25 Aug Own your emotions BEFORE they OWN you
Emotions are a tricky thing. They can come apon you when you least expect it and swamp you in ways you can’t imagine. They bring you the highest of highs, then plunge you into darkness in a moment.
Over the years, I struggled with my emotions, so I did what I thought was best – I buried them.
I remember my mum saying a few years ago that she was worried I wasn’t in touch with my emotions. I replied that I was and I didn’t’ like them….so I buried them.
Of course this was a short term solution, as one unsuspecting day, which turned into a month, then year, then years…..they came rushing back in one overwhelming tsunami.
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fun, but it was surprisingly healing.
Once my emotions and I got into a more functional relationship, I started to think about how we could co-habitate in my body, mind, heart and soul
And there was something amazing that I discovered: when I distracted myself, I could not only manage my emotions but I could love them!
Distracted, I hear you cry – but isn’t that the same as denial?
No, it’s not, and let me explain why.
Distraction is a tool parents use all the time to help their children manage their emotions and move onto something positive. I used it all the time with my kids and I still sometimes do now, even though they’re 11 and 8!
Distraction allows you to step away from the feeling and then you can deal with it. It allows you to poke your head above the water of the overwhelming emotion and find positive solutions.
Have you heard the saying “you can’t teach a drowning person to swim”. Same concept – save the person, then teach them.
There are two keys to this: focus your mind on something else AND get into your body.
As both of those will bring you into the present which is the ultimate emotion manager.
My top 3 distraction techniques:
- Turn my brain to something hard – this might be a technical journal article, untying a difficult knot (school shoes anyone!), or reading an important letter from the tax department, lawyer, financial advisor. The idea here is to focus your intellect solely on something else.
- Get out of my head and into my body. Kids are wonderful for this as you totally need to be present with them – they will catch you if you’re not. So I’ll play basketball with my son (he always beats me, which makes me laugh at how happy it makes him!) or listen to one of my daughters incredible stories.
- Calm down my mind. I spend a lot of time in my head and over the years I’ve tried to take holidays away from it! The way I do that best is by breathing (in for 4, hold for 2, out for 4,hold for 2) or meditation. If you’ve not tried meditation, then get onto it. There are a massive range of options out there and if you’re just starting out, then the insight timer app is a good starting point.
Once I’ve calmed myself I can then turn to the situation at hand and find positive ways to move forward. If you’re overwhelmed by negative emotions – its very hard to move forward positively.
Sometimes I need to experience the emotion for a while and sometimes I’ve wallowed enough and I have to take action. But only when I’m less emotional can I make that decision.
A wonderful and inspiring woman said to me recently that she focused on gratitude when she feels that emotional tidal wave rushing towards her. She’s grateful for her family, her experiences and her life in general. I thought this was beautiful and I will add it to my distraction techniques.
Emotions can be your friend and are incredibly powerful, when we use them properly. Manage them, before they manage you and you’ll be on your way to success with soul.
Yours with soul,