Rarely do my kids leave me speechless, but my 5 year old stunned me today.
We were just hanging out and he says “mom….do we control our emotions or do our emotions control us?”
Well hello little Socrates.
Clearly, this kid’s parents are coaches.
The answer is indeed that we control our emotions. But we rarely take advantage of this fact.
Usually, we believe that our emotions are beyond our control. They are not.
In all fairness I’ll insert a caveat for mental illness. There are times when the feelings are overwhelming. But there are still some takeaways here, so please keep reading.
So how do we control our emotions?
**We intentionally create space between stimulus and reaction.***
When your boss is a jerk, your husband is out late, your kids are fighting, the bill collector calls, when all of life’s stuff comes at you…..you pause.
You take a beat and decide how you want to feel.
Let’s play this out.
Let’s talk about money. I grew up insecure about money and it’s been something I have had to work on. So I have some good examples here.
I get really uptight about vacation spending.
I want to plan a vacation for the fall. Right now everything is CRAZY expensive.
I feel defeated and want to just cancel any vacation plans for this year.
But if I create space, what I really want to feel is excited about a vacation.
So I pause. To feel excited I need to choose thoughts that align with that. Because right now, spending this much feels irresponsible, not exciting.
When I pause I can actually see a lot of options. I can choose to think:
1. There may be other locations that are more affordable
2. What if I think that the vacation is actually worth the increased price after all?
#2 is intriguing. How did I decide what the ‘right’ price for a vacation was in the first place??
I used historical data.
Well…..that is actually quite laughable. I want prices to stay the same forever but that’s not realistic. Obviously NOTHING stays the same.
So when I choose to think that the vacation is worth the current market price I start to feel better. I start to see that while it still may cost a higher % of my earnings than last year, it is still worth that and I can afford it. I was just being rigid.
I sit with this for a little while and let the thought travel all the way through my body.
My mind and my body need to be in the same page.
And boom….there’s the excitement.
So let’s recap.
In all circumstances, you can choose how you want to feel and find the thoughts that get you there.
My answer to Reid is confirmed—we control our emotions, they do NOT control us.
Together, we practice these types of mental shifts in personal and business coaching.
Can you imagine how many things could change when you purposefully apply this type of mindset? A whole new world of opportunity opens up.
If you are curious about coaching with me, schedule a call to learn more.
In Happiness & Health,