Emotions are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.
Do you have what it takes to master your emotions?
Did you know that your daily emotional experience shapes the decisions you make and the actions you take?
It has been said that it’s not what happens to us, but rather how we respond to what happens that determines the results you will experience in your life. And how you respond is directly influenced by how you choose to interpret the events and circumstances of your life. This likewise stems from your ability to effectively manage your emotions in ways that will allow them to serve and assist you in obtaining your desired outcomes.
Each and every one of the so-called negative or limiting emotions that we experience on a daily basis can actually serve us and provide us with the necessary guidance we need to make more effective decisions throughout the day. As such, it’s absolutely paramount that we take the time to learn to understand how to interpret our emotions in ways that will help us find answers and solutions, not problems and difficulties.
Within this summary, I would like to provide you with all the necessary knowledge you need to help you manage and interpret your emotions far more effectively throughout the day. We will first take a look at different types of so-called “limiting” emotions that we experience on a daily basis and attempt to see them from a new, unique and helpful perspective. We will also break down a process you can work through to help you transform your emotional state — providing you with the leverage you need to effectively manage your emotional state on a daily basis in ways that help serve your purposes and objectives.
Breaking Down the 10 Emotional Types
Within this first section, let’s spend some time analyzing 10 universal emotions that many of us tend to experience throughout our lives. However, before proceeding, it’s important to note that these emotional interpretations have been adapted from the teachings of Anthony Robbins. For more information about Anthony Robbin’s courses, books and events, please visit the Anthony Robbin’s website.
Before jumping into an explanation of each one of these emotions, it’s important to understand that these emotional responses are a signal to your conscious brain that something is not working, and therefore something needs to change. They are in essence a call-to-action directing you to do something specific to alleviate your discomfort or pain.
Finally, all the emotions we are going to be discussing below are a result of stuck-states that we bring upon ourselves throughout the day. These stuck-states are patterned responses to events, people, and circumstances that have their own physiological responses, words, phrases, etc. They are in essence comfort seeking mechanisms that we use whenever things don’t go our way, or as we had expected.
Let’s now break down each of these ten emotional states.
You are experiencing discomfort because you are interpreting a situation or a set of circumstances in a specific way that naturally leads you to the feeling of discomfort. It’s actually within this interpretation that discomfort grows. This, therefore, means that the moment you transform or change your interpretation of the situation is the moment you gain control over your emotional experience.
If you ever experience the emotion of discomfort it’s important to first determine what it is that you are doing, and secondly how exactly you are interpreting your experience of reality. If what you are doing is not getting you the results that you are after, then simply try taking a different approach. If however, you are not able to tackle the situation from a different perspective, then try to change your perspective on the situation. Either way, you should be able to find an answer that will help you to pull yourself out of this uncomfortable emotional state.
If for example, you are bored, then attempt to do something different with your time. Or you can simply try and interpret your experience in a unique way by turning things into a game. Either strategy will work well as long as you are willing to be flexible in your approach.
You are experiencing fear because you are interpreting a situation or a set of circumstances in a specific way that naturally leads you to the feeling of fear. This feeling of fear often results from an emotional response to what might occur in the future if you make a specific decision or take a specific action. This is all well-and-good if it’s something that is based on hard facts and evidence that is designed to protect you from harm. However, many times our fears are riddled with inaccuracies that confuse and mislead us. Therefore the first step you must always take to begin the process of removing fear from your life is to evaluate the “real” from the “imagined”.
Fear is, of course, a very valuable emotion because it protects us from harm in the off-chance that we are running away from a saber-toothed tiger. 😉 However, most of the time, in this modern day-and-age, it actually harms us because it keeps us away from achieving our goals and objectives.
There are two quick things you must do that will help you manage your fears more effectively. The first is to clarify what it is you really want. And the second is to prepare thoroughly for the actions you will take to achieve your desired outcomes. These two steps are critical because the vast majority of our fears are based on a lack of knowledge and a lack of preparation. If you successfully tick both of these boxes, then you will have the ammunition you need to overcome just about any fear that you can possibly experience in our modern age.
