Controlling Your Emotional Energy
Posted by Todd Smith
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Have you ever noticed that when you are focused on something that is exciting, you can get by with less sleep and feel great? At the same time, have you noticed that when you are discouraged and depressed, you feel worn out and can sleep forever?
It’s real simple. When you think about positive things, your energy levels rise and your attitude improves. When you think about negative things, your energy levels drop and your attitude deteriorates.
As if your energy levels and attitude aren’t enough of a reason to focus on positive things, there are many other benefits, including being happier, experiencing less stress and anxiety, enjoying greater success, being more enjoyable to be around, and living a longer, healthier life.
While there will be times when bad things happen and controlling our emotions will be difficult, 99% of the negative things we experience on a daily basis are trivial and not worth the emotional drain that we allow ourselves to feel.
As an example, how do you feel…
- When you open the refrigerator door and something falls out and dumps all over the ground?
- When you call a company with a problem and none of their voicemail options addresses your problem and you can’t get to an operator?
- When a car behind you gets right up on your butt?
- When the child sitting at the table next to you won’t stop whining?
- When animals get into your trash and spread it all over the floor?
- When someone does not respond to your important email or text?
- When the airport security line is 45 minutes long?
- When the car in front of you suddenly puts on the brakes to turn and doesn’t use its turn signal?
- When the shopper in front of you is laughing and talking to the store clerk and no one seems to care that you are waiting?
- When people throw trash out their car windows?
- When someone cuts you off while you are driving?
- When your food is delivered to your table cold and your waiter is nowhere to be found?
- When you notice a small tear in the new shirt you just purchased?
- When people talk obnoxiously loud on their cell phones in public places?
- When you see parents screaming at their kids?
Do I need to go on?
It’s inevitable. These types of things happen. When they do, we have a choice to make. We can either shrug them off or we can focus on them.
If you want to start taking control of your emotions, here are my top three tips:
1. Be aware of your emotions. For most of my life, I would allow these types of things to aggravate me, and it all happened at the subconscious level. Now I am keenly aware of all the little things that impact my emotions throughout the day, and by being aware of them and understanding them, I am beginning to successfully control my emotional energy.
2. Take control of how you respond. When things happen that frustrate or aggravate you, remind yourself that you, and you alone, are in control of your emotions. You can choose to allow what’s happened to negatively impact you or you can choose not to.
When something starts to raise my blood pressure, I remind myself that how I feel is my choice. While these types of things still affect me, the intensity of my reaction is far less severe. I find that within 15 seconds I can usually shrug off the things that used to aggravate me. Often, I will say to myself, “Don’t let this upset you. What’s the right solution?” If the solution is just cleaning up the glass of juice I just spilled on the floor, then I just clean it up without any negative self-talk.
3. Change what you think about. One of the most important things to remember as you go through life is, where your attention goes, so goes your emotional energy. If I’m behind a car going 10 MPH under the speed limit, I will say, “Todd, there is nothing you can do to change the driver in front of you, so back off, relax, take a deep breathe and wait patiently.” I will then immediately change my thoughts to something productive, like a call I need to make or a project that needs my attention.
The next time you start to get frustrated about your co-worker who has a bad attitude, be grateful that it is not you that has the bad attitude, and then turn your attention to something more useful.
I realize I just touched the tip of the iceberg on this important subject. What types of things have worked for you in controlling your attitude and emotional energy? Please share your insights in the comments section below this post.
Oftentimes it’s the small trivial things that we can’t do anything about that kills our attitude and zaps our emotional energy. Take control of how you feel, by taking control of what you think about.
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