Our emotions, much like changing our clothes, are on an off. They come and go. Although sometimes it can seem that our emotions certainly control us rather than us controlling our emotions. It is important to remember that you are not your emotions. You are much more than that. Whilst hormones can play a big part and we can learn to be the masters of our minds, here are some key areas of influence in our life that certainly impact our emotions as well as how intense they can be.
Our inner self-identity. Our ego is driven by our beliefs and values. Everyone has an ego although many seem more in control of it than others. Think about what causes you to get fired up in a conversation or experience… it is often our assumptions and interpretation of how events or conversations will go that trigger our emotions. The ego is concerned with survival and has many needs that can often lead to challenging relationships, needing to be right, ‘be more like me’ mentality, unspoken expectations, controlling behaviour and betrayals of trust. We go into more details about emotional intelligence in our range of courses. Check out the Emotional Intelligence section of the website.
It is well documented and researched about the link between low levels of sleep, psychosis, and changes in behaviour. In fact, there is an increased mortality rate of 13% when people in Europe were found to be sleeping for less than 6 hours per night (RAND Europe). This means increasing the amount we sleep to a level that helps us function are vital. Top tips include ensuring the room is as dark as possible, being mindful of what you watch, think about or ready 30mins before sleeping, Reduce the amount of liquid you drink 3 hours before you are going to sleep and avoid using electronic devices due at least 1 hour before bed.
Food & Drink
Our mood can certainly be affected by what we put in our mouths. For example, the amount of caffeine we consume can have a big impact on our heart rate and has been known to increase symptoms of anxiety although can improve depression if taken in moderation. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, fizzy drinks. Foods that are high in sugar can cause a sugar slump and low energy or mood after a few hours of consumption this is because of their high glycaemic index. Alcohol, whilst a depressant and giving a relaxing effect, also affects our mood often causing anxiety effects after use. This could include heart palpitations, sweats, irritability and could induce panic attacks.
Body Language & Posture
80% of what is communicated is in our body language and our brain feeds off that too. You can increase your confidence by over 80% by taking a high-power post for 2 minutes or more. This has also been shown to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) by 10% making us more relaxed. It also takes many more muscles to frown than it does to smile. Laughter can be a great stress reduction.
Exercise helps to improve our mental wellbeing and reduce stress and improve mood. Those feel-good endorphins can even be achieved through a 30 min brisk walk, so you do not have to pound the concrete running to impact your mood. Just simply move for 30 mins. If this is done in nature it will also have a spiritual element to it that can boost creativity and thought clarity. Dancing can also help boost your mood put on your favourite upbeat songs and get to it. 10 – 20mins should do the trick!
Our thoughts, whether positive or negative can be intensified by repetition. They have been known to have a great impact on our mood. If they are negative and are part of self-limiting beliefs, then they can stunt our personal growth and decrease our confidence. This will keep us from reaching our potential. Repeating positive affirmations daily can help to lift our mood and change our lives through their impact to empower us. “Whether you think you can or think you can you are right” – Henry Ford. Try these affirmations daily and say them to yourself - “I am loved” “I am worthy of love” “I can achieve anything that I put my mind to”.
Words and Their Power
Over time we build up what are called cognitive distortions in our minds. With greater emotional intelligence we realise these thoughts are not factual and are slightly untrue, built by intense feelings and what we tell ourselves. For example, ‘everyone’, ‘never’ and ‘always’. Rarely there is a time that these words are correct for the sentence or circumstances they are used in. For example, “I never lie” – well for a human to never lie it is highly unlikely. Even a white lie. The person saying it builds up a belief system around this and it may affect them emotionally when circumstances arise that challenge this belief. We also say I “can’t” when a more positive way of saying this would be “I can’t yet” which is focused on a growth mindset and being open to learning how.
Our breathing certainly impacts our emotions. Take moment and become aware of how you are currently breathing, is it deep? Is it shallow? How long is the in-breath? And the out-breath? When we are uptight, we breath shallow and a lot quicker. This can increase our heart rate and make us feel more stressed. Take5 mins and practice deep breathing in for a count of 4 and out over a count of 7. Repeat this 10 times. You can feel revived and relaxed afterwards.
One of my early memories is of my mum playing loud music after being upset or angry about something. Diana Ross always had a good blast. As Taylor Swift says, “shake it off!” and this is what mum was doing. Many of us know that music can impact our emotions. Helping us to relax before sleep, motivate us to keep us going in the gym or give us the lift to hit the dancefloor. Often this can only be the effect if it is deliberate, so make a conscious effort to make a playlist to suit your needs. For example, ‘rainy day playlist’ or ‘Monday morning motivation playlist’. This intention will help you to shake your mood to one that is more positive and productive.
For our emotional intelligence and the impact on our emotions being mindful of the environment, we surround ourselves in also crucial. The programmes we watch, the things we read, the people we talk to or surround ourselves with will impact how we feel. Think of a flower or plant. It’s not the plant's fault that it shrivels up and starts to wilt and lose its life, it’s the soil, the sunlight, the air. So be mindful of what you consume, where you spend your time and who with. A toxic environment will not be good for you.
These are a few areas that can be focused on to improve our emotional state of mind along and gives us a greater understanding to improve our emotional intelligence. What areas mentioned could you improve on?
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