of doing your best each day – even if what you’re capable of on any given day varies from one to the next. I don’t remember where I came across the idea, but I find it so encouraging and reassuring.
Here’s the first set of words again – this list may be a little easier to read. You can see how the left words feel dark and impassable, whereas the right column feels like a seedling being given all it needs to begin to grow.


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