Get in the driver’s seat, and show your emotions who’s boss!
We all have them. Sometimes they help us to cope, often they embarrass us, and on other occasions, they make a special situation even more memorable. This is why I’ve always been fascinated by emotions.
As a part of my own ongoing personal development journey, I embarked on a Loving Your Life journey a few months ago. In short, the Loving Your Life programme is based on the latest research in neurosciences including multiple brain integration techniques, neuro-linguistic programming, emotional intelligence and positive psychology.
On this journey, I was challenged to identify all the positive emotions that I want to enjoy more often; to live them and to observe how they impact on my state of being and how I experience them. So, I decided to focus on one positive emotion per day. I started with joy and ended with accomplishment.
7 days of positivity
Although I’ve always wanted to get my Mariah on (“… I feel good, I feel nice, I’ve never felt so satisfied…”), I soon realised how easy it is to default to negative emotions elicited during stressful times. Because I was focusing on one emotion at a time, I also noticed how I experienced that emotion and the impact it had on me and my life, as well as the people around me.
In other words, my thoughts, my behaviour, how I responded to and interacted with others and my general outlook on the world changed. It was also very interesting to note how different my experience was with others; my family did this experiment with me. And it served as a good reminder that each and every one of us experience emotions differently.
Context, control and consciousness
Context is everything.
This is one of the things this experiment taught me. All emotions can be positive or negative depending on their context. So, often in my pursuit of what I’d framed as a positive emotion for that day, I actually felt quite negative in my inability to fully experience it and live it, which lead to the emotion feeling negative for me.
I was reminded that all emotions serve us in some way and that trying to get rid of the negative ones and only experience the positive ones, is probably counterproductive. Like being dead calm in an earthquake and tweeting about it whilst sipping on your latte probably won’t help anyone. But being calm in a stressful situation at work and being open-minded will get the problem solved faster.
These seven days also taught me that we have more ability to control our emotions than we give ourselves credit for. Just by focusing on the emotion I wanted to feel, I was able to control my emotional state for sustained periods of time, which shows conscious awareness really is the key.
An emotional experiment can teach one a lot, so I really encourage everyone reading this blog to pick seven positive emotions and focusing on one a day. I would love to hear how you experienced it and what you learned. For me, it was a great way to teach myself to control my emotions, and not the other way around, and get back in the driver’s seat (road rage-free) 😊