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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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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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