What is Emotional Avoidance? Here’s How to Use Negative Emotions in Your Favor

Last Update on August 10, 2023 : Published on September 18, 2021
emotional avoidance

Emotions are powerful. They can be very scary at times and all you want is for them to vanish. Since emotions are not going to go away on their own, we sometimes push them away. And once you start doing that emotional avoidance becomes a practice.

Now, feeling bad about something or being vulnerable is not a bad thing. We break at times, gather ourselves and get back on our feet. That’s how life is! And it’s also natural to not want to be in such situations again.

The problems begin when you start to completely avoid some of your emotions. Our emotions can help us a lot and emotional avoidance will not end well. So, let’s use our negative emotions to our benefit.

Also Read: The Importance Of Expressing Emotions 

But first, let’s understand what emotional avoidance is…

What is Emotional Avoidance?

According to mental health experts, emotional avoidance is when you stop acknowledging your feelings and emotions. We all have bad days and we start avoiding our emotions. We will only end up worsening the situation.

When we purposely try to numb ourselves to our negative emotions in order to reduce the pain is called emotional avoidance. Whenever things go wrong we try to make it right, don’t we? When we stop considering that things aren’t right and that we feel a certain way about it, that’s how emotional avoidance works.

For example, you have a problem with something your friend does. You are really bothered by it and it makes you feel very angry but you choose to avoid your emotions and do not confront the friend. The anger that you are bottling up will change the way you look at your friend and may even end up losing the friendship.

If you would have confronted your friend and acknowledged emotions you would have saved your friendship and your mental peace.

This is a very, very basic example but can you understand what I am trying to say? Give your emotions the importance they need. Because sometimes our emotions can help us understand our problems.

Reasons Why Avoiding Emotions is Not a Good Idea

1. Emotions have a massage.

Our emotions are always trying to tell us something. They give us signals whenever we are confused. So, when we avoid emotions when in, avoid important signals and messages. These messages have the capacity of even warning us for future dangers.

2. Avoiding emotions only intensifies them.

When you have a knife cut do you try to push it back into your skin? Do you forget about it or do nothing about it? No, you don’t! Similarly, when you push your emotions back into your mind it’s only going to intensify the feeling. Address it and move on!

3. Harmful steps you take to avoid emotions.

Many people take support of self-harm or substance abuse in order to avoid what they might be feeling. The measures you might take to avoid feeling a certain way can be dangerous for you and others.

I know that negative emotions can be overwhelming and not having to feel them is better. But no shortcut leads to a happy ending so take the tougher route so that the end is fruitful.

Here’s how you can use these negative emotions to your benefit because avoiding them is not an option now.

How to Use Negative Emotions in Your Favor?

1. Turn anger into creativity

There have been studies that state that many people try to indulge in creative activities when they feel anger. Which means creativity can help in dealing with anger without having to avoid the emotion.

Use the energy to build something or paint something or fix something. Do something creative so that the anger can be released in a healthier way. Being creative has a lot of other benefits as well.

2. Being in an intense situation can broaden your perspective

Sometimes when you are in an overwhelming situation you experience a lot of emotions. Shutting your mind to your emotions will not end up well. But when you face an intense situation you have the opportunity to view things in a different light.

Being in such situations can broaden your spectrum towards life. Don’t be disheartened, rather use it to your advantage.

3. Turn your shame into compassion

Having a constant feeling of shame is a nice way to be. But avoiding this emotion is also not the right thing to do. Since you know how it feels, be compassionate. Have compassion for you and others.

Speak up! Put your point across and listen to what others have to say. Shame is stronger when you don’t have belief in yourself. So, be compassionate about yourself.

4. Pessimism can increase productivity

First of all, know when you are being a pessimist. Once you’ve done that use that information in a way that invert your pessimistic thought. If you think that the glass is half empty then work towards filling the glass completely. Turn your pessimism into productivity.

5. Turn jealousy into growth

Jealousy is common, we can feel it many times. And the most common approach is to avoid this emotion. Don’t do that! Try to find out what is affecting you. Then try to focus your entire energy on building yourself. Work towards making yourself a better person.

Holistically speaking, try to find positivity in all the negativity your emotions might be giving you. You always have lessons to be learned in any and every situation you face. Hence, avoiding your emotions is not the right thing to do.

Emotional avoidance can harm you more than your fear. Face your emotions and let them out of your system. Do not bottle them up because when the bottle bursts it’s going to be a disaster.

I hope this blog helps you deal with emotional avoidance. Try using your negative emotions to your advantage and you’ll be amazed to see the difference.

Thanks for reading!

Take care and Be safe!

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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