It’s when you don’t recognize and process your emotions that they can guide your behavior in negative and subconscious ways.
Here are three quick and easy ways to be more mindful of your emotions today.
1. Write, write, write your story
It’s not always easy to explain how you feel to someone else, let alone to yourself.
You can, however, write about whatever is on your mind, nagging you, inspiring you, or boring you. A blank page won’t judge you. And a genuine stream of consciousness is brutally honest. (Assuming, of course, that you don’t censor yourself.)
If you keep it private, it’s a safe and powerful outlet for you to communicate what you’re feeling in creative and genuine ways.
2. Take a look in the mirror
Even if you don’t know what you’re feeling, your facial expressions and body language can give you clues.
Look at yourself in a mirror. Is your forehead wrinkled? Are your eyes wide or narrow? Is your jaw clenched or open? Do you look frazzled, or just fatigued? Sometimes you don’t have to say anything and your eyes alone tell a story. Or the way you hold your weight reveals how you’re feeling.
Stealing time away to look at yourself in the mirror gives you an opportunity to reflect, not only on your body language, facial expressions, and subtle physical cues, but also on your perspective — how you see things and how that affects how you feel.
3. Assume that you’re right, and the center of the universe
An easy way to bypass an emotion is by judging it. “Oh, I shouldn’t think that.” “I’m probably just exaggerating.” “She really didn’t mean it.”
The most disruptive judgments are those that shift you out of your perspective, or imply that you’re really not justified in feeling how you feel.
But when it comes to emotion, you are the center of the universe. Your emotion is about you, your life, what’s happened to you, what’s about to happen, what something means to you, why something’s good or bad for you.
So in order to tune in to the underlying message, assume — just for a moment — that you’re right, and the center of the universe. Just for a moment. Just until you can process what you feel.
You can always reason after you get in touch with your emotion how you may need to take others into account, how you may not be 100% correct, how the other side of story can actually help you, or how you may truly benefit from a shift in perspective.
It’s when you try to skip the emotion itself that you make it much harder to understand or see beyond it.
Do any of the above sound egotistic?
Egotism is what emotions evolved for; they’re designed to preserve your well-being so that you can survive.
Emotions’ ego-centric function doesn’t equate with “evil.” (Contrary to popular belief, ego’s aren’t meant to be killed.)
Self-centeredness is good
Experiencing an emotion and responding to an emotion aren’t necessarily the same in all situations. Most of the time, you can respond more mindfully when you’re first honest about how you feel.
And if you’re aware of the egotism of your emotions — you’re that much more capable of responding from your own mindfully-chosen value system, that most likely accounts for the well-being of others, as well as the planet.
So the next time you feel different from “normal,” or just feel something, yet don’t know what it is, steal some time to write what’s on your mind, gaze into your reflection, or mindfully assume a self-centered perspective to figure out what you’re feeling and why.
What do you think?
Share your comments below.
And do share any other quick tips you’d like to try, or have already used.
Want to learn more about how to integrate and work with your emotions? Sign up for the free e-class, Your Life is Your Construct.