Shall We Dance? How To Manage Negative Emotions
Imagine you exit your favourite chocolaterie and you see you best friend a few metres from you. She looks towards you, you wave at her but without saying a word she gets into the car and leaves. What would you think?
Probably, if something good happened to you throughout the day, you’ll probably think she didn’t see you, you’ll text her about it, end of story. However, if you feel particularly touched by something, the dance of ideas in your head will play an alternative choreography, with different reasons and conclusions.
Our mindset tends to make sense of the circumstances we encounter in our everyday lives through past experiences and our mood in the moment of the event (In our example, seeing our friend). The information needs to be adapted to fit in certain logic, so we take our behaviour and conclusions from previous situations to the present one, right here right now. And it’s ok, that’s how we live our days.
The little problem arises when the dance of ideas crystallises in just one interpretation, usually a negative one. If my only understanding of what I saw is that my friend deliberately didn’t want to say hi to me, I’ll rarely go back to the factual information in the scene and consider other options: she didn’t see me, she was distracted, the sun blinded her. Who knows…
To flirt with rigid thoughts about the world shapes up a toxic pattern in our brains and we get hooked to a past where things went wrong. The idea of my friend rejecting me feels real and permanent, but it is in fact temporary if we can escape from overgeneralisation and the dance might well open possibilities rather than jump into debatable conclusions.
Let always help our ideas to improve their moves. Prof. Lic. Romina Ciccarelli, Argentine Psychologist, member of the British Psychological Society and Superpow! Therapist.