You can’t buy happiness. A platitude we’ve all heard and nodded along to. We get to experience its truth when that life-perfecting piece of technology or dream vacation inevitably leaves us with an aftertaste of disappointment. Yet, many spiritual traditions acknowledge that joy is our natural state. Before we get bent and beaten up by the world, we come into it knowing a state of bliss. As babies, we cry when we are hurt, hungry, or tired, but outside of basic corporeal need, we are happy. Without reversing our experience in the world and if we can’t save enough money to buy it, how do we access happiness?
Just about anyone would agree that taking time to appreciate the simple things is an important part of a happy life. But we may not be hardwired to pay attention in this way.
Evolutionary psychology tells us that it’s easier for us to notice a perceived problem than it is for us to take in what’s going well. This proclivity, referred to as the negativity bias, can likely be explained by considering our distant ancestors. Survival-wise, they’d be better served by worrying about the footprint of a natural predator than by delighting in the fragrant daffodil growing next to it.
The holiday season is heralded as the most wonderful time of the year, and certainly there is a whimsical and romantic quality to it all. However, along with the celebration comes the inevitable stresses of family, travel, the closing down a year, and the anticipation of another one. If you wake up a little less merry and a little more Grinch, you are not alone. More than that, you have the capacity to support yourself through the mindfulness practice. Taking a moment to reset through breath, movement, and awareness.
The simple practice of Loving-Kindness has come to be one of the easiest and most powerful ways to bring happiness to others, thereby multiplying my own. The brief act of sending out well wishes to all by silently communicating a sentiment such as, “May I be happy and free. May he/she be happy and free. May all beings be happy and free” is a practice I can do anytime, anywhere.
Often, we find ourselves holding back from saying certain things to people, but when it comes to our own inner dialogue -- we have no filter. Think back to a time where you were feeling down even though you knew you were being too hard on yourself. Fortunately, by paying attention to our inner dialogue, we can free ourselves from self-doubt and become more comfortable with who we are. Here are 3 ways to stop negative self-talk:
Think back to the last time you had a conversation with someone and it truly felt like the other person was giving you 100% of their attention. It feels good, right? You probably opened up more and felt a better connection with the person. For some people, this comes more naturally, while others have to be intentional about mastering the art of mindful communication.
Have you ever caught yourself wanting to say something, but weren’t sure if it was the right time or place to say it? As a leader, you need to be extra mindful in your communication because it sets the tone and can affect the team’s success. There are 3 questions you can ask yourself to help determine if you should say what's on your mind:
Is it based on fact or feeling?
Will this make the situation better or worse?
Am I showing compassion?
Companies and their teams face growing pressures every day to “think outside the box”. Often this involves trying to “do more with less”, whether it’s less resources, less direction, or less data. It could also mean tending to an increasing number of stakeholders, more competition, or entering uncharted territory. Simple mindfulness exercises can have a profound effect on your team’s ability to grow with these evolving challenges.
Do you know someone who always seems to bounce back from adversity without a scratch? While they may seem like a superhuman, it turns out anyone can learn this skill with intentional practice. We asked our mindfulness community for the answers -- welcoming contributions from Gisela Andras (Psychology, MBA Student), Diana Zapata (Photographer), and Erin Houston (CEO and Co-Founder of Wearwell).
Connecting regularly is a great way for building relationships. Gisela says, “this goes beyond just actively keeping in touch, a lot of the magic is in actively keeping them in [your] heart, integrating them into [your] daily life and daily practices.”
For Diana “it’s important to have a balance between how much talking you do and how much listening as well.” This way you “nurture those relationships and it also gives perspective when you might feel like you’re the only one suffering through difficulties.” Of course, we can’t forget that “it’s a two-way street!” Erin reminds us that it’s important to “support those same people whenever they need it most.”
Find Meaning In Failure
As Diana puts it, “focusing on what’s lost is the best way to stay stuck. A setback or a challenge is just an opportunity for growth.” Erin adds, “if you fail at something, find meaning in learning how you missed the mark. If you face a setback you didn't expect, find another way to accomplish what you set out to do.”
