Negative emotions are there to protect you. Wouldn't it be a better world if we were to be happy and sing happy songs all the time? But the reality is, for most people, we battle within us all the time.
Negative emotions are something that perhaps all of us are trying to push out. but the more we push it out, the more they find their ways back in at the most inconvenient times
When you are angry, sad, or depressed, the last thing you should do is suppressing those emotions. But some occasions are more inconvenient than others to have a meltdown.
Your negative emotion first came into shape to protect you.
For example, today, you might feel angry every time someone is late. If you think back to childhood, this emotion might have started with a parent. This parent might be late for your important occasions. He/she might have missed your dance recitals. You might have felt very disappointed and expressed your disappointment to your parent. But instead of apologizing, he/she yelled at you, saying something hurtful that leaves a permanent mark on you. So immediately, your little brain goes into overdrive and try to protect you.
You learned that being vulnerable is dangerous. But somehow, you still need to feel significant. How would a small child like you gain any control over situations like this? You get angry. At least when you are mad, people are paying attention.
Raising a child is like constructing a building. Every experience lays a brick. Some children are lucky that most of their bricks are laid with care and love, but many of us are not that lucky. We grow up to be adults with a lot of crooked bricks in our foundations.
Three months ago, I started using a habit-forming app called Fabulous. In one of its coaching session, it introduced to me the concept of mindbus. Meditation is a great way to stop negative thinking patterns. However, when negative emotions hit me hard on some days, I wish I could find a "place" to store or offload all of them.
How I Feel After Using the Mindbus Technique
Whenever I feel life gets too overwhelming, like on the verge of an angry outburst, I stop everything and find a quiet place to sit or lay down. I don't talk to anyone till I can get a hold of my emotion. Although other meditation techniques help me a lot, the mindbus method is the quickest way to stop the negative thinking pattern.
How Does the Mindbus Technique Work - with My Twist
We will use anger as an example, but you can use this technique on just about any sort of emotion.
When you feel anger start to boil inside you, before it reaches the boiling point, walk away, and find a private place. You could be at work and have to deal with a difficult person, walk away, and hop in your car immediately. You don't want to wait too long when anger takes over you; that will be too late. The goal is to put out the fire before it gets out of control.
Then close your eyes, take three deep breaths all the way down to your belly and let it out through your mouth.
Now, take inventory of what you feel right now. Where does the anger live? Is it in your heart, in your head, in your back, or in your hips? What does it feel like? Is it painful? Using Ken Wilber's integral meditation technique, I want you to take this subjective emotion and turn it into an object.
For example, my anger is a cartoonish red ball with very few long thin strands of hair; it has bumps all over its body. It has two colossal thick black eyebrows, two angry flames coming out the eyes, and the outer corner of the eyes point down. It has a giant mole on the right cheek. Four limbs are thin spaghetti noodles and look ridiculous compare to its enormous body.
Ridiculous, right? The more detail you have, the better. I tend to add tons of detail to my anger monster.
Now imagine anger is riding on a bus, and you are the bus driver. You are cool, calm, and collected. You are cruising on this road with ease and style. Not far from a distance, you see a sign that says Anger Town. You can see many o anger monsters walking around in the Town Square; this is where your anger monster will depart.
The bus has stopped, the anger monster is mad about something. We don't know and don't care what it is angry about; we simply wait for it to get off the bus. It might get off quickly or take some time; we don't care about that either. On the way out, it kicks some seats, maybe spit on the floor, and cuss a little, but you don't care. You can fix the damages with magic.
Become a total observer of your anger at this moment, don't interrupt or intervene; you don't have to do anything. Simply observe.
Anger is finally off the bus; you saw all those anger monsters up close; some of them have broken out a fight among themselves. But you don't care, not your business.
Here is where I add my twist. On my bus, on the upper deck, I have Joy, Love, and Happiness. With anger gone, they can finally relax and enjoy the ride. I imagine they have a grand time, have a drink or two, and having loads of fun with each other.
Why This Technique Works
You are never going to get rid of your emotions fully. To live is to feel. All your feelings serve a purpose, even the bad ones. The goal here is never to get rid of your anger; it is merely offloading it because it's not an appropriate time to have anger right now. But how do you get rid of something so elusive? This is why this technique is so powerful. In turning something subjective into something objective, we can finally get a hold of it and put it where we want it to be.
Visualization is powerful. When we visualize something, we trick our brain into believing it's a reality. Every thought we have affects us. If we can trick our brains into thinking so, it gives us time to deal with it when appropriate.
Lastly, the more detail you give to your emotion monster, the better the technique works. When we were little, emotions are powerful. It takes over us, whether it's joy or sadness. But we are not little anymore, even though our brains trick us into thinking so. The more ridiculous your emotion looks, the better you tell your brain that, "see, it's nothing to be afraid of anymore, you got this!"
I like this technique as an emergency route. If you feel sad, depressed, or angry, evidently kick it off the bus is a short-term remedy; it will not get it to go away.
I am very against suppressing emotions, but sometimes it's just not a good time to have a meltdown like in the middle of your office floor. Therefore, use it as a life jacket, but ultimately, you want to learn to swim if you are often going to be in that water we call life.