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The Truth Behind Changing Negative Emotions to Positive Ones

The Truth Behind Changing Negative Emotions to Positive Ones

So Let’s Get Technical……


Emotions have been polarized into two broad categories—negative and positive. Here, you are given the types of negative emotions and how to move to its corresponding positive emotions, but alongside is what experts fail to tell you.

Commonly, positive emotions are deemed good, while negative ones are bad: the latter has been found by the Center for Disease Control to have influenced 85 percent of all diseases, making medical conditions more severe.

Dr. Neil Levitsky of Toronto, Ontario, categorized negative emotions into five:

  • Sadness (depression, despair, hopelessness, etc.)
  • Anxiety (fear, worry, concern, nervous, panic, etc.)
  • Anger (irritation, frustration, annoyance, rage, etc.)
  • Guilt
  • Shame/Embarrassment

Each of those categories would have a corresponding positive form:

  • happiness
  • collectedness
  • calmness
  • satisfaction
  • esteem

There are many proposed ways to turn negative emotions into positive ones, but Bernard Rime, author of Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, discusses the most common of methods—sharing.

Holding back emotions could stress the body, and Rime notes that “inhibition can affect immune function, the action of the heart and vascular systems, and even the biochemical workings of the brain and nervous systems.” Thus, sharing or venting is imperative.

Indeed, this method could change sadness into happiness since there are individuals who are able to make sad people laugh. Then there are some who can ease others’ anxieties, turning these to collectedness. There are those gifted with calming anyone in rage. and with influencing satisfaction and building confidence in a guilty and embarrassed person. Eventually, the one who is sharing forgets the negatives and feel good.

Clearly, sharing could benefit the one releasing an emotion, but what of the receiver?

Experts often fail to elaborate that while sharing helps the one making a revelation, it actually harms the receiving end. Some recipients could be irritated by the constant yapping of a person; others could be worried by the emotion of which they learn; some could feel guilty or embarrassed by having discovered something about someone.

Venting on social media is particularly a big issue. There have been many lives and corporate images tainted because one person just vented in a social network post which eventually went viral. A study published in PLOS ONE about emotions on Facebook, conducted by political scientist James Fowler, reveals that emotional change in one person causes emotional changes in another.

Ultimately, people who learn the negative emotions of someone eventually develop their own strong feelings. At a macro-level, if all people share negative emotions indiscriminately, there will emerge a vicious cycle of one person venting to another, who then shares to another, who then discloses to yet another, and soon the venting takes a full circle and the worst case scenario is the surfacing of fights.

So where should you draw the line in sharing emotions?

All these are not to say that you should not share, but that when you are feeling strong emotions, you should be selective of with whom to speak and of venues in which to vent, because while sharing is indeed effective in changing negative emotions into its corresponding positive emotions, this is only helping you, but could possibly harm the one who is listening to you in the process.