Last week, I took a quick (and cold!) post-class stroll and overheard a man letting loose into his cell phone. I wasn’t sure what caused him to go from 0-60, but the result was a loud and frantic booming voice that was surely shaking up its intended audience even more than it did the strangers around him. I began thinking about the ways emotions can take over and lead us into “more” of whatever we are feeling. This feels wonderful when happiness swells into elation, but when fear becomes full-blown anxiety or annoyance becomes rage, the effects are brutal–on bodies, relationships, minds, spirits and even our environment.
I see the effects of emotions all of the time in the studio. The mind that is somewhere else, the often upbeat practitioner who comes in with slumped shoulders, the wet eye that keeps the tear just beneath the lower lid. Many of us are taught that showing emotions is a sign of flippancy or weakness, when in reality, emotions are truly our source of self expression. The problem comes in when there is an imbalance; too much or too little acknoweledged or expressed.
Today, I wanted to share five ways to help keep emotions from overtaking you.
Feel the energy. We are all living things and everything on the earth is energetic. When you see yourself and those around you as their truest source (energy) you can decide how much of yours you will hand over and accept that the person in front of you may not be a “bad” person, they are just surrounded in negative energy and you can choose to help diffuse it or take a step back. Not personalising energy is a fantastic way to help stay calm, and the more you tune into it, the more your relationships will blossom.
Stretch and breathe. Whether at work or before a workout, take 3-5 minutes to close your eyes and breathe deeply and fully. Sit up straight, pull your shoulders back and allow yourself to stretch and move without judgement. Doing this in a quiet space or a natural one (such as a park) is great, but if the only place you can do this is in the loo, so be it.
Make the class. I say this not only because I own a studio, but because exercise releases endorphins, lowers level of Cortisol (the stress hormone) and brings a sense of accomplishment to our day. It’s OK to do something for you.
Choose your experience. This one can be difficult when you’re feeling revved up, but hear me out; when you’re sitting in the middle of a tense meeting with a stern boss, you can choose to stay silent and feel your perceived injustice or decide to focus on your breathing and treat this time as a moment to let him or her “get it all out” and choose to address it when a bit of time has passed and you have space to gather your thoughts.
Enter a healthy cycle. When we sleep well, hydrate and eat healthy foods, we feel and function better. It’s much easier to stay balanced when you are not fighting hunger, sleep deprivation, a hangover or bloat and gas from last night’s overindulgence.
Finally, Tap into the power of forgiveness. We are all human which means we will lose our tempers, miss the class, cry when we don’t want to, say things we shouldn’t and make the same mistake more than we should. The point is not to be perfect, but to do our best and to forgive ourselves and others and give a meaningful apology when we fumble out-of-bounds.
Do you feel you have a healthy emotional response? What could you do better?