Anger or Sadness Overload
June 24th 2016
What do you do when you're overwhelmed with anger, or taking a hit of sadness?
This week I wanted to share with you how I deal with negative emotions.
I learned an amazing way to think about emotions from an Aussie man who’s a lovely businessman and coach. His name is Paul Blackburn and he taught me this. He taught me that the three base negative emotions are anger, sadness, and fear. And he said just imagine you’ve got three buckets, an anger bucket, a sadness bucket, and a fear bucket. And everyone’s different and everyone’s got different time-lengths that it takes to fill each bucket up. So someone might be able to fill their bucket up once a day. Other people take six months to fill up their anger bucket. And it’s the same with sadness and fear.
He says that you know when your anger bucket is getting full, you know when your sadness bucket’s getting full, and you know when your fear bucket’s getting full. You start kind of losing a little bit of control over your emotions. Up until that point you’re able to sweep it under the rug or just put it out of your mind or it’s not heavy enough for you to even think about.
But as soon as these buckets start getting full they start pulling your attention into it. Even if you want to be busy doing other things, these emotions will grab your attention and go… you need to pay attention to this.
For example with your anger bucket, when it’s starting to get… when it is full and it’s almost overflowing and it’s wanting to empty, you’ll find that you’ll start getting fidgety or really abrupt with people and curt with people. You might just throw the dishes into the sink a little bit harder than normal. You’re just getting that… it’s not nervousness but it’s that anger, you know, that frustration, that kind of short fuse, and it’s building, not into any full-blown volcanic eruption yet, but it’s kind of giving you warning signs.
If you don’t have healthy ways to take care of these buckets, you probably have adopted unhealthy ways that you’ve observed from adults when you were younger of how to deal with these buckets when they want to empty. And often it’s very unconscious. It’s just the nearest person that you feel safe with, the straw that breaks the camel’s back and boom, you throw your anger bucket all over them. It’s often a family member or a close friend. It’s often never a boss or someone that holds consequences for you. It’s someone that you feel comfortable with that will be there the next day, and you just kind of throw your bucket over them.
And instantly you feel better. You say like ah, 03:25 I don’t have to carry this anymore. You just feel like empty, you’ve emptied your bucket, and what I mean by emptying your bucket is you scream, you throw a tantrum, you get really angry, vocal about it and you express it, but it’s in a very unhealthy way.
And after you feel the sense of relief, you automatically feel guilt because you know that was so out of proportion to what just happened. That level of anger was so out of proportion to what just happened and it’s not fair, and then you feel really bad about yourself and then you feel really guilty about what just happened and the explosion that just happened. That obviously would upset the person around you.
Sadness is the same, you know, the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and you’ll be flooded with tears and sometimes it’ll happen in the supermarket or in the car or straight after work or sometimes during work which is horrible because that’s the last place you need to kind of empty your bucket where you’re needing to be engaged in other stuff and then the emotions are taking over. But when the bucket is full, it needs to empty and it will empty anywhere because your body can only take so much.
You’ll know for yourself how often these buckets get full for you and filled for you. You might be a six-month person when it comes to anger, but you might be a two-week person when it comes to sadness.
When you know that it’s normal and it’s natural to have negative feelings and you don’t have to suppress them but you need to be able to learn how to express them in a healthy way, then you figure out for yourself what works for you, whether it be with anger, you dive into a pool and you just scream it out, or whether you scream it out into a pillow, whether you’re in the car and you’re screaming it out. It needs to be voiced. It needs to just… You can’t just meditate on it because it needs to be expressed. You’re in the car and you scream and then you roll down the windows and you let all that energy out and then you roll back up the windows and it’s all done. And in that way you have not hurt yourself and you have not hurt anyone else but you’ve dealt with it.
Again with sadness, same thing. Instead of waiting to the point where you’re just going to break and the bucket just goes whoosh over someone or something, when you’re starting to feel yourself kind of getting really teary over things that you normally wouldn’t, like someone sends you a really nice email and you’re just like oh my God, that’s so beautiful, and you start almost tearing and that’s out of character for you, then you know your sadness bucket is full or getting full and it’s going to want to empty soon.
So you know, as soon as you go home you just have a good cry and not attach a story to it. It’s just that your sadness bucket is full which means that through the day and the weeks and the months, small little things have made you sad but not sad enough to worry about. It’s just that energy is going to this place and being stored in there. And so when it gets too full it needs to express, we just can’t keep sweeping things under the rug. And so just cry it out. Just go put on a sad movie. Whenever you need, just cry it out.
Fear is a whole different ballgame and we’ll need to explore that in a different video, it’s going to take a little bit too long, but fear is something where that in a nutshell will dissipate when you walk through it, and how to walk through fear is something we can talk about next week.
But I hope that was helpful in terms of just understanding negative emotions and knowing that there are healthy ways to express it that do not harm yourself and do not harm others, and when you don’t have those healthy ways you default to unhealthy ways which cause harm to yourself and others and that’s not how you want to be living your life. You want to be kind of the master of your mind and the master of your emotions, and knowing how to deal with negative emotions when they’re rising up inside you is one way to really feel like you are the master and the emotions do not rule you.