We continually experience both positive and negative emotions. We finish a job or task at work and feel a great sense of accomplishment afterwards, or we walk down the street, remember a particular event and immediately experience sadness at the memory.
The question is, do you have a choice about how you feel?
In a word –yes!
We control our emotional states by the meaning that we attach to all of life’s experiences!
By CHOOSING to take a specific action, we CHOOSE the meaning of the event.
For example, by choosing to go out walking this morning, I chose that walking would allow me to feel happy, energetic, alive and vibrant. A different person may choose to go walking and decide it meant pain, suffering, and frustration. At the same time, there will always be external events that will trigger unresolved emotional issues from the past. These unresolved issues grow over time and get larger and larger and larger. Negative emotional states are positive because they tell us where our emotions and rational thoughts are in conflict.
Our emotional states are in a constant tug of war. People work to have more positive intense emotional states (happiness, love, success) while negative emotional states (frustration, overwhelm, sadness) keep popping up out of nowhere, seemingly out of control.
In creating more positive emotional states keep in mind that MOTION CREATES EMOTION. When you engage your mind and your body, positive things happen! My personal drug of choice: Endorphins! So, put on those great songs, sing at the top of your lungs, be outrageous in your own way, move your body and create a stronger you with more physical movement.
So, how can you turn loss into gain, pain into pleasure?
Put an empowering meaning to it!:
1- Identify the negative emotion you are feeling (anger, frustration, sadness, etc.)
2- Ask yourself: “What is there to learn from this, the learning of which will allow me to let go of these negative emotions easily and effortlessly?” (Thank you to Tad James for the amazing question!) “What other meaning could I attach to that event?”
3- Take action: Taking action is key! Once you understand the meaning and what there is to learn from it, CHOOSE TO TAKE AN IMMEDIATE ACTION AND DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT that will allow the more positive feelings to come out! At that point, most people resist changing their behavior because it is easier to stay in a negative emotional pattern. But the key to success is in choosing a new action and meaning, in order to break through the problem and let go of the negative emotion.
4- Celebrate your new meaning and action to anchor in the new state!
One of the greatest gifts we have in life is to choose what meaning to attach to the events that shape our lives. How you choose to label an experience and the meaning you attach to it will directly impact the quality of your emotional health and life. You control your emotional states.