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Can we manage our emotions?


meme about managing emotions

Back in the early 2000s when I dove headfirst into coach training, I had no idea how emotionally numb I was from the neck down. I was the master of stuffing my feelings, thinking it was my way of dealing with things. Spoiler alert: it just made me bury my head in a bag of potato chips and flirt dangerously with becoming an alcoholic.


Fast forward to now, and it’s like I’ve got a whole new emotional GPS. Instead of shoving my feelings in the back of my junk drawer, I see them as little messengers trying to get my attention. Now, when an emotion pops up, I’m paying attention and curious to figure out what it’s trying to tell me. What’s the scoop? Where is this emotion steering me or warning me away from?


Forget about managing emotions; it’s all about letting them be my tour guides. This shift has turned my world around, and I’m now pumped to engage in conversations about how to leverage emotions to create an #unstoppable mindset.


But how do you actually do that? How do you tune in to your emotions and use them as your allies, not your enemies? How do you go from feeling overwhelmed, stuck, or confused to feeling empowered, confident, and clear?


Not to worry. I've got you covered. I’m going to give you some practical tips and tools that have helped me and my clients transform our emotional landscapes and achieve our goals. Whether you want to improve your relationships, your career, your health, or your happiness, these strategies will help you get there.


Here are the three steps to using your emotions as your tour guides:


Step 1: Name it to tame it.

The first step is to identify what you’re feeling and name it. This may sound simple, but it’s actually very powerful. Research shows that labeling your emotions can reduce their intensity and help you regulate them better. When you name your emotion, you acknowledge its presence and give it some space. You also activate the prefrontal cortex of your brain, which is responsible for rational thinking and decision making. This helps you calm down and gain some perspective.


So, the next time you feel an emotion rising up, don’t ignore it or judge it. Just name it. Say to yourself or out loud: “I’m feeling angry/sad/anxious/excited/happy/etc.” You can also use a scale from 1 to 10 to rate the intensity of your emotion. For example: “I’m feeling angry at a 7 right now.”


Step 2: Understand the message.

The second step is to understand what your emotion is trying to tell you. Every emotion has a purpose and a message. Emotions are signals that something is important to you, that something needs your attention, or that something needs to change. By listening to your emotions, you can discover your values, your needs, your boundaries, and your desires.


To understand the message of your emotion, ask yourself these questions:

  • What triggered this emotion? What happened or what did I think that made me feel this way?

  • What is this emotion telling me about what matters to me? What do I care about in this situation?

  • What is this emotion telling me about what I need or want? What do I need to do or say to meet my needs or wants?

  • What is this emotion telling me about what I should avoid or change? What do I need to stop doing or say no to?

For example, if you’re feeling angry, it may be because someone violated your boundary, or because you perceive an injustice, or because you have unmet needs. The message of anger is to protect yourself, to stand up for yourself, or to assert yourself. The action may be to speak up, to set a limit, or to ask for what you need.


Step 3: Choose the response.

The third step is to choose how you want to respond to your emotion. You have the power to decide what to do with your emotion, how to express it, and how to act on it. You don’t have to be controlled by your emotion, nor do you have to suppress it. You can use it as a guide to make choices that align with your values, your goals, and your well-being.


To choose your response, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I want to feel in this situation? What emotion would serve me better?

  • How can I express my emotion in a healthy and respectful way? How can I communicate my feelings to others without blaming or attacking them?

  • How can I act on my emotion in a constructive and positive way? How can I use my emotion to move me closer to my goals?

For example, if you’re feeling sad, it may be because you lost something or someone, or because you’re grieving, or because you’re disappointed. The message of sadness is to acknowledge your loss, to heal, or to adjust your expectations. The action may be to cry, to seek support, or to let go.


I hope this blog post has given you some insights and tips on how to use your emotions as your tour guides. Remember, emotions are not good or bad, they're just information. By naming, understanding, and choosing your response to your emotions, you can harness their power and create an #unstoppable mindset.

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