While it can be easy to feel defeated, there are some tools at your disposal. In stressful moments, Erin repeats a simple mantra, “it's only a matter of resiliency and time before I'll be on the other side of it.” Gisela uses meditation as “an incredibly powerful tool to gain a healthy distance from [her] immediate emotions... and reassess the situation.”
In Diana’s words, “the challenge is always to accept that these plans might (and most likely will) derail, but the opportunity here is to be able to adapt and adjust.” Erin says, “it's a lot easier to roll with the punches and hurdles that come up,” when you understand your bigger life purpose.
“Remind yourself that we are in constant fluctuations, it is normal to feel defeated sometimes, but getting back up is also part of the process,” suggests Diana. If you find yourself feeling pessimistic, Gisela recommends to “focus on the present moment and slow down your breathing,” so you can see things in perspective. A visual cue or reminder can also be a good reminder to stay inspired. Erin has the words, “Gratitude attracts more reasons to be grateful" framed on her bedside table.”
“There will always be a ‘what if’ but it is never important because it is non-existent,” says Diana. Erin reminds us, “you can't change the past, but you can adjust and course-correct in the future.” If you have a big life decision, take a night to sleep on it. If you still feel the same way in the morning, stick to that choice and run with it.
If you still find your mind racing, Gisela always comes back to her meditation practice. “It gives me a tool to shed all those layers, find my inner voice and have the strength to listen.” For further reading, check out 4 Ways to Manage A Restless Mind.
Do you ever feel like part of you is always thinking about work? If you’re feeling this way, there’s a good chance your team is too. That’s why it’s important to develop the proper skills so you and your team can manage stress in a healthy way.
Lead The Way
Teaching your team resilience can go a long way when it comes to managing stress on a team and individual level. The development of these four skills can help a person learn to be more resilient in the face of adversity:
Optimism: Find the silver lining solution in unfavorable situations or difficult times
Composure: The ability to stay balanced and manage strong or difficult emotions
Safety: Provide a sense of security and “non-judgement” atmosphere
Support: Give your team support outlets (personally or refer to professionals)
Once you and your team develop these skills and become more resilient, it will become even easier over time to keep “getting back on the horse.”
The Value Of Failure
Don’t be afraid to let your team fail and find things out for themselves. A healthy amount of failure when the consequences are not life-threatening will help build resilience. As Winston Churchill puts it, “Success is not final; Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
There’s no greater service you can do for a person than to teach them the skills that will help them remain resilient through the highs and lows of life. Remember, the important lesson here isn’t to create an environment where your team won’t face adversity. The point is to teach your team the proper skills to be resilient and rise to the occasion.
Have you ever had an “aha!” moment when you least expected it? Maybe you were in the shower, on a run, or simply drinking your morning coffee when suddenly... the answer became clear. There’s a reason why these breakthrough ideas strike at strange times and it’s most often when you have a clear mind.
In order to do your most creative work, you have to silence any anxious and stressful thoughts, especially if you have external pressure like pending deadlines. The good news is you can learn to distance these negative thoughts, while your creative mind goes to work.
To find out how others stay creative under stress, we reached out to:
Kevin Huynh, Partner at People & Company
Ramon Mortiz, Senior Associate at iProspect
David Li, Technician and Fulfillment Specialist at KeyMe
Here’s what they had to say about distancing anxious thoughts and letting your mind be creative:
Identify Anxious Thoughts
“What’s the first thing you do when you find your mind racing from anxiety and stress?”
Once you notice your mind start to race take a moment to pause and breathe. Try to assess the situation. Ramon suggests considering your “current situation, emotions, [and] thoughts,” by asking questions like:
How did I get to this point?
Why am I thinking this?
Where did this feeling come from?
You can also try writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Kevin finds “that putting [his] thoughts into words helps [him] reflect on what [he’s] feeling and why [he] feels that way.”
Put Things Into Perspective
“How do you silence these anxious and stressful thoughts?”
