Don't get Swept, Up even if things aren't going well

Don't get Swept, Up even if things aren't going well
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

girl holding kite saying you shouldn't get swept up

You know how everythin g comes to an end. Even the mos t complicated situation will reach a conclusion. Even in the worst storms the sun is still hiding behind the clouds. But when you’re right in the middle of the negative situation, it seems like nothing can go right.

You unintentionally turn into a really negative person, thinking there’s no way out and it’s all over. You can’t see outside of the situation. Your feelings take over, giving up on yourself, and letting the headwind push you back.

Don’t get swept up when your negative emotions appear

It’s impossible to avoid feeling negative emotions. Just like it’s impossible to avoid confronting facts and circumstances that go against your wishes. These emotions have a purpose: they focus you on what’s happening and make you pause to reflect on the circumstances and come up with a solution. But their adaptive function can disappear when emotions take control of your actions and thoughts.

That’s when your thoughts fill up with defeatism. When you drop your arms and give up on all the behaviors that are there to balance out the negative period you’re going through. You end up trying to minimize the loss. Instead of getting the information the emotions are trying to convey, you let it turn into a sound box that deceptively loops over and over, destroying your spirit…and along with it, all your energy.

woman holding onto three birds with a thread

Go with it

So if you find yourself in this situation don’t let your negative emotions take over. And don’t try to fight against them either. They won’t be your enemies if you approach them right. All you have to take from them is their information and their energy. Accept that they’re part of you, but don’t let them become like viruses that infect your thoughts and actions.

Yes, you feel terrible at the time. Your partner left you and you think you’ll never find anyone else. Your boss fired you and you think it’s the last straw. Someone has let you down and you think you have to start to be skeptical of everyone. None of this will help you, it actually limits you and prolongs the suffering and pain in your life. 

The importance of getting emotional distance

Even if you feel worn out and think there’s no hope at all because of the storm clouds in your mind, you still have to make an effort to get some emotional distance from the situation you went through. You aren’t seeing anything clearly, so why not back up a little bit?

Doing that will help you see what’s going on a lot more clearly. You’ll get a new perspective that will also give you useful information for getting out of the place you’re stuck in.

But how do you get emotional distance for yourself? You can start by thinking about a past situation you’ve been through where you had similar feelings. Didn’t you end up getting through it? The fact is that after time goes by we sometimes minimize the importance we give to all the hardships we’ve gone through in our lives.

woman in a teacup

This will help you figure out that the situation is basically the same. The specifics are different, but the truth is that you’re going to find your way out. It can also help for you to talk with other people and pay attention to how they experience whatever it is you’re going through. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you see your situation from a new perspective.

You can do this

Keep in mind that even if you don’t think you’re strong enough to change any of what’s happening to you, that doesn’t mean you have to let yourself get swept away. Sometimes you just have to swim against the current. And that’s especially true in those times when your emotions cloud your vision so much that you undergo severe depression. So don’t let yourself get swept up by something you know you’ll see in a much less dramatic light one day. 

Images courtesy of Anne Solin

The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.