Emotional cocktail – Top Challenges of Expat’s Life
How to deal with difficult emotions?
When stressed, you do not have the access you all your resources.
You can’t remember things during the job interview but the minute you leave the interviewer room all is good and as normal. Or you are about to have a tough conversation with your partner and you put it off, procrastinate, but you are really running away from fear that you feel. Or you don’t know why you feel panicky inside and you let it out by throwing plates, shouting at your kids or worst suppressing and pretending it does not affecting you, which does not help neither you, nor the environment around you. Therefore, it is worth to know how to cope with difficult emotions and what in fact an emotion is.
If you feel thirsty, it is not an emotion but physiological feeling. You need to feel thirsty to satisfy specific needs so your body survives. Without thirst, you wouldn’t be motivated to drink. If you feel thirsty but because of some reason you can’t drink as you are in the meeting or you are driving a car, you may feel upset and frustrated. Frustration is already an emotion.
Emotion is a interpretation of both your thought and body sensation.
Remember that an emotion doesn’t last forever.
When you know how to identify an emotion you have great control over it. There is no good or bad emotion; it’s all about the intensity of it, context, use and way of expressing it.
What I personally found useful during working on managing emotions is to scale it.
Ask yourself what and when do you feel. “What do I feel now?” and follow it by
“What proportion would be the most adequate?” to know how many emotions do you want to feel. When you’ve done this, I would like you to try name the emotion that you feel. Such as, I feel sadness, I feel anger, I feel joy, I feel disgust, I feel enthusiasm. It is essential to bring self-consciousness regardless of it being positive or negative emotions. With self-consciousness you are equipped to cope, to manage emotions because naming it showings you what to work on.
Common mistake is to say ‘I am sad’. By saying it you acknowledge that you are sad and instead of changing emotion you will demand your mood, your attitude to change as you’ve said ‘I am sad’. Don’t bring your emotion to the level of your personality, your identity. Be precise. When you feel sad, say ‘I feel sad/sadness’ and then you are ready to work on the emotion, the sadness.
Observe yourself, take a mental picture of the emotions and practice managing them instead shaking it up or bottling it (and waiting for an inevitable explosion)
Believe that only you are responsible for what you are feeling and how long.
External situations will keep appearing and surprising you but how it will make you feel is in your hands (or mind actually).
There are 3 quick self-coaching actions you can do, to manage difficult emotions:
- Change body position, as it influences emotional states. Straighten up, even stand up, move your feels and legs a bit, make additional gestures to improve blood circulation.
- Change you voice intonation, you can try two different way, be overly dramatic and then overly serious. Send your brain a signal to change emotion.
- Take a slow deep breath, to observe emotions from calm perspective. When controlling your breathing, you control your emotions.