A common thread among the contributing influencers is to always put everything into perspective. For some, this means introspective reflection, while for others it means talking things out with a close friend.
Kevin says, “nothing silences stressful thoughts like talking them out with someone I trust. Often those discussions with my partner or business partner don't change the circumstances but they put seemingly overwhelming things into perspective.”
Priority Over Pressure
“When you have other tasks to complete, how do you focus on the task at hand rather than the building pressure?”
For Kevin, his “good days start with lists”. Especially when times get busy, Kevin proactively makes lists for each day of the week. However, we all know how easy a to-do list can quickly get out of hand.
This is why it’s important to focus on the present moment says David. He highlights the importance of tackling each task one-by-one even though it can feel “almost paralyzing to focus on whatever you may have on your plate at the moment.
Here are some best practices for writing your to-do list:
Include work-related and personal items
It’s important to make sure you complete all of your work. It’s even more important that you maintain good physical and mental health. Make time for yourself.
Identify urgent versus important items
This helps you determine which items need to be prioritized first, while others can wait until a more appropriate time. Focus on the urgent problems first.
You can read more about writing sensible to-do lists here.
Enjoy the Moment
“Do you have any exercises or habits or hobbies that help you clear your mind and prevent stress from wearing you down?”
Everyone has an activity, hobby, or something you enjoy doing. It’s important that you make time for yourself and these types of activities. For Kevin it’s cooking; he says, “cooking is rejuvenating. There's something about preparing, creating, and consuming food that makes me feel more like me.”
Have you ever felt like the answer was right in front of you all along? When making a major life decision, it’s easy to overthink your options. All the “what-ifs” and “buts” can make it seem like there is no right decision -- it happens to the best of us.
Sometimes the best path forward is clearly defined, while other times it’s not. Fortunately, a proactive, mindful approach can help you see your options clearly to make the best choice moving forward.
A Process for Mindful Problem Solving
Before you make any major life decision, it’s important that you take a moment to slow things down. Breathe. It’s natural to feel emotionally charged when there is some sort of stake on the line. Don’t get caught up trying to uncover the “right” and “wrong” answers. You will naturally identify the best solution as you ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. What is your challenge?
The first step is to define the problem you are trying to solve. This is typically the major life decision you are trying to make. From choosing a field of study, career path, life partner, and more. You want to be crystal clear about what it is you are trying to solve.
Try asking yourself questions like:
What’s the challenge you are facing?
Why is this a challenge that must be addressed now?
What important details am I dealing with?
What do I want the outcome to be?
What bothers you about the problem?
What doesn’t bother you?
Who is involved?
Where does the problem occur?
When does it happen?
Why is it happening?
How does it happen?
How does it make you feel?
How do you react/respond?
Sometimes the problem you are facing will be very clear and already pre-defined. Other times the problem may be vague or require more effort to put it into words.
2. What are your possible outcomes?
Now it’s time to brainstorm all of the possible solutions to your challenge. It’s natural for our minds to focus on one “ideal solution”, but it’s important to let your mind search for multiple solutions. Think of this as an opportunity to brainstorm possible outcomes you may not have previously thought of.
To help you get started try thinking about solutions in terms of what it looks like you doing, feeling, and seeing. Focus both on what you do want to happen, as well as what you do not want to happen. Decide on your top 3 possible outcomes and keep these in mind.
3. What are your strategies to achieve these outcomes?
This is where you develop your ideas to craft a truly workable solution -- a plan you can implement to overcome your challenge. Try to think of as many strategies as you can for each of your 3 possible solutions from the previous step. These are actions you can take that will help you achieve a particular outcome. Remember, any idea is fair game at this point. Don’t criticize the merits of your ideas at this stage... we will get to that!
4. What are the consequences of your strategies?
In order to determine the best plan of action moving forward, consider the likelihood of success for each of your strategies from the previous step. Once you’ve done that, consider which of your outcomes from Question #2, has the most strategies that are likely to succeed. Of course, you’ll need to implement a specific strategy, but this is where you’ll have the best chances of success.
