We’re currently living in stressful times, and so now, more than ever, it’s a good time to look at our internal emotional state. How do you deal with difficult situations and challenges? Are you someone who likes to confide in friends and family and take their advice on board? Or do you bottle it all up and eventually explode?
A lot of us are using this time of distancing and isolation to take stock of how we deal with the things in our lives, and of course we are all facing new challenges at once – missing friends and loved ones, fears about work and finances…and maybe even finding ourselves dealing with new emotions such as anger or frustration over those who don’t appear to be following the same rules that we are.
Being able to manage your emotional state, and essentially choose how you feel so that you remain productive and resourceful, is an incredibly valuable skill whether there is a pandemic or not. You can use it in relationships, at work – basically you can implement it in any situation or task you have to perform by asking yourself, ‘what emotional state do I need to be in in order to make this situation easier for me?’
This isn’t to say that you will never feel negative thoughts, but these techniques will help you to be aware of that negativity creeping in, and allowing you to choose your response and perform to the best of your ability, regardless of what’s going on around you.
Changing Your Focus
It’s easy to picture bad things happening before they do, especially once you’ve already allowed those negative thoughts to creep in, so what techniques can we employ to change that focus and reset your mind? Take a moment to change the picture you have created in your head; not just what you can see, but the sounds you can hear, and how the ‘better’ situation would make you feel. Close your eyes and imagine the end result, absorb the feelings that brings and allow them to flood your mind with positivity. This is what will happen; believe in that and you can bring it into existence.
Our body language speaks volumes, and often belies our emotions before we’ve expressed them verbally; it is easy to tell if someone is feeling down by looking at their sloping shoulders and the way they seem to shrink in stature, and we’ve all seen someone with their arms folded defensively in front of their chest and can have a pretty good guess at what sort of mood they’re in. So why not use these outside indicators of our internal emotions to our advantage by reversing it and using our outward actions to make us feel a certain way instead?
‘Fake it till you make it’ is a common term often used when referring to confidence, and it’s a technique that can be used to change your emotional mindset. Standing tall, opening your chest, taking full breaths and feeling grounded will certainly make you feel more confident, and the same can be said for changing any emotional state. Even small changes to posture, or changing your facial expression will help you to feel more positive, and you, as well as others, will believe that’s how you feel.
Your Inner Dialogue
If that inner voice that’s telling you that you aren’t good enough or that everything is all doom and gloom won’t shut up, then all the standing tall in the world probably isn’t going to help you. You need to challenge that inner critic and change the dialogue to something positive that champions you and makes you feel positive. Changing the words and phrases that aren’t empowering you to some that are more positive will affect how you feel inside. As soon as you start to listen to the voice that’s telling you ‘this is too hard, this is making me miserable,’ then that is exactly what will happen. Change what that voice is saying to you and your emotional response will change along with it.
Phone A Friend
As I mentioned earlier, for a lot of people, talking to their nearest and dearest and using them as a bit of a sounding board is a tried and tested method of changing their emotional state. Sometimes it’s a case of getting a fresh perspective on a problem or issue, and sometimes it’s a bit of a distraction technique; allowing your mind to focus on something different – a chat with a mate – in order to reset your mind and start again once the conversation is over. Perhaps a conversation with a loved one could result in a newly generated idea, or fresh inspiration…or maybe just leave you with a smile – either way, taking some time out and talking things over is a great way to adjust your emotional state.
Physical exercise has been proven time and time again to boost the mood and clear the cobwebs of the mind. Whether it be a quick stretch or yoga session, or a jog around the block, getting some exercise can be incredibly effective when it comes to managing your emotional state – especially if your mind is starting to become cluttered with thoughts and the negativity is starting to creep in. Get that heart pumping and those endorphins flowing and you’ll feel your mood and productivity rise. Come on be like King Julian
Sometimes our emotional state will get the better of us, and no amount of running around the block or change in posture is going to help. In these instances, the best thing to do is to wipe the slate clean and start again. Find a quiet space to sit or lay, close your eyes, and just be. Imagine all those negative and noisy emotions swirling around in your brain evaporating into thin air. Focus on the silence or maybe listen to some nature sounds, and concentrate on your breathing. Relax all your muscles, allow yourself to smile, and to feel peaceful. Once you feel calm and restful you’ll be able to reset your mind to the emotion you want to feel, and can get on with your day.
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