Every feeling begins with an external stimulus, whether it’s what someone said or a physical event. That stimulus generates an unfelt emotion in the brain, which causes the body to produce responsive hormones. These hormones enter the bloodstream and create feelings, sometimes negative and sometimes positive.
So, it’s stimuli, then emotions, then hormones, and, finally, feelings. In other words, your emotions impact your behavior by creating certain feelings which make you act or react in certain ways. This process can occur within as little as six seconds.
Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to your emotions, especially the emotions that may make us behaves in ways that are unfriendly to ourselves and people around us such as anger, sadness, and depression.
With knowledge, we may not be able to determine the emotions we experience at all times but we can learn to control how they affect our behavior.
Below are ways by which you leverage emotions to your advantage:
1. Label your emotions
It is important to identify what emotion you are experiencing per time, whether is a friendly emotion like happiness or an unfriendly one like sadness. This will help me know what action to take next.
2. Determine your triggers for unfriendly emotions
What tips do you have? Is it when your team loses a football match or when you are being micromanaged at work? Ability to identify your triggers will help to know how to manage them.
3. Develop coping mechanisms
You can take a walk, sleep, talk to a friend, count 1 to 30, or listen to upbeat music. These will help you cope with difficult emotions.
4. Practice gratitude
Make it a habit to always look at the brighter side. Whenever you are feeling angry, depressed, or sad, imagine that things could have been worse. This will help you to think positively and be grateful.
5. Focus on what is working
As humans, we tend to focus on areas where we are not doing well. This leaves us deflated and upset. Learn to focus on the things that are working and you will find yourself feeling positive.