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How to Stop Letting Your Emotions Zap Your Energy

How to Stop Letting Your Emotions Zap Your Energy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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