5. How can you implement this plan of action?
Now that you’ve arrived at a specific strategy to achieve a particular outcome, the final piece of the puzzle is to put it into action. Break your strategy down into a series of steps that take you from your current situation to your chosen outcome. By this point, you’ll have made a very intentional, mindful decision about the best course of action to overcome any challenge.
There are two types of exercise critical to reaching your peak performance in life: mental and physical. Physical exercise is organized, premeditated, focused physical movement that is intended to achieve a set of fitness goals. Common physical exercises include running, weight lifting, swimming, and yoga. With repetition, you get better over time.
Mental exercise is a bit more complicated. Your brain is active 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The brain is a super-powered processing machines constantly analyzing your external environment, while commanding your bodily functions. Your brain also regulates emotions, stores memories, and processes information both consciously and subconsciously. Just like physical activity, there is a distinction between brain activity and mental exercise.
Mental exercises are challenging. They require more cognitive power and eat up more energy. They are also the activities that make you smarter. Some examples include learning a new instrument, studying for a test, strategizing a new business model, and even reading for long periods of time.
Mutually Exclusive or Complementary?
What you may have noticed is that these examples of physical and mental exercise are not mutually exclusive. To play piano, you need to think about which notes to play and move your fingers and feet accordingly. To swim a proper breaststroke, you have to apply a learned technique to move efficiently and get better.
It is important to understand the difference between mental and physical exercise to understand an even more powerful type of exercise - the mind body connection.
The Mind Body Connection
Going as far back as ancient Greece, people believed that the mind and body were deeply intertwined. Medicine and sports were predicated on the idea that our bodies and minds depend on each other for peak performance. This notion was almost lost at the beginning of the seventeenth century, but has come back to popularity. Scientists in modern times have found again and again that the body and mind are a synchronized unit. For example, what separates Olympic athletes from recreational athletes is not their superior bodies; it’s actually their ability to make decisions on the fly, and command their muscles accordingly. Vice versa.
Here’s another example. Think back to the last time you were very hungry and trying to work. Not easy right? A body that’s properly fed, hydrated, and has stable glucose levels feeds a sharper, more focused, and calmer mind.
Though we do not yet fully understand the connectivity between the mind and body, it is a growing topic in a variety of fields from meditation to physiology to fitness. Peak performers, doctors and scientists all want to know how this relationship works. One thing is for sure. If you want to reach your peak performance in life, it’s critical to find a happy balance between mental and physical exercise.
Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment. When a work environment is chaotic or unenjoyable, our mind tends to wander. Whether you watch the clock or just daydream throughout the day, being present at work is possible, and we’re here to help you do it.
The top three hacks to building a more mindful workplace are:
Self Reflect for Deep Focus
Did you know that practicing mindfulness can actually increase your attention span? With increased self-awareness, you can be more intentional with your focus and mental clarity. The best part is you can practice mindfulness while you’re at work.
Pick a time of day (like after lunch) and take time to listen to how you’re feeling. Ask yourself:
How is my mind feeling?
How is my body feeling?
Do I feel stressed, busy, or tired?
By checking in with yourself, you are becoming self aware. When you do this regularly, your brain will begin to rewire itself to make stress and fatigue less painful. Once you acknowledge these feelings, you are able to work with more honesty and clarity.
Embrace Lunchtime Social Hour
For most of us, the office is a place of teamwork and collaboration. When you get along with your colleagues, your in-office experience improves alongside your work quality. Stress can hamper the ability to enjoy the company of others and communication, but being mindfully present with others can combat this. Spending time with others in the present moment has been proven time and time again to increase levels of serotonin -- one of the brain’s strongest feel-good and calming chemicals.
Lunch is a perfect time to let go of your focus on work and direct it to the people around you. Try having lunch with someone you like rather than eating alone. Make a conscious effort to really focus on someone’s lunch-time story, and engage in the conversation. When you get back to work, you’ll probably find it easier to focus since your brain will be in a more rejuvenated, relaxed state.
