I used to be a crier. I would cry at nearly everything, and the smallest of things. I wouldn't be able to confront another person about a problem or issue without my eyes welling up with tears - whether it be an argument I had with my boyfriend or a family member, issues I was having with school (back in the day) or more recently with work, or even in my social life. I would sometimes let things get me down so much that I would cry myself to sleep, or spend my day in bed watching movies and not facing the world.
You see the issue with being negatively emotional i.e. angry, mad, upset, is that it is exhausting and draining. A constant feeling of exhaustion, can have a roll on affect to your physical and mental capabilities, will impact in your work, relationships and overall lifestyle. Which eventually can have long term affects on your physical and mental health.
I eventually got to a point where I was just completely drained, like someone had sucked all the life out of me. On top of that I was embarrassed! Embarrassed that every time that I was being given constructive feedback in a professional environment, or if I had to confront someone or have an uncomfortable conversation, I would cry! I knew that one day I wanted to be a bad ass business woman and ain't nobody going to be taking me seriously if I couldn't hold face! Even if I wasn't taking the criticism to heart, I still couldn't stop the tears welling up in my eyes! What was wrong with me? I didn't see everyone else bursting into tears at the smallest thing.
One day I just decided enough was enough and I wanted to be happy and squeeze as much out of my days/life as possible. It's a cliched saying, but it's true that happiness is a choice. It's a decision that needs to be exercised every single day, it's part of your life journey and who you decide to be.
So I want to share with you today, some pieces of advice, tips and tricks I have picked up over the last couple of years, that have helped me strengthen my emotional resilience. Now I'm not saying I've turned myself into a Miranda Priestly and am not capable of feeling emotion, or able to sympathise and empathise with people. It's more that I am now capable of resolving issues logically in order to be able to put them behind me, and continue on with my bad arse self.
1) STOP! ...BREATHE IN 2,3,4,5 BREATHE OUT 2,3,4,5.
It's true, breathing really does help. It gives you a chance to process what is happening and calm your emotions, sometimes even before they get a chance to start flying all over the place. Breathe in, count to five and breathe out count to five. Repeat this and see if you can increase your counts to eight and then to 10. When you do this exercise make sure you stop what you are doing and just focus on your breathing. Don't text your BFF, or construct an email that is capable of getting someone fired. Just stop and breathe.
2) LISTEN WITH AN INTENT TO HEAR, NOT TO ANSWER.
You are in the middle of a confrontation with someone. You're right, you know you're right! And you're adamant that the other person is wrong. You have all your comeback ammo ready to fire at whatever they say. Then as soon as they make a point, BANG! You shoot them down.
Ok lets stop for a second. Why is this person arguing with you? What is it they are talking about or why is there an issue that needed to be brought up? Stop the defensive thoughts running through your head and listen to what they are saying. You know, they might actually be telling you something that could benefit you and your personal development. Or you might find you can actually empathise with this person. Empathy will defuse the situation, making it easier to logically work through to a resolution together. Ultimately a conversation should be about the ideas spoken not the about the ego's involved.
3) GIVE YOURSELF A TIMELINE TO BE ANGRY
Anger is a normal emotion. It's only human to have feelings of anger, sadness and frustration arise. This is ok, it's ok to get really really pissed off! We aren't talking about blocking these emotions out totally so you just become a stone woman. It's about dealing with them in a way that doesn't manifest itself and take over your life.
So something has happened that has really pissed you off and made your blood boil. Give yourself five, 10 or even 20 minutes to be angry. Scream, swear, cry, let it all out. But say to yourself, ok I will give myself 15 minutes of madness, but then I have to get over it. Just get over it and move on. I wouldn't suggest giving yourself more than 20min, because then it could manifest into something more. Negative emotions are ok but you don't want to live on them.
4) STOP TALKING ABOUT IT
The only reason you should be talking about the issue at hand is 1) to get it off your chest or 2) to be finding a resolution. Continually talking about a situation in a negative way will only let it manifest and grow into something bigger than it is, it gives you a reason to dwell on the situation and find reasons for your anger. It's actually pretty impossible to hold onto the feeling of anger for longer than half an hour. The only reason why we manage to stay angry for longer is because we keep finding reasons to justify our anger. Again, give yourself a timeline to vent about it to someone, and then find a resolution, let it go and move on.
5) YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS
Just remember you is a bad arse bitch who is better than this. It's water off a ducks back, you can resolve any issue that comes your way, and continue to move forward. Your experiences should make you smarter and stronger with each passing day.
I hope you found this advice as useful as I do. I'm Interested to hear about how you deal with uncontrollable, unreasonable emotions? Tell us in the comments below.