At first glance this may seem like a paradox. After all, how can negative thinking be anything but…well negative? Let’s face it, positive thinking can empower us to do a lot of things. Being positive minded 100% of the time is not only unrealistic, but not very healthy for growth either. I would say a good healthy mix is 95/5. So why are negative feelings so ‘good’ for us. They can serve to vital and very important purposes. First, they let us know what is not working. There is something in our life that is currently not meeting our standards. Why is this important? Let me explain it with a situation we can all relate to, going to the doctor. Why do you go to the doctor? The answer usually is “because something is wrong”. Noticing this means you have had bad physical feelings. Whether they are nausea, pain, or some other not so pleasant feeling it let you know something is not as it should be. If you are anything like me the very next question to the doctor is “How can we make this go away?”. That leads us to the second great thing negative feelings can do for us. They can motivate us into action. In the case of the doctor visit, to do what actions are necessary to heal our condition. The same holds true for any condition in life. If we notice something in our life is causing us a noticeable amount of grief, get excited! Excited about grief Neil? Are you crazy? Well, yes I am crazy, but here is why you should get excited. Our bodies are designed to use feelings as warning signs. Such as pain so you don’t leave your hand on the hot stove, or nausea so you don’t keep drinking the expired milk. These may seem like a pain at first, after all who likes to burn their hand? Yet if we didn’t have the pain we could leave our hand on the stove until it cooks right off. Interesting thing is our minds do the same thing. Ever wonder why certain things make you feel sad or angry. That is our mind and spirits way of telling us something is wrong with them. It is a warning sign, just like the burn on the hand. We must decide what is causing this upset and act to correct it. Now here is where negative emotions can be a double edge sword. When trying to discover what would work to eliminate our discomfort we must think in a positive, solution oriented frame of mind. For example, I had a friend who had recently given her all into a relationship that she felt had true potential, but when push came to shove the man she was in a relationship with did not feel the same. I heard her utter phrases like “I’m never going to get into a relationship again, that way I won’t get hurt again” Haven’t we all felt this way at one point or another? I know I have. In this situation she was willing to sacrifice all the pleasure a healthy relationship could provide her to escape the pain of another possible unhealthy one. This may seem like a solution on the surface, but what it really amounts to is giving up. If there is one thing you don’t want to give up on it is your own life. So make negative emotions our servants, not our masters. Let us use them for clarity and motivation, but not dwell in them. So next time you find yourself upset, remember the positive power of negative thinking!