Mindfulness Loves Company
When you’re at lunch spending time with a friend, it’s more likely that they’ll notice the attention you’re paying to them. Not only does this make them feel good, but they’re more likely to open up to you and be kinder. This feeling is contagious because just as you returned to your desk feeling better, so do they. Both of you end up having more pleasant interactions with people. Over time, a friendlier work environment is created. It all starts with the simple act of paying mindful attention to others.
Building a mindful workplace doesn’t have to start from the top down. It can happen from the bottom up. You can do a lot to help yourself and others experience a calmer, more present work environment.
Ever notice how you seem to find workout tips at every turn? Magazine articles at the checkout counter promise “5 ab exercises to get shredded”. Or the guy on the YouTube ad before your video has “the secret to weight loss in 30 days or less”. While each of these likely contain effective exercises, a good workout always starts with listening to your body.
How do you define a good workout?
For some it means burning lots of calories, while for others it’s all about lifting heavier weights, or running for a long time on the treadmill. At times, it can be hard to measure what counts as a good workout. Despite personal metrics there is one thing that’s the same for everyone. When you have a good workout, you feel great afterwards. To feel great after every workout and avoid getting lost in all the workout “information overload”, try listening to your body.
Tune Into Your Physical Self
Before you begin your workout take some time to sit or stand still. You can even do this laying down, which is a great option. Do a full body scan starting from the bottoms of your feet and make your way to the top of your head. Take your time, as the entire scan can take anywhere from one to three minutes.
Plan Your Workout Accordingly
After you’ve done your scan, you can choose which types of exercise would complement your body today. Maybe your shoulders are sore right now, but your core feels rested. In that case, you can make the workout about stretching your shoulders, loosening them up with some cardio, and focusing the hard exercises on your abs.
The Difference Between Good And Bad Pain
While you’re performing the hard exercises, you’ll likely experience a certain amount of pain. If you plan your workout by listening to your body, it’s probably good pain. Your heart will pound and your muscles will burn, but you’ll feel alive, strong, and vital while you workout. Bad pain is different. If you’re working out and feel sharp discomfort, or you’re finding it difficult to muster the energy to continue, then consider giving that muscle a break.
The key is to notice the difference and honor what your body is telling you. Although a good workout starts with the right mindset, it begins with awareness of your body. By choosing to listen, you are allowing yourself to become more self aware, cultivating a practice that will give you true lifelong fitness.
We are connected to our jobs more than ever before. Technology and smartphones have made us reachable 24/7. While this may be convenient for business, it’s important that our minds have a chance to relax and recharge. Here are some strategies people are using:
Protect Your Personal Time
How do you keep “work thoughts” from invading your personal time?
Victoria, Fashion Stylist: Meditation has been the biggest help when it comes to finding peace of mind. It taught me how to not fight the thoughts that are coming into my mind, but rather focus on breathing and let them go.
Judith, Program Coordinator: This is difficult at times, especially when there’s an intense period at work or when something gets under my skin. I find that I must be vigilant in observing my mind. When work thoughts occur during personal time, I have to make a conscious effort to create a boundary and refrain from engaging with the thinking. I compartmentalize the whole “folder” called work and I put it away.
Adam, Partner at Engage Media Group: It’s honestly the toughest thing to do, especially for those of us who don't work normal 9 to 5 jobs. You are responsible for so much that it’s almost always on my mind. Especially in today’s world where we are so connected with phones that a simple email or ad on Instagram can spark your mind to think work thoughts.
Korpo, Writer & Brand Strategist: “Work thoughts” typically arise after work hours when you have not prioritized and are unaware of what items you have left pending. At the end of each workday, I dedicate thirty minutes to weighing in on my priorities. Knowing exactly where I am on matters of importance allows me to set a plan of execution of the following day. This alleviates me of any anxiety that could arise over items I was unable to complete that day.
Keep Your Mind Off Work
What do you do when you find your mind wandering back to work? How do you silence these thoughts? Or do you give them attention?
