Emotional mastery puts you in the driver’s seat of life. Emotions play a significant role in our interpersonal relationships, careers, physical health, mental wellbeing and so much more.
Unfortunately, you cannot become a master of your emotions overnight. Getting there takes time. The good news is that emotional mastery is a learned skill and you can get better at it with practice.
So, how can you develop emotional mastery?
Below are 10 keys to emotional mastery.
To listen to the podcast on this topic, hit play below, or read on for more…
It may seem obvious but you will be surprised to learn how easy it is to just let emotions come and go without being fully aware of them. Becoming aware of emotions while they occur or soon after is important. Lacking awareness of emotions makes it difficult to stop yourself from blindly reacting to what the emotions tell you (within reason).
Dealing with emotions is important. Do not suppress emotions or bury them deep inside your mind. Suppressed emotions tend to hit harder later on. So, try not to suppress your emotions. You should also avoid blindly accepting your emotions.
Emotions must be investigated. Identify the categories of emotions and think about how you will deal with these emotions.
Emotions can quickly spiral out of control. When you are aware of strong emotions, hit the PAUSE BUTTON.
You may have to refrain from acting impulsively. The reason you want to react quickly is it helps to ease tension from your emotions. However, pausing before you act will give some needed time to think about what is happening and consider how you should react.
Train yourself for non-action rather than action and become curious about your emotions.
Below is a quote from Viktor Franki that emphasizes the importance of pausing when you feel strong emotions:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Once you have mastered awareness and have implemented the pause if experiencing strong emotions, the next step is to BREATHE.
Just breathe. Inhale….and exhale.
Intentional breathing is important because intense emotions trigger our Sympathetic Nervous System. They switch on the fight or flight response, which leads to an increased heart rate, muscle tightness and the release of cortisol. These physiological reactions are usually unnecessary in this day and age. They can even do harm over long periods of time, which is why you need to breathe.
Breathing reacts to the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This helps to reduce the effects of the Sympathetic Nervous System by decreasing stress levels and engaging the Prefrontal Cortex. Once engaged, your Prefrontal Cortex helps you to focus better on handling the situation with an appropriate reaction, assisting you with your goal of obtaining emotional mastery.
When you are able to consider your emotions thoughtfully you can determine an appropriate response that serves your best long-term interest (survival), thanks to your internal emotional guidance system.
Emotions exist with the purpose to keep us ALIVE. Without emotions, it is difficult to determine right from wrong and to understand how we should react in any given circumstance.
Positive emotions let us know we are on the right path while negative emotions let us know we are on the wrong path. You have to appreciate your emotional guidance system – it is doing a lot to make sure you are safe, happy and healthy.
5. Meaning – Initial and Reframe
To understand the message behind our emotions, we must first understand their meaning. Here is a four-step process to help reframe the meaning of your emotions:
Step 1 – Is the trigger of the emotions real or imaginary?
Step 2 – Identify the categories of the emotions (fear, anger, guilt)?
Step 3–What is the initial meaning of the emotion?
For example, fear usually means potential harm while feeling overwhelmed means you are overloaded there is too much on your to do list!
Step 4 – If you discover the meaning of the emotions are incorrect, you must reframe the meaning or change the meaning so that it serves your best interests long-term. Ask yourself: What else could these emotions mean? Follow this by asking yourself this question – How do I want to feel?
The key here is to decide on a positive meaning. Remember, you are in control of your emotions!
6. Decide and Take Action
How can you decide what is the best action to take following strong emotions?
Usually, you have three options. You can either modify your behavior, modify how you communicate your emotions to others, or you just… let it go. All three are viable options.
Your Prefrontal Cortex will use its reasoning abilities to help determine the best action to take under the circumstances.
The next time you experience intense emotions, take some time to gain clarity of the long-term outcome you wish to accomplish. With your objective in mind, decide what action to take in response to your emotions.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of the best course of action for some of life’s most intense emotions:
7. Cultivate Top 10 Positive Emotions
Wouldn’t it be great if you could learn to cultivate positive emotions regularly?
Well, you can – you just need to start pushing out negative emotions to make room for positive emotions.
Let’s assume you want to feel more grateful for things in your life. To do this, you need to focus on what you have instead of what you do not have. Cultivating feelings of gratitude by a habit of expressing appreciation and also keep a gratitude journal!
Here are some more ways you can cultivate positive emotions:
8. Physiology: Sleep & Exercise
Regular exercise will help bring you a step closer to emotional mastery. Exercise elates your mood, increases your energy level and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Yoga is an excellent form of exercise known to relieve stress, which is perfect if you do not want to do strenuous exercise. When you exercise, various neurotransmitters are released including endorphins and cortisol which impact overall mood and emotions.
Recommended: 150 minutes of cardio and 2 days of strength training per week
Another great way to help develop emotional mastery is sleep. If you do not get enough sleep at night, you tend to be moody the next day. You might even become less empathetic and less friendly. When you get a good night’s sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Recommended: Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night and keep to a routine.
We have the power to alter the structure of our brains. The architectural structure of our brain evolves through our lifetime. The brain’s ability to form new neural connections during a person’s lifetime is called Neuroplasticity.
With practice, you can gradually rewire your brain, creating new connections form new habits to instill and strengthen (or weaken) existing habits.
Ways this can be achieved:
- Social interactions
- Mental stimulation
- Develop purpose in life
The last step to help develop emotional mastery is mindset. Your mindset develops as a result of your direct experience or by the experience of others.
Mindset is in the form of beliefs, instincts, and cognitive biases. Our mindset holds the key to our emotional mastery:
Stimulus > Mindset > Emotion
If you learn to focus your mindset on the ‘right’ things, you will be better equipped to achieve emotional mastery. When something bad happens, it is easy to immediately embrace a negative mindset. When training your brain using neuroplasticity to rewire it you can learn to produce positive emotions when ‘bad’ things happen.
It takes practice and patience, but if you dedicate yourself to your goal of mastering your emotions, you will get better and better at it.
10 Day Mental Diet Challenge!
Now that you know how to develop emotional mastery, it is time to put everything you learned into action!
Take the 10 Day Mental Diet Challenge – a simple challenge to help you practice positive mindset and eradicate negative emotions.
- You must refuse to dwell on resourceful thoughts or feelings for the next 10 consecutive days. IS this correct?
- If you find yourself almost giving into the negative, snap yourself out of it!
- Reframenegative thoughts into positive thoughts.
- Develop a morning ritual to get in a peak emotional stateeach day.
- Focus on solutions, not problems!
- …if you have a hiccup, start over!
This 10 Day Mental Diet Challenge is designed to help you…
- Become acutely aware of all the habitual mental and emotional patterns that hold you back.
- Train your brain to search for empowering alternatives.
- Develop an incredible sense of confidence, you will see that you can turn your life around in an instant.
- Create new habits, new standards, and new expectations that will help you expand more than you would ever believe.
You can access even more of Rich’s winning strategies for life and business in his book, Crisitunity, available for free right now.