The emotion of hurt tends to leave us feeling powerless and often leads to a sense of loss and jealousy.
You are experiencing hurt because you are interpreting a situation or a set of circumstances in a specific way that naturally leads you to feel hurt. Likewise, feeling hurt could be a result of not communicating your needs effectively to others. As such you must begin today by communicating what you need from your relationships in a clear and non-threatening manner.
If communicating your needs to others doesn’t work, then take into consideration your expectations. Maybe your expectations are not reasonable, maybe they have changed over time, or maybe they simply no longer apply to your current relationship and therefore may need to be reevaluated.
Finally, feelings of hurt sometimes result from a lack of understanding about our relationships or about our circumstances. In such instances, it helps if you replace your hurt with fascination and curiosity. By becoming curious, you immediately begin asking better questions, which expands the way you think and leads to answers and possibilities that you may not have considered before.
Anger has a tendency to spin us out-of-control and can often lead to resentfulness.
You are experiencing anger because you are interpreting a situation or a set of circumstances in a specific way that naturally leads you to the experience of anger. However, anger can actually serve us if we are able to understand its underlying meaning.
Before you are quick to embrace the emotion of anger, it’s important to understand that anger often arises because one or more of our rules has been violated by others. As such, we become angry because we no longer feel in control of the situation, people or circumstances. In such instances, we can actually let go of anger quite quickly, by spending some time re-evaluating our rules. Maybe they’re not reasonable, maybe they are out-of-date, or just maybe they shouldn’t be applied in these circumstances.
Alternatively, anger can come about because of an incorrect interpretation of circumstances or people’s intentions. In such instances, you must question whether or not you have possibly misinterpreted the situation, or simply misinterpreted people’s intentions. In that case, be open to the possibilities and passionately look for alternative meanings. Only an open and flexible approach will provide you with the answers you are after.
You are experiencing guilt because you are interpreting a situation or a set of circumstances in a specific way that naturally leads you to the feeling guilt. And the longer you hold onto that guilt the worse it tends to get as it continues to fester and grow inside your head.
When experiencing guilt it’s important to remember that our experience of guilt is simply our interpretation of what we did or failed to do and the impact that this has had on others. The moment you choose to interpret the events and circumstances of your life in a new and unique way, is the moment that guilt suddenly changes and turns into something that can potentially motivate and empower you to take positive action.
Realize that the impact that your actions have had on others may not be as they seem. Therefore in such instances, you may need to take a look at your rules for feeling guilty. Maybe these rules need to be reassessed.
Finally, guilt is often resolved when you are able to make peace with yourself and peace with the people you may or may not have hurt.
Frustration is one of those emotions that we just love to hate because it makes us feel as though we’re so close, yet so far away from the outcome, we want.
You are experiencing frustration because you are interpreting a situation or a set of circumstances in a specific way that naturally leads you to feel frustrated. Yet it is within this feeling that your answers lie.
You are frustrated because you are trying to do something, however, you don’t seem to be getting the results you are after. It’s like you’re being held back from your goal by some outside force that you can’t seem to control.
Instead of trying to control the situation, the key is to begin thinking outside the box; to begin thinking of new possibilities, ideas and possible solutions that might very well help you solve the problem you are dealing with. And sometimes all it takes is for you to look for new information that will provide you with the insight you need to see the circumstances from a slightly different perspective.
Finally, frustration often results from not getting the results you are after. In such instances all it takes to resolve your frustrations is to simply change your approach; try something new and different that you hadn’t considered before. Curiosity, determination and a flexible approach are the keys you should be looking for.
You are experiencing inadequacy because you simply don’t have the experience, skills or knowledge to live up to your high expectations. So you can either change your expectations about yourself and your ability, or you can go out there and gain the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to achieve the outcomes you desire to have in your life.
You could also be experiencing inadequacy because you are simply undermining your own strengths and abilities. In such circumstances, it’s always important to get a second opinion. Therefore, go out there and ask someone for feedback. Ask them to give you their honest observations. Maybe they will provide you with some very surprising insights and perspectives.