Judith, Program Coordinator: First, I have be aware enough to catch it. Then, strong enough to be willing to reject it. Once that decision is made and the boundary is set, it takes some affirmative thought to put it away. Sometimes, I even have to breathe through the more pervasive “breakouts”. It’s not so much that I silence these thoughts per se, it’s that I refuse to put my attention on them and then they recede. Sometimes, if they are relentless, I do give them attention. At times, I have been able to assess my work issues with the most clarity during my personal time.
Adam, Partner at Engage Media Group: Most times it’s tossing the phone to the side and not picking it up. Another way is to spend time with some friends. Being social helps keep your mind off work since you are vibing and enjoying the moment.
Korpo, Writer & Brand Strategist: In basketball, the 5-second rule helps to promote a continuous play. How can this help stop your mind from wandering back to work? Easy, as soon as I find my mind being sucked back into work mode, I ask myself will this matter cause you to lose your job? Now is time to pass, dribble, or shoot. If I cannot make the call within 5 seconds, it’s a penalty; I must stop everything I am doing and attend to whatever matter has come to mind.
Christian, Direct-Response Copywriter: I just take a deep breath and try to stay focused in the moment. I don't give the thoughts much attention, especially if I can't do anything about them at that time.
Unwind To Switch Gears
Is there a specific activity, routine, habit, or ritual you do after work to switch gears into leisure mode?
Victoria, Fashion Stylist: Working out tremendously helps with switching gears! I also recommend working on a passion project that brings you joy.
Judith, Program Coordinator: When I am super stressed at work, a hot bath will help me to transition into my down time. It became a ritual of releasing any work-related stress.
Korpo, Writer & Brand Strategist: Classical conditioning is a learning process that occurs when two stimuli are paired habitually. While some habits are debilitating, others can be lifesaving. I have a set playlist that I listen to everyday for an hour before the end of my work day. My mind has been conditioned to leave work at the end of my playlist. Since adopting this habit, I now leave work more pumped and eager to head home than ever before.
Christian, Direct-Response Copywriter: After work I get changed into comfortable clothing, help out with dinner, and eat some food. I'd then either read my Kindle, watch YouTube or watch Dragon's Den. This happens naturally as I’m often exhausted and ready to relax.
There’s no denying that screens have become an integral part of life, whether it’s working from a laptop, scrolling on phones, or relaxing in front of the TV. A recent Nielsen audience report revealed the average person spends 10 hours a day looking at screens... almost two thirds of the time we’re awake!
Since technology is deeply rooted in our daily habits, it’s important to find time away from screens. Being intentional about your screen-free time will help you reconnect with physical experiences for a more mindful, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Practice Mind-Body Connection
Technology allows us to experience things without even having to be present. For instance, if you’re watching a comedy where there is a group of friends talking, you’re experiencing social engagement without actually being there. This is a vicarious experience that only occurs in the mind. If you were really out with a group of friends, the richness of the experience becomes much more fulfilling because your body and mind work best together.
Enjoy The Little Things In Life
It may sound cliche, but enjoying the small things in life is a great way to find inner peace. The smells, sounds, tastes, textures, and gestures enriches every experience. Standing, laughing, looking people in the eye, and really living in that moment are incredibly valuable. In the real world, your senses are given a necessary feast of stimuli that can’t be found through technology.
Manage Screen Time
Most electronic screens have significantly high levels of blue light. Blue light is high energy with a short wavelength, which means it scatters more easily than other colours of the spectrum. Why should you care? Overexposure to blue light makes it difficult for our eyes to focus and can leave the retina vulnerable to damage.
Tip: If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, you can order blue light filtering glasses and download blue light reduction apps that make your screen appear more yellow.
Get A Good Night’s Rest
Blue light also increases alertness by suppressing the body’s production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. This is great early in the day, but that’s not the case when you’re trying to fall asleep. To fall asleep quicker, try swapping your dose of late night Netflix with a book, drawing, or another peaceful activity you enjoy.
Technology has its place in our lives, but like anything, it’s about finding a balance that works for you. If you feel like something is missing in your life, try swapping screen time for more real life experiences.
