Reframe ‘Negative’ Emotions As ‘Difficult’ Emotions

Reframe ‘Negative’ Emotions As ‘Difficult’ Emotions

Nobody likes being sad, angry or heartbroken. If you want to give yourself a leg up on getting through troubling times, a simple mental reframe can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Photo by Eneas De Troya.

Ethan Nichtern, author of The Road Home and senior teacher in Shambhala Buddhism, recommends a method conceptualised by the Dalai Lama. Instead of calling anger or sadness “negative” emotions, you identify them as something you can overcome: A “difficult” emotion. As Nichtern explains, you still point to there being an emotion present, but you don’t create any bias toward or away from the experience.

This can dramatically change your perspective for the better. It may not lower the intensity of what you’re feeling — it’s important to feel what you need to feel — but it does transform it into a challenge you can overcome, not a fate you must suffer through.

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