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VideoReframing Negative Emotions

Reframing Negative Emotions

Meditation teacher Dora shares her top tips for dealing with everyday anxiety, and changing your perspective so you can cope with tough emotions.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

My name is Dora Kamau, and I'm a new meditation teacher here at Headspace. I'm also a registered psychiatric nurse and a mental health advocate with a focus on creating safe spaces for women. Today I'll be answering some of your questions around managing anxiety and how practicing mindfulness can help us on our journeys to healing. (upbeat music) Let's get started. Our first question comes from Jennifer. When I'm meditating and a negative feeling arises such as anxiety, anger, or depression, how do I deal with this? How does one acknowledge a painful feeling without feeling it? Thank you for this question Jennifer. There's a few things that you can try and see what works best for you. So one way to deal with this is seeing each feeling as a messenger of information, not something that's good or bad, but just something that has presented itself and holds a bit of insight into what we're feeling or thinking about ourselves or others. It softens the weight of those heavier emotions and we can remove the label of good or bad and just see our feelings for what they are, feelings. So asking yourself as these negative feelings arise, what is this trying to teach me, and what is it really trying to show me? And just getting curious in those moments. For some of us, our negative emotions can seem like a hindrance or an obstacle in our meditation practice, but what they offer is an invitation to refine our skill and sharpen the tools that we have in our own toolbox. So when you're experiencing something like anger, this is an emotion that invites us to practice setting boundaries and getting better at communication or practicing compassion. We can definitely acknowledge our emotions without feeling them, but in the long run, this won't be helpful in understanding them and letting them go. The more we resist what we're feeling, the stronger those feelings of anxiety and anger tend to grow and this is the opposite of what we're wanting. We now move to a question from Vansh. I'm constantly anxious because I find myself dreaming and worrying about the future, like what will come of my career and life. There's a lot of pressure to be successful, which is keeping me from even starting the work. How can we maintain our dreams and goals, but not let anxiety affect the daily work? Hi Vansh, thank you for this question. I can definitely relate to this. So here's what's been helpful for me. One is getting clear on your intention and clear on how you define success for yourself. So not how your parents define it or friends or colleagues, but what does success look and feel like for you in this moment? Anxiety tends to arise when we're so far ahead in the future, thinking about things that haven't even happened yet. But what we're doing right now in the present moment, ultimately impacts where we end...


Duration5 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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