Finally, inadequacy can often stem from a lack of confidence. If you are riddled with low self-esteem, then it seems perfectly okay to feel inadequate. However, if you take the time to build your confidence, then you will likewise develop more self-belief and will begin to feel better about yourself and your prospects.
You are experiencing overwhelm because you either have too much on your plate or you are simply unable to manage or take control of aspects of your life. In such circumstances, you feel out-of-control and unable to respond accordingly.
The solution to overwhelm lies in taking back control over small chunks of your life, one piece at a time. It means taking a part of your life and dividing it up into smaller manageable chunks that you can successfully work with. It also means letting go of any unnecessary obligations and commitments that are weighing you down, or simply rescheduling them in a way that will free up your time while providing you more space to do what’s most important.
Overcoming overwhelm is simple if you know what to do and are committed to taking the actions necessary to reschedule and reprioritize your life accordingly. Sometimes all it takes is a little lesson in productivity.
Disappointment is the feeling of not getting what you want and often stems from a sense-of-defeat.
You are experiencing disappointment because you are interpreting a situation or a set of circumstances in a specific way that naturally leads you to feel disappointed. Instead of looking for solutions and answers, you are stuck in a muddy pit full of unfulfilled goals, objectives and dreams that never became reality.
Whenever we experience disappointment, we always wish that things could have been different. However, no matter how hard we try, we can’t change the past, although we can alter our experience of the past in a positive way.
Instead of wallowing in disappointment, choose instead to learn from your experiences so that you can better yourself in the future. At other times, it’s even worthwhile to look for opportunities that might now be available as a result of the disappointment that you have just experienced.
Disappointment can often be a result of having unrealistic high expectations that can almost never be realized. In that case, change your expectations by lowering them to a level that can be realistically achieved. This could very well dig you out of the dreaded pit of disappointment.
Finally, disappointment is simply a result of having an unfulfilled goal. If that’s the case then you might need to adjust your goals in order to make them more achievable. That way you are less likely to feel disappointed.
You are experiencing loneliness because you are seeing your life through a lens that separates you from everyone and everything else that lies outside of you. This is no way to live life given the fact that there are so many opportunities to connect with others on a daily basis.
The key to overcoming loneliness is to reconnect with others, to reconnect with your environment, and to reconnect with a higher cause that will help you feel more fulfilled and passionate about your life.
- Go out there and make an effort to talk to someone.
- Go out there and make an effort to listen to someone.
- Go out there and make a contribution to your community.
- Go out there and spend time in the environment.
- Go out there and play with a baby or pet.
- Go out there and help someone in need. Your help may be all they need to help them feel a little less lonely.
Finally, loneliness grows in the heart because we tend to forget about all the things that we are grateful for. It’s this gratitude that will help you restore the balance you are sorely missing. And it’s this gratitude that will encourage you to open your heart up to others.
How to Transform Your Emotional State
It’s all well and good to understand what emotions really mean, however, when we’re caught up in the moment our first reaction is often an emotional reaction that has a tendency to work against us rather than for us. In such instances, you need to become aware of an emotional state transformation process, which we discuss below.
This process is divided up into five parts. Initially it will serve you well to consciously move through each of these stages step-by-step, however as this process eventually becomes ingrained into your psyche, you will no longer need to consciously think about the steps as separate entities, but rather will be able to respond to each emotion in a habitual way that requires very little thought and conscious effort.
Let’s now break down this process step-by-step.
1. Identify Your Emotion
Your first step within this emotional state transformation process is to identify the emotion you are experiencing. This is important because if you are not sure what kind of emotion you are experiencing then you will struggle to respond accordingly.
To help you through this step, ask yourself the following two questions:
What am I feeling right now?
Am I really feeling this, or is there something more?
The greater clarity you have here, the more you will have to work with as you move through this process.
2. Appreciate Your Emotion
It’s critical at this stage that no matter what emotion you are experiencing that you do not resist it. Resistance will only breed uncertainty and will prevent you from turning this emotion into something you can use and work with as you move forward.
