Not everyone likes to talk about emotions but they are what drive behaviors. The interesting thing about emotions is that they change and you can change what you feel when you want. Yes, you can choose! You might believe that emotions happen to you, but really you bring yourself to feel certain ways. You talk to yourself silently, and this plays a part in creating your emotional state.
This is not the only contributing factor.
Besides talking to yourself, you also know how to change your physiology and your posture to create certain emotions. Check it out for yourself. Find a mirror (preferably a long one where you can see your entire self). Looking at the mirror, begin to think about being depressed. What makes you feel sad or depressed? Tell yourself the things that make you feel that way. Observe your posture. What do you do with your hands, head, shoulders, face and body?
Are you there yet? Before you read on, do this for yourself. Come back when you got it.
Shake that off for a moment. Move around. Stand if you are sitting. Sit if you are standing. Do something that will change your posture.
Now, try anger this time. Think of being angry. What makes you angry? What do you tell yourself when you are angry? Observe what you do differently in the mirror. Make note even of the subtle differences.
If you did this, you know, you can change your emotional state that quickly.
Play with going back and forth with each emotional state.
In seconds you can change how you are feeling by changing three things: your posture and physiology, your focus and what you tell yourself.
Cool, right? Well, cool when you use it to motivate yourself to do what you know needs to get done. To get yourself to a positive emotional state like happy, focused and confident.
I know you see the benefits of being able to do this for yourself. Let’s also look at how you can use this to influence your relationships.
For example, you need to talk with your spouse about something but you are feeling fearful of the conversation or just dreading it because it has been a hot topic for the two of you. By changing your state prior to entering the conversation, and even when you request to talk, you are setting up the situation to have a much better outcome, one that is more desirable. Imagine feeling in control of your own responses and being able to hold a safe space for the other person to talk too. This will change things for you and the relationship. Manage your state throughout the conversation and you are golden!
When things go all wrong…this is what might happen….
You want to talk or deal with an issue and you start saying things like, “she always gets defensive, he doesn’t listen, she just wants things her way, he is never going to get it, I don’t want to fight, etc.” Along with self-talk comes tension in the body (physiology), shoulder crunched up to your ears (posture) and you are only focused on the past or what could happen rather than being present in the moment. A sure fire way to trigger all that you are expecting.
What you focus on in your mind, the things you tell yourself about the situation, and your body’s posture and physiological shifts will all determine what you feel and the actions that will follow. Your emotional state determines your outcome!
So…you need to change your emotional state to get yourself where you need to go and to influence others.
Start by shifting any one of the three factors mentioned: what you focus on, what you tell yourself and/or your body’s posture or physiology. Earlier I asked you to move your body. This simple action can shift your state in a second. You can shift any one of these areas and trigger a new emotion but what emotional state do you want to create?
Create the State You Desire
You want to talk with your partner and want to be open and listening to keep things from getting heated. What emotions would help to create this for you? Loving, kind, or calm? Decide what you want. Let’s say you need to feel calm. What do you need to tell yourself and focus on to feel calm? Get yourself there. Got it? Now multiply that by 10. Really feel it. What do you need to do with your body to get yourself there? Relax your shoulders. Shake out your muscles. Take deep, slow breaths.
Stay there for a while. Really experience this state. Now tap together your pointer finger and thumb, almost like you are creating the ok hand signal where the two fingers are creating an O. Do this several times and with some pressure so you feel it.
Before you approach this person, get yourself to that emotional state. Do all the things you did just now…the focus, the body, the language and….tap your fingers. During the conversation you can always tap your fingers together to remind you of this emotional state you desire.
You can do this if you need to deal with your child, too. Again, what state do you want to be in? Do you want to be happy when dealing with them first thing in the morning? Put yourself in the correct emotional state before you walk out your bedroom door. It takes just a few minutes to do and the more you practice, the easier you will be able to tap into this state.
My husband does this with me often. When I am my super focused, need to get a zillion things done mode and being short, he will do or say something silly. Although I do not always show appreciation and sometimes even mad that he took me out of my “killer” state, none the less it works and he changes my state.
You can change your kids state too. My boys were tired after school and a bit ornery, I noticed I was beginning to feel frustrated but I did not want to lead with this, so I began to balance on one foot and asked them if they could do it too. They were excited to try this physical challenge and immediately jumped into a playful and silly state. I not only changed my own emotional state but there as well. We giggled and moved on.
Your emotional state is key to changing what it is you desire in your life and relationships. Focus, physiology & posture, and language create the state you are in, so shift one of these parts and shift your state. Use this strategy to influence yourself and others. Best wishes!