As an acupuncturist, I study the effects of the mind and spirit on the body. I see one person’s high blood pressure rise with emotional heartache. I see another person’s back pain surge with fear.
In the west, we have coined the term “stress” to cover the spectrum of uncomfortable emotions that fall into the category of distress.
What exactly is STRESS and how can we manage it? Stress is fear, panic, anxiety, anger, frustration, and defeat, to name a few. There is even a state of being called EU-STRESS. Eustress is the tension that arises from positivity – joy, excitement, even fear losing what we’ve gained.
The key to healing and avoiding stress is to master your emotions. The more you can ride the waves of emotional energy, the less they will pile up and bottleneck, throwing you off course or holding you back from being, doing, and having what you want in your life.
Sounds good, right? So how do we cultivate emotional mastery? The following are 10 fool-proof keys to mastering your emotions. With practice, these become easier and more fluid. You too can be as wise as Yoda, as resilient as Hercules, and as loving as the Dalai Lama. In the meantime, you can navigate your own deep waters so your stress and emotions don’t run your life!
KEY 1: FEAR VS LOVE
Take a moment to notice whether you are currently in a state of fear or a state of love. Taking actions from a place of fear will often create more fear, and acting in love often begets more love. Just a good thing to notice. You don’t automatically have to change what you’re doing this moment.
KEY 2: CLOUDS IN THE SKY (AKA – LET IT GO)
Your emotions are always shifting and moving. Hence the term e-motion. Remember this when you are in the midst of things. Sometimes feelings are like fast-moving clouds through the sky – they come and go quickly and we can observe this happening with ease. Other times it’s more a like a storm, clouds for miles as far as the eye can see. Keep in mind the blue sky is always there and that even the biggest storms pass.
KEY 3: OWN YOUR WORTH
Rather than reacting to an unwanted experience, take a moment to own your worth and take a stand for your self. Someone insults you or you lose a big client – this has nothing to do with your worth as a human being or who you are. In fact, it doesn’t define anything. Follow up a challenging emotional experience with reminding yourself that you are worthy of another outcome. While it may not change the past (what has just happened), it will absolutely change the present and the future.
KEY 4: IDENTIFY YOUR FEELINGS – RIGHT NOW.
Our emotions can actually be a great gift – bringing us into the present moment. Identifying what is happening inside of us right in this moment is incredibly liberating. Expressing it – artistically, in writing, or even to a friend or confidant, can also bring some relief. Simply acknowledging yourself and your experience can help feelings and tension from piling up inside.
KEY 5: ARE YOU HAVING YOUR EMOTIONS OR ARE THEY HAVING YOU?
Notice whether you are becoming your feelings or whether you are observing them as clouds moving through the sky. When we are becoming our feelings, we are challenged in mastery. Noticing this will help unlock a shift. A simple “oh, this is more than feeling angry. I’m slamming doors and huffing and puffing. I am becoming my anger. I do not have it – it has me” – will facilitate great empowerment.
KEY 6: EXPERIENCE YOUR EXPERIENCE
What is your current experience? Dive in to it fully. Give yourself a moment to connect with your self in the present moment. Sometimes this means having a good cry about something that happened yesterday & you’re still carrying. Sometimes this means realizing that after someone upset you, you still feel frustrated, and in addition to feeling frustrated, your physical body has tension in your shoulders and neck, hardness in your abdomen, and an empty feeling in your feet. Connecting with the full experience of what is happening for you helps to shift you back to a neutral and empowered place.
KEY 7: TRUST YOURSELF
If you think you feel sad, you feel sad. If you think you’re feeling annoyed, then you ARE. Be open to yourself, and trust YOU. Your feelings are a part of your human experience and they are not wrong. Nor do they define you. If you are experiencing fear, trust that it will pass when you are ready. Trust that you can feel something different. Trust that this is the “right” feeling for you in this moment.
KEY 8: IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING
Your feelings do not define you or mean anything. Just because you feel angry at your spouse doesn’t mean you’re not in love anymore. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad Mom if you feel really annoyed at your kids. Your emotional experience does not define YOU, nor does it mean you’re a bad person for feeling that way.
KEY 9: SET AN INTENTION
If your intention for the day is to get a project done, then do it. If you are experiencing fear, anxiety, frustration, or “stress” in the process, give yourself a moment to experience the stress, and then get back to work. The satisfaction you feel when following through on commitments to yourself is powerful and is a prominent result of emotional mastery. That and flexibility, gratitude, and frequent spontaneous stretches of joy.
KEY 10: PERFORM REGULAR CHECK-INS
Check in with yourself periodically throughout the day. Just tune in and notice – am I tense? Simply ask yourself “what’s going on for me right now?” and withhold judgement about whatever comes up. Observe yourself at work, in meetings, at the gym, with your family. Open the door lovingly to ongoing connection and dialog with your own inner being.
THE KEY TO THE KEYS?
Pick any of these that resonates with you and use it to unlock the door to your own emotional mastery. The power to live the life you’ve always wanted and to manifest your dreams lies just inside!
Do you have questions for Julie? Ask in the comments below or post them on my facebook page!
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