Whenever someone asks us to describe ourselves in 30 seconds as in an elevator speech, we tend to think of ourselves in terms of our accomplishments, hobbies or what we do for a living. Very rarely do we describe ourselves as Happy and Joyful beings – which is the true essence of who we are. Yes, it is important to project ourselves in terms of what we do depending on the situation. To be successful in a social context we have to market our skills, so that others get a sense of our capabilities. All that is fine and needs to done.
As human beings we should acknowledge that we have four dimension to our being – mind, body, emotions and energy. When these four aspects are not aligned or nurtured properly everything else falls to the ground like a pack of cards. The very foundation of our success depends on the well-being of these four dimensions of who we are. Meaning – our mind is calm, emotions are pleasant, body is healthy and energies are in full flow.
In our attempt to be happy, we endeavor to look for it outside and remain ignorant that it is all within us. Emotions plays a very dominant role in our life. We do things because we “feel” good about them. Emotions is what play a crucial role in our daily interactions with society and decide the course of our day depending on how we are feeling at every moment in time. We experience the day as “crappy” if we are irritable and frustrated or as “fantastic” if we are feeling happy.
The nature of emotions is very volatile. One moment it can make us feel as if we are at the top of the world and the next moment it can drag us down in the dumps. It takes us on a roller coaster ride excepting that our current situation is such that the highs are momentary and our lows are elongated. That is because we don’t know how to manage our emotions.
As we are always looking externally for happiness we tend to ascribe our joys to either objects – like purchasing a house or car – or a person – as in falling in love, or accomplishment of a goal – perhaps a promotion. Therefore, when these external factors don’t favor us we tend to get ourselves into a turmoil. It is like being given a carrot or a stick for everything we do in life.
However, these very same emotions add color to our life. If we did not have this dimension to us, life would seem dry, dull and perhaps listless. For example, the experience of a sunset, colorful trees, spectacular scenes of nature, being on beach, spending time with loved ones, helping others in need etc have a big emotional component to it. It is hard to imagine going through life without this dimension of our existence.
Yes, we are emotional beings but at the same time we do not know how to manage our emotions. It is mostly the dark side of emotion that we fail to manage. We tend to give into frustration, irritation, anger and a whole host of other negative feelings very easily. This has become a well exercised bad habit. The negativity creates turmoil in our mind and body causing a lot of unnecessary mental chatter from which we get no respite, unless we learn how to manage our feelings. Understanding that joy, peace and well-being is our true nature is a important step towards not relying on external stimulus to bring happiness.
Here are a some first steps to become aware of our emotion and some ways to manage them
1) Employing mindfulness technique is beneficial to become aware of our thoughts and emotions throughout the day – not just during emotional high and lows. Becoming conscious of this can help reduce our negative reactions to unpleasant situations
2) It is very well known that practicing Yoga makes us peaceful and joyful. Adding yoga to our daily routine helps us stay calm, collected and happy.
3) Our body is complex chemical soup. Eating nutritious food that has the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidant, good carbohydrates and protein give the body what it needs to function at it best. The first step to a peaceful mind and joyful emotions is a healthy body.
4) Take some time daily to reflect on some of the actions you took in various situations and see if you could have managed them better. If the answer is yes, then identify the triggers that cause the emotion to be out of your control. Visualize how you would have “responded” to the same situation verses “reacting” to it. This makes you conscious of the triggers of your emotional states.
5) Take a walk outside and be in the natural elements as often as you can. Being in nature brings calmness and relaxation.
6) Listening to soothing music has a calming effect on the mind and emotions.
If you want enjoy this life to the hilt and increase your happiness quotient then you have no choice but to learn to manage your emotions. It is all in YOUR control.
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