Have you ever experienced a dream-like state where high quality work flows effortlessly and without hesitation? The kind you’d describe with words like flow state or deep work. More specifically, it’s when your mind balances relaxation with concentration. Here are 3 practices top performing teams use to “get in the zone”:
Find A Shared Purpose
Every task becomes significantly easier - and a lot more fun - when it has a meaningful purpose. Defining the team’s purpose allows team members to be in sync and see how they can best contribute for success. One way you can define this purpose is to understand how the task serves any bigger picture goals. This allows you to keep your team grounded and focused if there’s ever any debate about how to move forward in the project.
Tip: Try to find a strong visual or statement that encapsulates the team’s mission.
Simplify The Process
As human beings we have a habit of over complicating things. Our awesome, high-powered brains are so analytical that they sometimes experience analysis paralysis. This is when your purpose statement comes in handy. Having a clear intention allows you to decide which tasks will move you closer to the bigger picture goal and which ones will not. This will provide you context to assess each problem, so you can deal with it appropriately.
Remove Physical Distractions
There are a proven ways to improve people’s focus at work. The first is to remove any physical distractions. When it’s time to sit down and work, close social media, turn off phone notifications, close your email, and only keep tabs open related to the task at hand. Top performing teams do this because they know It takes an entire 20 minutes to completely refocus after a distraction.
Getting in the zone is no myth exclusive to athletes and superheros. It’s a wonderful, empowering state that anyone has access to. If you’re looking to take your team’s focus to the next level, try applying these 3 strategies.
Our emotions affect how we perceive the world around us. How someone feels emotionally will influence the meaning we pull from different sensations, as well as past experiences and knowledge. This provides the power to reshape our perspectives by understanding the emotions within us.
To see how people are working to understand their emotions, we reached out to:
Dre, Customer Experience Ninja
Dadry, Creative Freelancer
Here’s what they had to say about understanding your emotions. It all begins with emotional balance.
Understanding Emotional Balance
When we asked, what does being “emotionally balanced” mean to you, a common thread is to allow yourself to feel your emotions as they come and go, while “dealing with them in real time”. Dre highlights the importance of not letting yourself “become overly consumed with what may come and not judge yourself for feeling how you do.”
For Corri it means, “making a choice to take time for yourself and not allowing the fast pace of life to control your inner peace. Try creating a routine to keep this balance intact, such as making the bed, stretching, and taking a few moments to meditate. Find moments in the day to be grateful for your path and the world around you” - even the parts of life you can’t control.
Search For Perspective
The next question we asked is: How do you regulate your emotions when you’re feeling down or life feels out-of-control?
Taking a step back can help you put things into perspective. Dadry suggests, “slowing down and taking in the world around you. Cleaning is one way to physically fix the chaos around you. It’s about finding something new and calming to take your mind off the stress of it all.”
After taking a moment to breath deeply, Corri says, “I consider the consequences of my reactions. Do I spiral out of control or remain calm and think logically about the situation? I usually choose the latter. If I feel extremely emotionally charged and feel the need to express myself I try to do so as honestly and calmly as possible.”
Accept Your Emotions
Our final question is: What advice do you have for people who have trouble controlling their emotions, both in their own minds and when expressing emotions to others?
Dre suggests, “My advice to people who have trouble controlling their emotions would be to accept what comes. Don't avoid or try to suppress anything that might come up because it will come back to the surface eventually. Take a moment to positively respond to what you are going through instead of reacting immediately. Many times we react without thinking and it tends to not be the best plan of action.”
Dadry encourages you to “find a way to filter the mess. Music, art, exercise; any activity that is expressive - even something as simple as talking it out. Usually a stressful situation is one where there isn’t a firm sight of clarity. Talking to someone who is on the outside looking in might be exactly what you need.”
Corri often asks, “Who are your emotions affecting? When we become irrational we are not lucid. So you can not clearly convey your emotions and express your truest desires. In one’s own mind I would think about what is creating any distress? What’s the source? Can you control it or is it out of your control? You cannot allow things that are out of your control to disturb your peace. Take a few moments to breath and think about how much power you want to allow others or a situation to have over you. What outcome will expressing your emotions have?”