Creating emotional space - thinking about the stuff we don't think about
The final part of my 'Creating Space Series' was 'Creating Emotional Space'. This followed weeks dedicated to each of the following areas; creating mental space, creating physical space and creating financial space.
What I shared on Instagram was...
Emotions are how we feel about what we think, how we behave, what’s going on around us, and what’s happening to us. I’ve struggled with my emotions a lot over the years and for the first time in a while, it’s been reoccurring over the last few weeks too. I’ve been triggered by seemingly insignificant things and it’s caused me to close down and retreat, which is usually the opposite of what we actually want to do (deep down).
So, my challenge this week is for you (and me) to look within and start noticing the emotions we have and our responses to things/events/actions and identify what caused/is causing the emotional response. My suggested steps are:
❣️ Notice the negative emotion
❣️ Identify what caused it (your action, someone’s action)
❣️ Outline what you want to feel instead (a more positive emotion)
❣️ Take action to eliminate/minimise the event/action happening again that caused the emotion
❣️ At the end of the day, when you’re journaling, reflect on how you felt throughout the day, what was good and what not so good. What intention can you set for the next day?
This exercise doesn’t need to be long or time consuming. However, the more often we do it, the easier it will be to move through the steps and the easier it will be to start eliminating/minimising things, events, or even people from our life that don’t create positive and happier emotions that serve us.
Emotions are a part of us and the more aware of them we can be, the more space, calm and peace we can create in our lives. We control how we feel and we control how we respond, but in order to do that effectively we need to be aware of what our emotions actually are and what triggers them.
This week was particularly interesting, I had a tough situation arise at work. On the first day, I handled it so much better than I would have in the past. Throughout the interaction, I was getting frustrated and agitated, so I tried to practice being present and mindful in the moment. I tried to really pay attention to what was happening, what was being said and then took a few deep breaths and managed to convey my views and thoughts in a way that was clear and reasonable.
I can't say the same happened a few days later in a similar situation, I got so frustrated that I festered on it for hours and drove myself into a frenzy. That's reality though isn't it? We don't always have our emotions or feelings in check but the more we can become aware of them and practice the act of mindfulness and slowing down, the more control we can have over how the emotion plays out and then impacts the rest of our day or week.
Other thoughts I had this week that led to mixed emotions:
Comparison and annoyed - compared myself to a girl at barbell class (weightlifting) and then annoyed at myself for comparing!! (annoying brain)
Stress and irritated - trying to handle a situation that didn't quite go the way I had hoped
Emotions are part of who we are and we can't stop having them, but what we can do is become more aware of them and create more space within them. In the situations above, I made an effort to bring myself back to the moment I was in to recognise how I could change what I was feeling.
It's not always easy to create space when you're in a heated, uncomfortable or stressful situation, so it's a good start to practice noticing and understanding your emotions when you're alone. To get started go through these steps:
Notice the negative emotion
Identify what caused it (your action, someone’s action)
Outline what you want to feel instead (a more positive emotion)
Take action to eliminate/minimise the event/action happening again that caused the emotion
At the end of the day, when you’re journaling, reflect on how you felt throughout the day, what was good and what not so good. What intention can you set for the next day?
Other thoughts I had this week that led to good emotions that I didn't want to change were:
Proud and happy - for nailing my speaking requirement at the Auckland HR Meetup and then pride and happiness for Kyle nailing his speaking event!
Happy and content - social Saturday with friends, dinner, drinks, and laughs
Overwhelmed - by how much I want to achieve
Excited - by how much I CAN and WILL achieve
Will you spend some time this week creating some emotional space? If we change even one thought and create just a little bit of new space within, we will notice a huge difference.
I only took a small step into this area for this week, I'm going to dive deeper into this area and the other three from this series in my upcoming programme. If you're interested in joining or learning more about it, you can sign up here.