Most of us were not taught how to understand or deal with our negative emotions appropriately. This may be because we just haven’t known that our feelings have a purpose, or that we can exert control over them.

Old habits and lack of emotional skill may cause us to become overwhelmed by a negative emotion. This can feel like we are being pushed around or bullied by our own feelings. If this happens repeatedly, we may start avoiding those unwelcome feelings. We may deny the emotion even before we fully feel it.

Here’s how this works: You start feeling an emotion. You don’t like how it makes you feel and you want it to stop. You may try to numb the feeling by self-medicating, changing the subject, or jumping to other feelings.

This can result in emotional denial. Repeatedly avoiding or denying your feelings can lead to the creation of what I called Trapped Emotions, commonly known as emotional baggage. This is the emotional equivalent of sweeping dirt under a rug.

The problem is, those emotions that you haven’t properly processed may continue to impact your well-being and relationships. If you have a Trapped Emotion, you may tend to feel that emotion more readily and more often than you otherwise would.

Suppose, for instance, that you have a Trapped Emotion of anger. You’ve carried it around for years, not even knowing it was there. As a result, whenever you come into a situation where you could become angry, it’s much more likely that you will become angry, because in a very literal way, part of you is already angry. This can create chronic stress, which has been shown to trigger inflammation that may be responsible for a wide range of physical illnesses.

So how can you break out of this pattern? I have found that people can with practice learn to control and direct their emotions. I call this “rerouting” emotions. Here’s how it works:

1. Breathe into the emotion – honor that you are feeling this way for a reason, and intend to hold on to it until you can decipher its message, whatever that may be.
2. Attempt to recognize and name the emotion you’re feeling.
3. See if you can feel discomfort or any other sensation happening in your body, as it may be related.
4. Analyze how you arrived at this feeling. Did it come out of the blue? Are you reacting appropriately to the situation you face, or does it seem like an overreaction? (You may not have a clear perception of this, and that is okay.)
5. Give yourself permission to feel this emotion and understand the message it brings.
6. Find out if there is a Trapped Emotion contributing to or creating your current feeling. If there is, you can clear the emotions using instructions available in the link at the end of this article.
7. Analyze your feelings again, breathing deeply. Is that feeling still there? If it feels like you are experiencing a different emotion, jump back to step two. If the same feeling is still there, continue to step eight.
8. Thank your body and subconscious mind for communicating with you. Honor the emotion you are experiencing. Give yourself permission to let old habits fall away, and to choose a positive emotion instead.
9. Decide how you want to feel instead. Higher vibrational replacements include emotions such as compassion, tolerance, and curiosity.
10. If needed, create thoughts that align with the emotion you have chosen. For example, if you want to feel curiosity, you might say to yourself, “I wonder how I can better help him or her understand what I want?”
11. If you are able to grasp this, you have successfully rerouted an emotional experience! It may feel awkward and clunky at first, but the more times you repeat this, the better at it you’ll get.

Every time you make a conscious choice to reroute your emotional experience and feel something positive instead, you are disrupting old programming in your subconscious mind. In doing so, you are choosing to evolve and grow!

The next time you are faced with a negative situation, don’t simply react. Think! Ask yourself, “Which will serve me better, a negative emotion or a positive emotion?” My guess is that positivity will usually win.

Author's Bio: 

Veteran holistic physician Dr. Bradley Nelson (D.C., ret) is one of the world’s foremost experts on natural methods of achieving wellness. He has trained thousands of certified practitioners worldwide to help people overcome physical and emotional discomfort by releasing their emotional baggage. His best-selling book "The Emotion Code" provides step-by-step instructions for working with the body's energy healing power. A newly revised and expanded edition of "The Emotion Code" is now available (May 2019, St. Martin's Press). For more information and a free Emotion Code Starter Kit, visit