How to Manage Your Emotions
How you feel plays a big part in committing to your own growth and your success in business and life. One of my clients recently told me: “I am thinking through and analyzing my feelings much more. I feel like I have more motivation.” If you could analyze how you feel more often and think through things, how would that change your motivation?
5 Keys to Managing your Emotions.
1. Identify and understand which emotion you are experiencing.
“I'm feeling stressed.” or “I'm feeling anxious.” What’s really going on: you’re resisting an underlying emotion. You’re not wanting to experience whatever the emotion is at the root of it all. You’re pushing it away and resisting it, which causes a lot of anxiety and panic. The first step in this process is to really be able to understand and identify what the emotion is that you are having. You need to be able to get really descriptive and choose an accurate word – not just “fine.”
2. Allow your feelings without judgement, fear, or resistance.
Easier said than done – I know. We have not trained ourselves to allow all the feelings. We’ve been trained to move past feelings very quickly; especially the ones we don’t want to feel but some that we do want to feel. Because we even have a hard time celebrating, right? We move past the celebration quickly and look for what’s next.
But this is especially true when we feel a negative emotion such as disappointed or confused. When we're feeling annoyed, we have been trained to “suck it up” and move on. We don't want to sit with that annoyance and explore what's really causing the annoyance. However, when you think about it being annoyed, it's actually okay. It's harmless. Nothing's really wrong. We can't get hurt from being annoyed. It's just part of being human. And if you just try to move past it or not feel it, does it make it happen less often in the future? No, it doesn't.
When you can learn how to allow an emotion, we allow ourselves to recognize that although we don't want to feel something, it's there. We may not necessarily act on it, but we can become stronger for allowing it. And that is progress. Only by recognizing it, can we create the opportunity for change.
3. Be able to recognize if you are indulging in your emotions.
When you indulge in your emotions, you stay stuck. You succumb to something and it's often when you start to blame other people, too. Think of it this way: you know that pint of Ben and Jerry's that you could just take a spoon to and eat the whole pint? Well once you start eating it and licking that spoon – you can’t stop. You know that feeling when you have indulged a little too much. It's the same thing with your feelings. If you are catching yourself or recognizing that you can't stop feeling a certain way, then you’re indulging in it. And oftentimes that doesn't serve you. Just like eating that whole pint of Ben and Jerry's.
The reason we indulge is because we don't want to experience a negative emotion. For example, if we can stay “confused,” then we don't have to do the uncomfortable thing. When you say, “I just don't know what to do next” or “It's so confusing, there are so many options.” – you stay in that space. You stay in confusion. You’re indulging in the confusion and that creates you staying stuck.
You need to be able to analyze if you are indulging in an emotion because you don’t want to experience anything else. Which brings me to number four.
4. Allow even the feelings you don’t really want.
Having the willingness to feel any feeling in order to create the future you want and stay committed to your goal, includes experiencing those negative emotions. Take an example of asking for a sale. You don't want to ask for the sale. So, this often comes out as “I don't know what to do. I’m confused.”
Reframe this – You are confused which doesn't feel very good, but you are also feeling uncomfortable with the ask. Neither confusion nor discomfort are great feelings. But guess what? You're getting closer to your goal of getting the sale with doing the uncomfortable ask – which is better? Staying in confusion or doing something uncomfortable and getting a sale?
Frustration, awkward or uncomfortable – they're all negative. In life our feelings are 50 percent positive and 50 percent negative. So, it's not like it got any better when you actually did what you were feeling uncomfortable or confused about. But you increase your odds of actually getting somewhere.
But what if you're willing to do the thing that's not comfortable, that might be a little painful? If you're willing to do it and be rejected, possibly, or maybe even humiliated, or feel failure…well, that’s hard, but that's part of being human. It's also part of the human experience that opens us up to more possibilities, more possibilities of maybe helping someone or having more time or more money.
If you try to just stay in that positive column and you try to be happy all the time, that makes you crazy, too. But when you allow for that full experience, there's nothing to lose. So remember, you can't just go into the positive pile. You can't go from confusion to clarity. There has to be something in the middle. So, you might have to go from confusion to uncomfortable to comfortable.
The reason we're not pursuing our dreams, the reason we're not going after what we want is because we don't want to feel bad when we don't get it. But when you already don't get it, when you already don't have it, you already feel really bad. So, you might as well try. You might as well become the person you want to be by being fully alive or being fully human and experiencing everything.
5. Be deliberate and intentional in creating the feelings you do want.
As a human, you have the ability to generate or create emotions on purpose. Think with your own brain power. Generate your feelings and then your actions. You can base this on what you want in life or in business, whenever and wherever. But you need to be able to access all emotions to access all actions. You have all the emotions on the feelings list from an earlier blog. Most likely, you’re not allowing the spectrum of emotions to happen, the positive and the negative.
When you say, I just have to be more positive, that's not true. You can't just “be more positive” because life is 50/50. Even if it were that easy, that life was just always positive, you definitely wouldn't be creating the life you desire. When we see the negative as part of the experience of being alive, that's when those touching moments, those deep moments, deep love, even heartbreak…that's when we always say we'd do it again, we would go through it all over again to have that experience.
There's lots of negative emotions every single day. Have you ever tried to take inventory? At the end of the day, I like to ask myself, “what's one uncomfortable thing I did today?” Usually when I do that uncomfortable thing, it's leading to more of what I really want. I’ve made it easier for you to identify what emotions you want to keep, what emotions you really don’t want but are necessary and what emotions you are indulging. Download my free emotional balance worksheet.