Have you ever stopped to consider what your emotions actually are?
Emotions start off as a physiological response to a stimulus or trigger. They are something that you feel in your body and it’s the description that we give that feeling in our body that is the emotion. We can have different feelings and we equate them to different things.
If you’ve ever felt held hostage by your emotions, then you’re going to love this. My clients often tell me that if they just could get until on top of their emotions, if they could control their emotions then they’d be able to take the right next action to achieve their goals. If they weren’t such emotional beings, then they’d be able to achieve their goals.
What happens when we’ve got that physiological response?
We’ve given it a label and then what tends to happen is that our brain or our self-talk starts getting involved and sometimes that’s not good.
If we go through the process using stress as an example as that is something most of us have experienced:
- something happens, there’s some sort of stimulus or trigger.
- we have a physiological response in our body somewhere
- and then we say, “I’m really stressed”.
What does it feel like when you say “I’m really stressed or I’m stressed”?
For me and what my clients often tell me when I ask them is that it’s scary. It feels like they’re out of control. It feels really panicky and there’s nothing they can do about it. “I’m really stressed”, and past history dictates that this isn’t going to end well.
I’m going to cover how to get out of that cycle in a future post so look out for that one, but what I want to cover here is just a little bit of magic to try and unhook this a bit for you here and now.
Instead of “I’m so stressed.”
What about if we changed it to “I seem to be experiencing stress.”
What’s different about how those two feel?
Can you choose the emotion you are feeling?
The biggest difference is when I’m all stressed this is happening TO me. It’s happening TO me and there’s nothing I can do about it.
When I say I’m experiencing stress, it’s something that is happening inside of me for sure but it’s not happening TO me.
It’s not my whole identity. I have choice.
When I’m stressed, I don’t have any choice and there’s no getting off the bus.
When I am experiencing stress in a calmer way, I can choose, and I can slow things down. I can notice I’m experiencing stress and think “What am I going to do next?”
It’s as simple as that. The feeling’s the same, it’s just the escalation in our negative self-talk can be slowed down, and when you notice that instead of saying “I’m really stressed”, say “I’m experiencing stress”.
Get playful with it, try it out and let me know how you get on.