As promised this week I will discuss several approaches to handling emotions but first I want to include a word of caution.
If you experience recurring unwanted emotions particularly if connected to a trauma or a history of abuse please also seek out a suitably qualified professional. If you are unsure on how to find such help do contact me directly and I will do my best to steer you in the right direction.
There are times when we experience emotion and need to set it aside in the moment in order to deal with a situation in the here and now. The following ideas are a useful way of managing your emotion however do remember you may need to return to this emotion later to process it further.
This approach is based on the NLP approach of “state management”. The basic idea revolves around changing three responses.
Firstly check your breathing. When we become upset, angry or afraid our breathing alters in response, for example it may become shallow, rapid and high in the chest. By consciously breathing more fully we can stabilise our system by re-balancing the ratio of oxygen in the blood stream. This has a positive impact on our whole system at a biochemical level.
Secondly we need to relax and change the posture. In response to emotion we tend to tense up this also has a biochemical effect so by releasing tension we again balance the system.
Finally notice the focus of your internal dialogue, usually when stressed we are saying unhelpful and negative things to ourselves. Change our internal dialogue to more helpful questions and comments, for example “what do I need to do next?” or “I can handle this”.
The combination of these three elements helps to manage emotions very quickly in the moment however as already mentioned it is important to ensure that if the emotion is linked to a recurring trigger.
The next approach to consider is journaling. This is a simple and yet very effective way to process emotion. Recently research reported in “New Scientist” has supported the value and success of this approach.
Writing our emotional experience down in a journal helps us to dissociate from the issue by externalising it. All that is required is a general outpouring of the issue on paper.
An associated written technique revolves around writing a letter you do not post. Let me say that again, that you do not post! The idea here is to write a letter to a person you have an issue with saying all the things that would be unhelpful to say in reality. This would include fully expressing your emotions even if it gets a little abusive (this is why you don’t send the letter!). On completion of the letter, ceremoniously burn it. This is to symbolically let go of the issue and emotions.
Finally I would like to share with you one of my favourite techniques for improving your general health and well-being. I love this technique so much that I will mention it whenever I think of it!
For this technique write down five positive things or things/people you are grateful for every day. I came across this first on the Oprah Winfrey show years ago and have been recommending it ever since. I regularly get feedback from people telling me how much this simple technique has improved their lives!
I was delighted when in 2006 Seligman et al conducted a research project using this technique. The results were fantastic demonstrating what I already knew.
If you would like to join one of my programmes to help you deal with your own emotional baggage do read on about some opportunities we are offering later this year.
An approach we offer involves changing the way we process information using techniques from NLP and Hypnotherapy. Both of these approaches allow us to harness the power of the unconscious mind using imagery and symbolic metaphor. The big advantage to these approaches centres on the fact that it is unnecessary to examine the detail of childhood experiences in order to change. What we are doing is changing the way the brain processes information.
Most importantly learning and important strategies from childhood are preserved without the emotional load. This releases us to feel better about ourselves, improving self-esteem , well-being and resilience.
We are offering a number of opportunities for you to join us for both NLP and Hypnotherapy. For people new to NLP we are offering an opportunity to attend a free two day introduction to NLP, see the link below and follow the link for the NLP 101 workshop:
We offer NLP at Diploma, NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer’s Training level so even if you have started your NLP journey do consider continuing with us, for example on our Master Practitioner programme we look at topics such as personal identity and life’s purpose!
Hypnotherapy can allow people to change at a profound and deep level and harnesses the unconscious even more. If you would like training in this area you could join me in October. For this course NLP Practitioner is a pre-requisite. Follow the link below for more information: