Do you ever feel as though you are on an emotional roller coaster, riding high and happy one minute, then feeling lower than low the next? Do you wish you could get a grip on how and when certain emotions are triggered, causing overwhelm and exhaustion in your life? Do you find that many times, your emotional ups and downs are followed by periods of zapped energy?
Believe it or not, you have a choice about how to feel. You CAN control your emotions. Here is a plan on how to start.
1. Cultivate the practice of mindfulness into your daily life.
To be mindful means to be aware of what you are experiencing in a given moment. In having this awareness, you are conscious of what you are doing, what is happening around you, and who is in front of you. Most importantly though, you are aware of what you are feeling inside.
There is immense power in recognizing the feelings and thoughts that are going through your head in a single moment; awareness of your emotions allows you to make a choice about whether you will continue to focus on them or not.
2. Once you have identified certain emotions via awareness, very quickly consider the cost (or benefit) to holding onto the emotions.
In other words, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” to feel a certain way.
In some situations, it is healthy for you to allow your certain emotions flow. The unwillingness (or inability) to “feel” affects your ability to heal. The suppression of emotions can lead to more internal “drama” (resentment, anger, hurt, etc.), as well as negative external consequences (physical illness) for you.
In other situations, you may decide the emotion you are feeling is not worth the physical and mental cost. For example, ask yourself whether it is really worth getting worked up into a rage over a driver who cut you off in traffic. In reality, that other driver is probably clueless about making you angry. In reality, there is only one person who will suffer by continuing to hold on to that “harmless” driving incident: YOU.
3. With an understanding of the cost/benefit to holding onto certain emotions, make a choice about whether you want to continue to feel them or not.
This part is easy. Do you want to hold onto the emotion or not? Does the cost outweigh the benefit? Does holding onto the emotion feel “right”? Does it feel good? Do you want to feel it? Do you need to feel it?
If you want to move past the emotion, you can do it in an instant. If you need to allow the emotion to flow, give yourself permission to do this and let it happen. Once you have made a decision about the emotion, be at peace with it and be fully mindful of the present moment.
Practical Tips for Implementation
1. Strengthen your mindfulness muscle.
Spend at least five minutes of every day in quiet and with no distractions around you. Place one of your hands on your heart and focus on your breathing, your heart beating and your chest rising and falling. If your mind starts to wander, bring yourself back to your heart and your feelings.
Focus on how your body feels, starting with your toes all the way up to the crown of your head. Notice how you feel on the inside. Without judgement and always staying connected to the breath, observe the inner “you.”
This daily practice not only helps you in becoming more aware, but it is a great way to fuel your energy on a daily basis. By spending this time in quiet, focused on your breath and yourself, you become more centered. You will become more resilient and less susceptible to energy-zapping emotions, people and situations.
2. Identify your emotional triggers.
In becoming more mindful, you will naturally gain an awareness of the people and situations that drain you. With this knowledge, you will have an understanding when you are placed in a situation where one of these triggers is likely to get set off, and you can prepare (or recover) as necessary. By the way, a great way to prepare (or recover) is by implementing Practical Tip 1 above.
3. Set healthy boundaries.
Energy is zapped when you are overrun by people who are unaware of your needs. In fact, if you haven’t already, examine whether you are aware of what it is you need (in terms of rest, work and play) to function at an optimal level. Frame your life in a way that your needs are met (or substantially met) before anyone else’s needs are.
You can accomplish this by setting healthy boundaries with others. Respect the boundaries you have set. Abide by them, and your energy will flow.
Featured photo credit: Sad and lonely girl crying via Bigstock Photos