Intense emotions demand intense modes of expression. While there are many outlets for the feelings typically deemed positive, however, there are far fewer methods for constructively coping with anger, frustration, fear, sadness, or stress. Consequently, such feelings can cause us to believe that we are no longer in control of our emotional state. Backed into a mental corner, we may lash out at the first individual we encounter. Most of us will quickly discover that our misdirected outpouring of fury has not relieved the pressure of our pain. Powerful emotions are like the lava in a volcano poised to erupt–held in check with nothing but an eroding layer of calm. Within us lies the power to direct the flood of feeling that surges forth by channeling it into productive, artistic, or laborious pursuits.
Retaking control of our emotions at their height can be difficult because our already negative feelings can convince us that others are deserving of our wrath. But if we consciously look for healthier ways of expressing what we feel, we can both safely dispel our pain and use the energy of that pain to add value to our lives. Anger and sadness, for example, can become the inspiration that induces us to dedicate ourselves to bringing about the change we wish to see in the world. If we act rather than react, we can become effective agents of positive transformation. When we channel our frustration or feelings of stress into outside-the-box thinking and proactive exploits, we are more apt to discover solutions to the issues that initially left us stymied. And if we view fear as a signal that we need to reexamine our circumstances rather than a cue to flee, we may gain new and unexpected insight into our lives.
Channeling your emotions into constructive action can also prevent you from engaging in cyclical rumination in which you repeatedly relive the situation, event, or expectation that originally sparked your feelings in your mind’s eye. Since you are focused on a goal, even if your ambition is merely to better understand yourself, your pain is no longer being fed by your intellectual and emotional energy and quickly ebbs away. You not only avoid lashing out at others, but you also actively take part in your own healing process while honestly acknowledging and honoring your feelings.