11 Feb Take Charge Of Your Emotional States
Have you ever told someone “You’re making me feel… (angry, sad, frustrated – you fill in the blanks)?
Here’s a reality check – nobody can make you feel anything. No one else has remote control of your emotions. It’s not possible for them to press a button and suddenly you’re in a different emotional state.
In this article we’re going to pull back the curtains and take a look at what’s really going on when you have an emotional experience. We’ll explore how you’re currently directing your experience and how you can direct it, rather than let it direct you.
There Are Two Components That Influence Emotional States
First, there is a physiology or ‘body language’ associated with every emotional state that you experience.
If you’re depressed, you might find yourself with shoulders slumped forward, looking down at the floor, chest constricted. If angry, you might be frowning, have a throat tight and an accelerated heartbeat.
But what happens when you change your physiology?
Imagine you’re furious. If you started skipping down the street like a child, you’d probably find it hard to maintain that angry emotional state. Or try staying depressed whilst naked, upside down in a handstand against a wall.
Let’s do an experiment right now so you get a sense of what I mean.
Take a moment to notice what emotional state you’re currently in? For example are you serious, curious, disturbed, excited, bored, receptive? Get a sense of that emotional state, and give it a label.
Assuming you’re sitting down as you read this, stand up, jump up and down on the spot a few times, then sit back down.
What state are you in now? Is it the same as before?
My guess is that if you followed my instructions, you’re probably feeling more upbeat now. And yet nothing changed on the outside. Your state changed because it was led by your physiology.
Your body language is 100% under your command, no-one else controls it. Next time you’re in an unresourceful state notice your physiology, and change it.
What Are You Thinking?
We’ve established that one component that influences your emotional state is your physiology, the second is your mindset.
If you’re angry, that means you’re thinking some angry thoughts. If you’re resentful, you’ll be playing movies in the theatre of your mind about how you’ve been wronged in some way.
The meanings you bring to any circumstance, drive your states.
And just like physiology, your thinking is actually 100% under your command.
When it seems like somebody is making you feel something it’s because you’re giving them that power. You’re giving them power over you thinking, physiology and emotions.
But here’s the thing – only you can do that.
You control what you think and how you’re going to view a situation, eg. whether you focus on solutions or problems. You control your physiology, whether your hunched over or if you’re standing upright.
You’re in charge of the two primary influences of your emotional state in any given time. No one else controls them which means no one else can make you feel any particular way.
“A person can only drive you crazy if you give them the keys”
– Colin Cox
The Power of Leading Your Own States
The quality of your emotional state creates the quality of your experience. So state management becomes an essential skill for ensuring quality of life.
Next time you notice an unresourceful state being triggered by someone or something, look at the physiology and the meanings you’re bringing to that circumstance creating that state, both of which you control, and play around with them.
That way, instead of being randomly charged by other people and circumstances, you’re in charge.
If you’d like to explore these ideas further and start unleashing your full potential as a leader, click here to book in for a 30 minute free Discovery Coaching Session now.
Written by Soo Balbi
Soo is a behavioural expert and one of Australia’s leading Developmental Coaches who helps women in tech thrive. Soo assists her clients to cut to the heart of any challenge, enabling choices and possibilities previously unavailable.