A post about a Thursday mid-afternoon trip on the Emotions Express, and three steps that you can put into practice to regain control of your emotions at times when emotions seem to be taking control of you.
Sitting at my desk in the office looking at a list of names on my screen and the printed list of names I've got in front of me. There are ticks against the names which appear on both lists and empty spaces where they don't.
‘I really can't do this forever.' Silence. 'Ok, so maybe its time to take a break for a minute?'
I pick up my phone and check my email inbox, immediately my eyes are drawn to a catchy subject line. It was the lightning bolt emoji's which had caught my eye.
I start to read
‘Interesting… oh my god… no way… seriously… this is what I want to do… this is my idea… this is what I want to launch… oh…'
I turn to Morag, my work colleague who sits next to me.
‘Probably better I just keep this whole coaching thing as a hobby isn't it, I mean there are loads of people out there doing it, maybe I'm just meant to work here and do it on the side?'
That's how easy it was!
In no more than 2 minutes every goal I have set for myself, every dream, each vision that I see in my mind when I think about my mission of sharing to motivate and inspire love so that women worldwide can evolve, be their best selves and reveal to the world their beautiful smiles, was pushed out of my mind and all I could see was the fear.
My mind invaded by the fear fog, lost all sense of direction. I was unable to acknowledge the good that I am doing, the hard work and late nights. I couldn't recognise how far I have already come and how much more I have to give. It was as though in one moment I had erased all of my passion. I had forgotten the uplifting feeling in my heart that I only get when I am honoured enough to share with someone that special moment when the penny drops inside their mind and their face lights up. When in asking just one question or sharing a different perspective the course of someone's hour, day, week, month, or year can be shifted on to a brighter and better path. You can see it in someone's face, feel it in their presence, or in a comment that's left on something you've shared and that feeling… well… it's magical.
So if you've got this far you may find yourself asking so what's your point, Nicola?
My point… is that I am human! And as a human being, I feel!
It doesn't matter how strong you are, how positive, determined and smiley, how much personal development you have done to re-programme your brain, if you're a coach, sometimes shit just gets on top of you. Life lands a moment of contrast in your lap and offers you up a decision on what you are going to do about it. But you know what, that's ok!
Because no matter our differences we all have one thing in common. We are all human beings and we all feel.
I truly believe that our ability to feel and be touched with emotion is one of the most special gifts that we have been given as human beings. Granted, not all emotions are good, and their intensity differs. But one thing I have found to be true is that every emotion comes with a purpose, as an indicator of action. The only real problem is that unfortunately emotions, like the brain, don't come with an instruction manual. An emotion appears and leaves it to our emotional and rational minds to battle out its interpretation before deciding how we want to go forwards.
More often than not the emotional mind is the one that wins and why wouldn't it?
Emotion = Feeling
Feeling triggers memory, specifically learned or past memories of similar situations when we have felt this way. Our brain isn't doing this purposefully to make us sad, angry or frustrated. This is simply our brains attempt to understand what we are experiencing. In the same way, a computer responds to commands input into it by selecting certain buttons or pushing different keys, our brains in a number of milliseconds, are tapping into all of our years of brain storage to inform our internal thought processes and help us to determine what comes next. The result an actionable output in response to our latest sensory experience.
At this moment, amidst the emotional fog (in whatever form it may be taking) you have a choice, you can choose to follow down the path of self-destruction, no doubt falling in and out of the pit of self-criticism on your way past the field of doubts, before jumping into a boat and paddling down the river of denial, ultimately docking in the place where dreams are tiny specks of colour in the distance. You can sit here, get comfortable, wallow for a while, feeling like a failure, demoralised and bruised from the bashing you have just personally given yourself with your stick of fear OR you can choose to do something different.
What if instead of following the not so useful NEGs (Negative Emotional Gnats) you stopped yourself, and recognised that this journey was one that you could miss?
What if you took control, and made the decision to take logical conscious action towards the light?
With this challenge in mind, you will find below the steps that I took this afternoon to get off my Thursday afternoon trip on the Emotions Express.
Three steps, three conscious decisions, three choices that allowed me to end the day with a smile.
1. Share your emotions
Either find someone who you trust to share with how you feel or write it down somewhere for yourself. Whatever you prefer to get the thoughts out of your head.
It is never a weakness to reach out to someone and open up your mouth in recognition of what is going on in your mind. You never know what someone may be able to say that will help get you out of your funk.
But whether you say it or just write it, the important thing to do is find a way to share it. By taking this step you are acting initially to acknowledge how you feel which in itself is a powerful step in the process of regaining your control.
2. Identify your options
Take some time to think about the choices you have, right there and then.
Get consciously focused on the logical options you have available to you about how you can respond.
1. What can I control about this?
2. What can't I control about this?
3. Of the things I can and can't control which of them will make the MOST difference to how I am feeling right now?
4. Of the things I can and can't control which of them will make the LEAST difference to how I am feeling right now?
When you have all of your answers focus only on the options that you have identified as within your control that will make the most difference here and now, not later, not when you get home, here… at this moment… now!
Get busy doing the things that you have recognised will make a difference to your emotional state, and get you back on to the path to feeling good.
For me today I did two things, firstly I wrote a little message to myself to get myself back on track. See the picture below for the exact message, which I then photographed to keep on my phone for any future event when I may need a little motivational boost. And secondly, I reached into my handbag and pulled out my earphones and tapped into my personal power playlist! The playlist of all the songs I love, that always fires me up inside and makes me smile.
Mine was a message and some music but yours can be whatever works for you! It can be a picture, a short visualisation/meditation practice, a video, a book, a cartoon, a person you follow online who inspires you…ANYTHING as long as it makes you feel good. My only additional suggestion is that you choose something that you can carry with you and have on standby whenever you may need it. Because emotions, another thing they don't tend to do is make an appointment, you never know when to expect them.
In as many minutes as it takes for you to be invaded by NEGs you can be eradicating them.
Build your resilience and prevent catastrophising by practicing the steps above. Start using emotion as an indicator for you to act and begin to regain and maintain the control you have over how you feel.
Feel emotion, acknowledge and explore it but then use it to take positive decisive action so that you can keep on moving towards your dreams.
Celebrate feeling and being a remarkable human being, but don't let what drives you deprive you.
You were born to do great things!
P.S. If every emotion has a purpose perhaps my Thursday afternoon moment of contrast was for the purpose of me sitting here tonight and writing this blog. Who knows? One things for sure, it may not have been written without it.
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