Burnout Solution 3: Positive About Negative Feelings
Updated: Jul 27
What we wish for when we are in a negative emotional state is to come out of it. Yet, it's a cycle: the more we want to be out of the negative, the worse we feel. The switch back to a positive outlook often remains elusive, meaning we start to wish for it even more. That's the cycle. Luckily, there is a way out: embracing the bad.
The paradox of emotions
It's a paradox: the best thing to do break the cycle of negative feelings is to simply embrace them. This is the reality: Life sucks sometimes. It is never easy. For no one. That’s why it’s okay to feel down sometimes. It is in fact very natural to do so. You feel like shit already. That's okay. So, why beat yourself up over it any further? It's okay to feel bad sometimes.
Now this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to think positive! But in a burnout state of mind, this can be tough. So my best advice is to stop fighting it. The trick is embracing this particular paradox: feeling okay about feeling bad. To allow it and give your self time and space to slowly start feeling better.
Feeling okay about feeling bad
What I have found works well is to stop trying to ‘cure’ your burnout. You should definitely ‘treat’ your symptoms and causes! But try not to think of getting out of a burnout as being 'cured'. You're not 'cured'. Negative stuff will always happen in life, and sometimes you will feel bad and have depression and burnout symptoms. It's just what it is. There is no 'cure' to the negative in life.
There is however, the possibility of treatment in the form of increasing your mental and physical strength. To get there, what you really need is an acceptance of your negative feelings and the belief that they are perfectly normal. That acceptance of the negative almost automatically triggers more positive thoughts.
I draw heavily from my own experience as a writer and musician here. I am naturally a little bit more prone to depression because I have a this creative urge. This means that periods of writer’s block or the ‘black hole’ after finishing an artwork have been a part of my life. Maybe more than in most other people's lives. I have found that the more I accepted my negative emotions, the quicker they went away. Up to a point where I even don’t experience depression and writer’s block anymore, just periods of mild annoyance with myself.
So, there you have it. It's okay to feel bad. Be positive about feeling negative. Those negative emotions are there for a reason: to signal what to do to make it better. So, in a way, it's actually positive to have them.
It's natural. And, by accepting them, they will go away in time. Take it easy. Love.
(Check out the book Restart here)
Rogier van Kralingen