Unhealthy Emotion Processing Activity
Do you have a hard time moving past negative emotions? You may using unhealthy emotional processes. Try this exercise to begin to shift your habits.
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On this website, you can practice a bunch of activities to increase your happiness. But what about the negative emotions that you experience. Does increasing happiness just make negative emotions go away?
Sometimes, but not always.
Unfortunately, for many of us, our brains are already wired in ways that make it easier to generate negative emotions. So, in addition to creating new neural pathways that strengthen experience of positive emotion, you likely also need to work on stopping the unhealthy processes that generate negative emotions. By doing so, you make our attempts to increase happiness more successful.
Activity: Unhealthy emotional processing
In this activity, you'll learn about emotional processes that generate negative emotions. For each process, rate how often you engage in it. Then try to recall a time when you engaged in it. Finally, come up with an action plan for how to stop the process.
You could have a word you say when you notice you are having unhealthy thoughts that reminds you to change your thinking. Or, you could have an activity you engage in. For example, when I find myself feeling emotionally overwhelmed, I go for a run. If I am not able to go for a run, I excuse myself to go the restroom and take a few deep breaths.
Everyone is different. So, try to think of what might work for you, and be willing to try different approaches until you find one that works.
Unhealthy emotional processes:
What did you say?
Thank you to everyone who submitted your responses to this activity! We can now share what our community does to stop negative emotional processes.
Here are some examples of things you can try:
About Dr. Tchiki Davis
Dr. Davis is founder of The Berkeley Well-Being Institute. After getting her PhD in psychology at Berkeley, she started creating online content & programs to boost well-being—some of these have reached more than a million people. As author of Outsmart Your Smartphone, and contributor to Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and Shine Text, Dr. Davis aims to share her insights on happiness & health with people all across the world. Learn more about Dr. Davis.