I recently heard the statement “use your emotions to drive you into motion”. This phrase kept playing over in my head and I began to wonder how often we actually use our emotions to our advantage.
One definition that I found states that emotions can be defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior. I think we would all agree that emotions are complex. I believe that it is all too common for people to suppress their emotions. Some emotions are uncomfortable, and we don’t want to deal with them or their cause, so we avoid them. This can result in behaviors that are not beneficial and will not help us reach our goals. Have you ever been angry, felt lonely, or overwhelmed? Those are generally not feelings we like to sit with and think about so instead we may try to eat pleasurable foods in order to boost our moods and “make ourselves feel better”. Often our attempts at “instant gratification” do not change the cause of the emotion.
I believe we need to increase our emotional awareness. Emotions are energy in motion within us. They are an internal feedback system. The goal is to be able to use these emotions to our advantage rather than let them weigh us down. When an uncomfortable emotion arises, take a minute and do some deep breathing and allow yourself to notice what you are actually feeling. Next, name the emotion. Once you acknowledge what the emotion is you are better able to manage it. Finally, you need to talk yourself through the emotion and reassure yourself. Decide how you want this emotion to dictate your day. Can it be a motivation for action and change for the good? Or will it overcome you and stagnate your direction and goals. Denial does not change things – action does. Even the action of owning the emotion is motion forward. By using your emotions in perspective, you can experience positive changes that will bring you closer to your goals.