It is therefore important that you openly acknowledge the emotion that you are experiencing and search for its personal meaning and significance in the situation that you find yourself in.
For instance, if something has suddenly caused me to feel angry, instead of fighting and trying to resist this anger, I would actually acknowledge to myself that I am feeling angry and that these specific circumstances have triggered my anger.
Only once you are able to acknowledge this emotion openly will you be ready to move forward to step three along this path.
3. Analyze Your Emotion
The most important thing you must do at this stage is to get curious. Curiosity will open doors to new perspectives and opportunities that can help you gain unique insights into your emotion and into the circumstances you find yourself in.
To help you become a little more curious about the emotion that you are experiencing, ask yourself the following set of questions:
What does this emotion offer me?
What is the true value of this emotion?
In what specific ways does this emotion serve me?
What must I do to make things better?
What do I have to believe to get the outcome I want?
What do I really desire and feel?
How can I learn from this to help me do better in the future?
Remember that no matter what emotion you are experiencing, it is there to serve you in some way; to teach you valuable lessons about yourself, your circumstance and about life in general. You must, therefore, be open to finding the necessary answers that will help you gain the insights required to overcome this emotional roadblock you are working through.
4. Get Confident that You Can Handle Emotion
Within this stage, go through the very first branch of this IQ Matrix where we discussed the true meaning of each of the 10 critical emotional states, and determine the steps you will take that will help you to take charge of your emotional experience.
This is the time to gain some certainty and to consciously choose the emotional response you will experience moving forward. It’s also the time to obtain any necessary knowledge and support that you may require that will help you to manage your response more effectively.
To help with this process, it’s worthwhile recalling a time in your past where you handled this emotion successfully and turned it to your advantage. This memory can be used as the foundation that will help pave the way to a better future where you are no longer ruled by this emotion, but rather consciously choose to respond to this emotion in a helpful and proactive way.
5. Take Action
Now that you have all the knowledge, support and information required to respond in a healthy and constructive manner, it’s time to take proactive action to transform your emotional state for the better.
How to Manage Your Emotional State
Having worked your way through the previous two branches of the Emotional Mastery IQ Matrix, you should now be very much ready and prepared for any emotional surprises that life throws your way. However, there may still be instances where unexpected circumstances could push you into limiting patterns and habits that could potentially create emotional turmoil and throw you off course. In such instances, you need to learn to manage your emotional state a little more effectively, and it is this process that we will discuss here.
Building Your Emotional Fortress
In order to strengthen your resilience during tough times, it is worthwhile to spend some time building your emotional fortress.
Your emotional fortress is a place you go-to in your mind that keeps you strong during tough and difficult times.
To build your emotional fortress close your eyes and imagine a special place that only you know about. This is your personal sanctuary that will help you find strength and guidance. This place could be a valley, a mountain, along the beach, a special room, a house, or any other place that gives you strength during difficult times.
Within this emotional fortress, you can talk with your peers and mentors. These are the people who inspire and help strengthen you during difficult times. They are there to help and guide you through any emotional struggles you might be experiencing.
Your emotional fortress also contains a number of self-improvement resources that you can use to help strengthen your resolve. All of these resources and support networks are there for you — to help you gain the upper-hand whenever you are facing difficulties.
You should use your emotional fortress in times of great emotional difficulty where you require that extra support to help steady and point you in the right direction. Therefore instead of reacting emotionally in limiting ways to the events and circumstances in your life, take some time to remove yourself from your circumstances and step into your emotional fortress, which will help provide you with the answers and guidance you need to respond in positive and optimal ways.
Your thoughts, expectations, self-talk, and perceptions all work together to create the reality you experience on a daily basis. Moreover, they all come together and influence the emotions you experience at any moment in time.
You must, therefore, choose your thoughts consciously, and your self-talk wisely, and change your expectations of events and circumstances in positive ways — making them work for you rather than against you.
