By: The Zen Stoic Series; How To Master Your Emotions and End Self Sabotage.
There is one thing in our lives that we all share.
It makes the difference between our lives – being an amazing experience or a struggle.
It shapes our thoughts, decisions, and actions. This thing that we all share shapes the results of our lives.
At times it feels like a mystery. Nobody gave us a manual on how to manage this key thing in our lives that dictates the quality of our lives.
This thing we all share is: Emotion.
Emotion is the very thing that allows us to interpret and give meaning to the human experience. It is what allows us to feel and define our lives from moment to moment.
If our emotions are positive we’re feeling good and are more pleasant to be around. If they are negative, we become unpleasant to be around and we don’t make the best life choices.
It seems as though our emotions are something automatic, as if they tell us when we should feel good or feel bad.
Are they actually out of our control though? Or is this something we can learn to master?
The bottom line is that all self-sabotage comes from an inability to manage our emotions. It is in our moments of decision that we shape the quality of our lives, and the shaper of our decisions are emotions.
Managing our emotions is not simply about how we react moment to moment. It is a skillset that we must learn and practice.
Emotional mastery is attained by creating a foundation for understanding and action.
One of the biggest causes of emotional mismanagement and self-sabotage is attachment.Victor Pierantoni
Buddhism teaches that the root of all suffering is attachment.
What does it mean to have an attachment? To be attached is, to depend on external things to feel like you’re enough.
It is to have tunnel vision on an idea that justifies who you are. It is to create a narrative that ties you to an idea. The more emotional charge we give it, the stronger the tie. The stronger the tie, the more attached we become. This makes us depend on the narrative to justify our existence.
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Some examples of this include attachment to the following:
- A relationship or person.
- Being unaccepting of an untimely death of a loved one.
- A goal-driven to prove someone wrong.
- The opinions and thoughts of others.
- How many “likes” or followers you have on social media.
- And many more.
Our attachments are the very thing that throws us into an emotional whirlwind. You know the feeling – when nothing seems to be going right and you’re running around trying to put out fires!
Think of your emotions like fire. Fire is a great tool that has advanced our civilization in countless ways. Fire has the power to cook our meals or heat our homes…when it is channeled with purpose. Yet, when fire runs wild it can destroy people’s lives and reduce what we’ve built into ashes.
Emotions that run wild only have the agenda to magnify the narrative we’ve attached them too.
So how do we begin to control the emotions that have seemed automatic for so long?
We all have complex stories behind the negative feelings we experience. You can spend countless hours unpacking ALL the stories, and still be at the mercy of your emotions.
So instead begin with the simplest things possible….
1)Breathe: Most of the time when we’re stressed, we’re not breathing. This will make the stress worse. Take at least 6 deep full breaths.
2)Take a drink of water: Studies have shown dehydration is linked with pessimism. Your body needs water to function! Give the body what it needs.
3)Take a power pose: Put yourself in a superhero, power pose for at least 2 minutes. Amy Cudy of Havard Business School found that doing this pose alone does the following:
- Testosterone increases 20% leading to more action being taken
- Stress hormone (Cortisol) decreases by 25%
- Risk tolerance increases by 33%
Studies have shown that our body language is the most influential factor in how we feel. These 3 simple things above will be your first steps to beginning to master your emotions.
Mastering your body language won’t solve all your problems, but I can promise you they will give you a start as you practice it.
Getting control of your body language helps detach you from the thoughts that are disturbing your inner peace. It brings you into the present moment.
Emotional mastery is a skill-set that must be practiced with repetition.
This is your first step.
Master your body language first.
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Have you ever been so stressed that you ended up snapping at a loved one? 😡 Often times, the reason for snapping has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with what we’re holding onto internally. 😤 A few months back, while working on some content at Starbucks, I witnessed something that pained me, and not just because it was happening in the moment, but because I know this is one in millions of similar situations happening every day… 😢 There was a couple sitting a table away from me with their son who looked to be about 7 years old. 😀 While having their breakfast, their son spills his drink that goes all over the table and the floor. 🤭 His mother immediately goes to get napkins, while his dad unloads his emotional poison onto his son, calling him a moron and a f***king idiot in front of staff and other guests in the Starbucks……this was a 7-year-old…..over a spilled drink. 🤬 Obviously, at this point, the kid is crying and embarrassed…and as they leave, his father yells at him again outside even louder this time. ☄️🌩 The father was indulging at this point in his own emotions, as went far beyond disciplining or teaching his son a lesson. 🌪💥 He was exhibiting one of the “5 Patterns of Sabotage” that are the root of all suffering. He was going against the greater good of his son and intentionally trying to cause pain to him….this wasn’t about discipline at all. 😰 As a professional in the area of human behavior and emotions, what the father was ACTUALLY trying to do was throw his pain at his own son in hopes that it would go away, but the truth is this only magnifies the pain by infecting another person with it. 🤯 This obviously wasn’t a conscious thought, but rather an impulsively emotional one due to being overpowered by his emotions. 😱 It is moments like these that remind me of why I’m doing what I’m doing…So many people are in pain and have no idea how to reconcile it, and then ending up hurting those they love. 💔 If you take anything reading this post, it is to remember that if you’re ever in pain there are much better ways to deal with it than trying to throw it at others in attempts to get rid of it. 😊
In our next article, we will be discussing how to begin mastering your thoughts, which is the next step in the equation of emotional mastery!
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