• Emily Formea

How to Shift Your Energy UP the Emotional Ladder (Dealing with Negative Emotions)

I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a pretty positive gal sometimes to a fault, I might add. I’m the first person to try to look at the bright side of life or pick an affirmation to share with my girlfriend who is going through a rough time, but I’ve gotta say…. Sometimes it’s impossible to be positive!

Sometimes you just want to lie in bed all day and eat snacks. I also love snacks! And sometimes you need a good cry, in my case, multiple times a week! And sometimes you get sick of feeling down and wish that these storm clouds would finally pass for good, so what do you do?

If you’re like me, you give up, because the reach for joy and happiness and gratitude is just too far away… that’s what we’re going to talk about today! Let’s start with: What are emotions?

Emotions are the energy you emit. The way you feel dictates everything in your life. Our emotions are vibrations and they send signals to our body, the rest of our brain, our environment to what’s going on and what we should be expecting to happen next.

They are very important.

However, sometimes we find ourselves unable to shift our emotions. I’ve had some days where for NO reason, I feel down. I feel sad, defeated, emotional or emotionless, exhausted, judgemental, anxious and some days I can pull myself out of these ruts. I can go for a walk, talk to a friend, make a nice cup of coffee and a 4-star (I’m not a great cook) breakfast! But sometimes, I’m just unable to make this energy shift and am forced to spiral out of control with negative emotions… or am I?

Something that I’ve learned when it comes to my own emotions, both good and bad, is that it’s not an all or nothing game. There isn’t just feeling amazing and feeling terrible, there is an entire ladder between the two and the more we try to only feel one end of the spectrum over the other, the less we’re honoring our true peg in the pole and the less we can TRULY shift our energy and emotions for our own self-betterment.

Let me give you an example.

Years ago, if I had a bad body image day… I was done.

Like see ya! KO! Out of here! If I was supposed to go to lunch with my friends, I would stare at my body in the mirror, critique every last curvature of it, rip off my jeans, cry on my floor, cancel my plans and live in sweats for the following two weeks to come.

And why did I do this? Because when I was at my lowest, my highest seemed to be intangible. It seemed out of my reach completely. I couldn’t feel happy right now, I mean look at me! In other words, if I couldn’t feel 10/10 there was no point chasing a 9/10 day. I would give into the negative emotions or insecurities I was experiencing that day with all the energy I had and wouldn’t try to even climb one ring of my emotional ladder.

Now, I climb every single day and this is how I do it→

*A huge shoutout to the amazing Gabby Bernstein and her book Super Attractor that taught me so many of these tips and tricks that I am now able to share with you--check out her amazing book FOR REAL!*

The first step is understanding where you TRULY are emotionally. This takes a lot of time and practice because for the majority of your life, you’ve probably been lying to yourself.

The Emotional Guidance Chart:

  1. Joy/Appreciation/Empowerment

  2. Passion

  3. Enthusiasm/Happiness

  4. Positive Expectation/Belief

  5. Optimism

  6. Hopefulness

  7. Contentment

  8. Boredom

  9. Pessimism

  10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience

  11. Overwhelm

  12. Disappointment

  13. Doubt

  14. Worry

  15. Blame

  16. Discouragement

  17. Anger

  18. Revenge

  19. Hatred/Rage

  20. Jealousy

  21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness

  22. Fear/Grief/Despair/Powerlessness

Okay, where do you fall right now?

On my bad body image days, I fall somewhere on Jealousy, Insecurity or Despair… pretty dang low, right? Now, what seems very far out of my reach then? The emotions that are very high on the ladder. Meaning that the old me, would just stop trying to feel even slightly better at all. Because what’s the point in climbing one ring if I can’t jump to the top?


You need to stop chasing only PERFECT feelings or PERFECT emotions. Because that’s unrealistic and will leave us in a state of contentment and complacency, which in my humble opinion, is the worst place to be. I would rather be uncomfortable or sad, but still TRYING to grow and change and learn and embrace life a little more at a time every single day. Wouldn't you?

When I feel lower on the ladder than perhaps I would like to be, I climb at least one step. That’s it. And sometimes it doesn’t even land me in the better half of the ladder itself, but it's something that I can work through and continue to climb up and up once I feel ready. For example, if I find myself in a state of jealousy around my body on bad body image days, I can choose to shift my energy and emotional state up and choose rage. Sounds wrong? Nope. Because when I do this, I can choose to be enraged at my eating disorder for telling me that my body is wrong or perhaps angry with diet culture for making me feel like I need to change my body to look like the models in magazines.

The thing about emotion is we all want choice, so when we find ourselves experiencing a negative emotion that we don’t quite understand where it came from or why we’re feeling it, we get flustered and frustrated because we feel like it’s happening TO us and not FOR us or FROM ourselves. By choosing a new state, even if it’s another state of negative emotion, it puts us back in the driver seat and we can CHOOSE why we feel this way and what we are going to do about it.

I can choose to be angry or maybe that day I feel strong enough to choose Optimism on the chart. So, I make quite a jump and choose to believe that tomorrow I will feel better even in this moment, I may not be feeling my best. Because that’s the trick: Acknowledging how you feel now and CHOOSING a better feeling even if it’s only one step up the ladder.

Because choosing a new emotion allows you to create the new belief for yourself around it. And that’s how you make lasting shifts in your energy, how you face hard days, weeks, or months, how you pull yourself from painful emotions or insecurities: Face the ladder, one rail at a time.

Sincerely, XO Emily

Sincerely, XO Emily || 2020

Medical Disclaimer

The information provided on this website is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional or be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician or other healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet, medical plan, or exercise routine.