The types of seeds you plant in your mind grow throughout the day. For better or worse, they will influence your perceptions of reality. You must, therefore, choose seeds that will promote positive emotional growth to help you make the most of your day and the opportunities that are presented to you.
Whenever you are feeling emotionally under the weather, it’s always important and very helpful to calm yourself by breathing consciously. Simply, breathe-in for five counts, and exhale for five more counts, while maintaining your concentration purely on your breath.
Undertake this process for up to five minutes at a time, and you will quickly find a new vigor and energy that you can use to help you think more clearly and effectively about the circumstances you are being confronted with.
Communicate Your Needs and Desires
One very effective way to avoid emotional turmoil is to simply communicate your needs and desires to others.
Many times our communication is very poor, which leads to misunderstandings and conflict. This results in emotional turmoil and mayhem. To resolve this, simply ask others how they feel, why they are feeling that way and how they would like to potentially resolve these feelings. Likewise, communicate your needs in the same way.
Sometimes all it takes is open communication and a willingness to listen, to resolve any emotional conflict that you might be experiencing throughout your day.
We discussed above how our psychology influences how we feel throughout the day. Well, the same is true of our physiology.
How you use your body, what you do with your body, and how you position your body has a significant impact on the emotions you experience throughout the day.
For instance, whenever you feel the emotion of anger, take a look at your body and determine how it is responding, what it is doing and how it is changing as your anger escalates?
Compare this angry state to a time when you are feeling calm, sociable and relaxed. What does your body do and how does it respond in such instances?
You will quickly find that your body responds quite differently to each emotional state that you encounter throughout the day. This, therefore, raises the question of whether changing how your body moves and positions itself can influence how you feel emotionally from moment-to-moment? And the answer to this question is a resounding YES!
Here you are putting yourself in a peak emotional state of the type of emotion that you would like to experience while anchoring it to a part of your body.
Say for instance I would like to anchor the emotion of passion to my body. I would think of times in the past that I have felt passionate about something. I would live through these experiences in my head until the moment I have passion running through my veins. At this moment — at the peak of the emotion — I would anchor this passionate state to a part of my body. This could simply mean squeezing my thumb or earlobe.
Once the anchor has been set, I can trigger the emotional state of passion at any time throughout the day by squeezing my thumb or my earlobe to get me out of a bored emotional state.
There’s a lot more to this process, however, it’s beyond the scope of this article. For more information, please see NLP anchoring.
Finally, it’s important to point out that in many ways our emotions are actually linked to the movement of our eyes. This means that when we are experiencing a certain emotion our eyes are moving in a certain and specific way that signals to the brain that we are now, for instance, experiencing the emotion of depression.
Without needing to go into any detail here, the next time you are experiencing a limiting emotional state try experimenting with this and begin moving your eyes in unpredictable ways. I’m confident that you will quickly find that the emotional state you were just experiencing has somewhat dissipated.
In summary, let’s take things full circle and remind ourselves once again that it’s not what happens to us that matters, but it’s rather how we respond to the events and circumstances of our lives that make all the difference in the end.
You are always in full control of your emotions no matter how things may appear to be. And as such, you can always choose to feel differently and to take conscious control of your emotional state. There’s, therefore, no one to blame but yourself because emotions come from inside-out and not from the outside-in.
If you have any personal insights or thoughts about how you have successfully (or unsuccessfully) managed your emotions in the past, then please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 3 Easy Steps to Personal Mastery and Emotional Health @ Entrepreneur
- 3 Ways to Deal with Difficult Emotions @ Paid to Exist
- 9 Tips to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence for Stronger Relationships @ Mind Body Green
- 10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Emotional Terrorists @ Psychology Today
- Control Emotions by Pretending @ Scott H. Young
- Emotional Intelligence and Developing Strong People Skills @ Mind Tools
- How Mindfulness Builds Emotional Mastery @ Psych Central
- How to Become a Master of Your Emotions @ Huffington Post
- The Productive Way to Manage Your Emotions at Work @ Fast Company
- Understanding Your Emotions @ Trans 4 Mind