Negative emotions such as sadness, anger, fear etc can hinder the mind as much as any disease can hinder the body. Here are five easy ways to master your emotions and stay on course for the life you choose to live.
1. Know Yourself
Do you know how different emotions feel to you? Do you know where you hold anger or tension in your body? Do you know how and where sadness or anxiety affect you?
Often people react without knowing these things. It’s as if the emotion is shouting at them and they spring into action from a defensive stance as a result. But if you get to know yourself and cultivate awareness, you can tune in to your emotions before they shout. You can know where they reside in your body, you can spot familiar sensations like a change in the weather. And, with practice, you can also develop your own weather forecast, you can get to know if it’s going to rain and you can decide what you want to do about that.
One of the best ways to get to know yourself and your emotions is by spending some time each day in quiet contemplation. It could be as simple as going for a walk, learning a basic meditation technique, or sitting down with a journal and writing a brief daily review of what’s happening in your life and how you feel about it.
Regular practice develops a sense of self and introspective ability that is sadly absent in many who spend their lives rushing around trying to put out emotional fires while simultaneously spilling fuel. It’s a waste of time and energy to live that way. No matter how busy you are, you can find 10-15 minutes a day to be peaceful and take stock of yourself.
2. Protect Yourself
Once you’ve started cultivating your quiet time, you can start reflecting on how to protect yourself. What does that mean? It means taking a look at the external influences in your life. You will start to find it easier and easier to spot what upsets you, makes you angry, or makes you anxious.
One of the first areas to audit is the media: TV, news, radio and newspapers can launch an emotional storm on you before you’ve finished your breakfast - if you let them. Banishing bad news from your day is a great start to protecting yourself emotionally, and saving time too. That freed up time can be invested in more quiet time, rest and relaxation.
Another area to consider is the company you keep. Are your friends uplifting you, or dragging you down? One way to gauge the effect of another on your life is to check in with yourself on how you feel when you have left their company. Do you feel energised, inspired and encouraged? Neutral? Or do you feel deflated and drained? If it’s the latter you might start considering ways to audit that company from your life.
Your life is a rare and precious gift and you know that time is short. Why should you spend your time in company that brings you down?
3. Controlled Expression
Emotions are a natural part of being a human being and controlling them doesn’t mean becoming a robot. What it does mean is that your emotions don’t get to control you. You don’t have to be at their mercy. You can take a controlled and proactive stance, rather than that of a victim.
Now you’ve bought yourself some time, and cut down on the incoming negatives that can drain your energy and addle your mind you can get down to some specific self support, and explore ways to deal with your internal moods.
A few minutes spent: walking moods off, writing them down, or talking them through with a friend are minutes well spent. These are natural, but controlled responses. But if those minutes drag into hours or days of rumination over insults, or injustices then you’ve fallen into the loop.
What’s the loop? It’s an energetic pattern that gets set up by negative emotions. A circle that goes round and round and keeps drawing you back into the feeling. Going over the triggering situation over and over again feeds the loop and fuels negative emotions.
If you find yourself caught in the loop of an unwanted emotion you have to find a way to stop it and step outside - here are some tools that do just that.
4. Time Travel
Considering time lends perspective to our feelings. If you find yourself getting caught up in a negative state that feels like a monolithic permanence -stop! Take a deep breath and take a moment to ask yourself one question. Will this matter in a month’s time?
If your answer is no, then why let it matter now? Why wait to feel better? If you can feel better in the future, you can feel better now.
If your answer is yes, this could still feel awful in a month it’s tool time…
Negative emotions are caused by a blip in our circuitry. It’s a bit like a fuse being blown in your home. Until the circuit that the appliance was on is brought back online, that appliance and everything on that circuit will be out of action.
Negative emotions do the same to you. They blow a fuse and you go off-line with a variety of negative emotions in response. It doesn’t matter if it’s anger, injustice, or sadness, the cause is always the same. You blew a fuse in your energy system.
One of the best ways of dealing with this is a tool called EFT which stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. You can learn EFT in under 10 minutes and be fixing your emotional fuses in no time.
Finally remember that the more you invest in knowing yourself, and protecting yourself, the more you can side step negative emotional load. And if you are willing to invest ten minutes at the end of each day, using a simple technique like EFT, or the Emotional Stress Release Technique, followed by some mindfulness meditation you can truly conquer emotional upset and settle down for sleep with a clear mind and derive maximum benefit from your rest.
This article was featured on the Carnival of Powerful Living at Verve Coaching.
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