Once we have been able to identify how we are feeling, what do we do next? Do we react instantly off that emotion? Or do we take a moment to consider our options and respond?
It is certainly preferable for all involved to make a considered decision. Is that always possible when we are in a heightened emotional state? The simple fact is that when we are in a heightened emotional state we are not necessarily thinking clearly. It is comparable to when we first wake up, our thoughts and emotions are not performing at their peak. So, we can either be under or over emotional. I would always recommend pausing before taking action. Allow yourself to have time to think through situations. Especially if the situation requires important decisions to be made. You may make a decision you later regret. Respond thoughtfully, rather than react off emotion.
So how do we manage our emotions? The fact is there is not a one size fits all response, with one solid answer to this question. Different methods will work for different people. It can be a case of trial and error.
Like with identifying our emotions it can be of use to keep a journal.
Once you have an idea of what escalates and de-escalates your emotional state you have the elements of a plan coming into formation. There are numerous ways you can deal with stressors. Plan for them. If rush hour traffic is a stressor, look to avoid that period. Alternatively have in mind a coping technique for dealing with it. It may be a recording of a relaxation exercise, soothing sounds, or a pre-practised breathing exercise.
It is also important to have self-care strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine. These will keep you in a calmer state initially and provide you with different techniques when needed. Self-care strategies can build resilience, in addition to practicing emotional management techniques. For example, I enjoy beginning the day with exercise and motivational music. It burns off any negative energy. But when I am confronted with a stressor my go to technique is deep breathing from the abdomen. It is a simple technique you can practice anywhere, anytime, without any apparatus and as a bonus no one even needs to realise you’re doing it! It originates from my self-care, specifically mindful movements such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga. These are an amazing way to train you to breathe deeply and practice moving mindfully.
There is no more powerful voice than our own. If we can note what we are thinking in these emotive times we can challenge these thoughts. For example, if we thought ‘they are trying to wind me up!’ we could challenge this with ‘what do they have to gain from winding me up?’ Typically, it is our own internal monologue winding ourselves up. If we can talk ourselves into emotion, we can talk ourselves out of it. It is a skill, and with practice all skills can be developed.
If you want any support with discovering which self-care and emotional management techniques work for you, please book a Free Mindset Meeting.
Again, we are all different and what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for another.