In our day to day lives, most people experience a number of emotions throughout the day—some positive, some negative. When, however, an individual experiences more negative emotions, these emotions can start to take a toll on both an individual’s sense of well being and health. A recent article on www.livescience.com entitled “7 thoughts that are bad for you” described the consequences of experiencing negative thoughts. The article highlighted the affects of the following thoughts:
1) Cynicism ( can be detrimental to cardiovascular health)
2) Lack of meaning (can lead to depression)
3) Fretting (can lead to stress, anxiety)
4) Lack of self-control (can lead to anxiety)
5) Anxiety (can lead to chronic health problems)
6) Gloom and Doom (can lead to depression)
7) Stress (can lead to significant anxiety, depressive symptoms as well as decrease physical health).
While I would argue that this list is probably not exhaustive , in terms of negative emotions and the effects that they can have on one’s wellbeing, I do think that the list is a useful tool to think about one’s current emotional state. Taking a couple minutes at the end of each day to evaluate the frequency and intensity at which one experiences these 7 thoughts is a helpful to gain insight into your current emotion. If you notice that you are experiencing a particular thought frequently, then you may want to explore the reason for that thought and if there are any proactive steps that you can take to experience more positive emotions throughout the day.
For many of us, while the holidays are an enjoyable time of the year, they also are associated with a significant amount of stress. If you start to notice that you are feeling stressed or having a lacking a sense of control, you may want to consider reviewing what strategies have helped you decrease stress in the past.