Emotions can be strong, powerful, and compelling. They're also natural. Why is it then, In both our professional & personal lives, that we spend so much time trying to stuff them down, shove them under the rug, or ignore them? Because we've never been taught how to navigate them. In fact, we've been programmed to distract ourselves from them and only turn to sources of pleasure. This means that when those tough emotions pop up, we lose control and feel like a kite being whipped around in the wind of our emotions.
Here are a few tidbits to keep in mind regarding emotions:
1. You are not your emotions
2. Don't let your emotions take over and 'become' you. When we feel compelled by our emotions, our amygdala is in 'hijack' mode. This means we literally cannot think rationally or make logical decisions because the rational part of our brain is 'hijacked' by our amygdala. Imagine how this impacts your interactions with co-workers and loved ones.
3. Emotions are like visitors, they come and go
4. Emotions are not right or wrong or anything in between. This goes for your own emotions and others. All feelings are valid. What physically hurts you may not physically hurt someone else, and vice versa, so all are valid.
5. Respect your emotions - there is a reason they came knocking.
6. Emotions contain a lot of information! Science shows emotions show up in our body well before our brains actually become aware of it! For example, feeling anxious may mean that the situation we are in is an unfair one - so the quicker we notice that churning stomach, the sooner we can address a conflict, perhaps even in the moment, before things get out of hand.
7. Identifying emotions as they come up is directly tied to self-awareness
8. Don't run from challenging emotions. Alternatives: feel them, acknowledge them, understand them, let them go.
9. Don't get attached to pleasant emotions. Alternatives: feel them, acknowledge them, understand them, let them go.
10. Know that EVERYTHING changes, this includes emotions. If you sit with an emotion long enough, without reacting, it will dissipate on it's own.
Practicing presence through mindfulness practices helps us to be more aware of our emotions, and therefore be less of a victim to them! It helps us to actively CHOOSE how to use them and how to respond in a situation where emotions are present. They're not anything to deny or ignore, let's learn to embrace and celebrate them!
After all, emotions make us human!
With all the feels,