Your chest constricts and your throat tightens, as that familiar rush of anxiety floods through your body, while you listen to the litany of harsh criticisms your boss has about you.
It feels as if your brain is being overwhelmed on this torrent of emotions right now. That is all you feel. You can’t focus on anything else, even if you want to.
At the back of your mind you know that you should not let it get to you. But in the heat of the moment it’s so incredibly difficult. You can’t think clearly. All you want to do is to react – even if you know that it could end up with disastrous consequences.
Feeling out of control, and spiraling into a cesspool of anxiety, pain and depression is easy when your emotions run high.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
After being controlled by emotions my entire life, an exasperating experience with a toxic boss forced me to realize something needed to change. I headed to the park one fateful Saturday night to meditate on what’s going on. It led me to unlock the keys to emotional mastery. And it changed my life forever.
Here are 3 simple steps to emotional mastery.
1. Activity to Clear the Head
When we are feeling overwhelmed with emotions, it’s very difficult to think objectively about the situation. Everything that we see is tinged by negativity.
The first step to mastering our emotions is to cool down so that the emotions do not overwhelm us. To do that, try doing something that clears your head. I find that moving meditation and walking mindfully works well.
A quick breathing technique can also be effective to calm you down. Try breathing in to the count of 4, holding for the count of 4, and release the breath to the count of 4. Do this several times to quickly calm down.
The point here is to get out of your mind, and into the present moment of your body. This focus helps to restore calm so that you can go forward with ease.
2. Work towards Detachment
Next, focus on being detached from the situation to the point where when you think about it, you do not feel overwhelmed. This enables you to approach this objectively, rather than having emotions cloud your judgment.
Whenever you feel that familiar rush of anxiety as your mind goes back to the situation, imagine a wave of crystal clear blue water pouring down. It goes from the top of your head, down to your feet, cleansing and washing away all negativity.
I usually do this a few times, until I no longer feel upset when I think about the situation. That is when I know I am detached enough to objectively look at what is happening, and turn this in a positive direction.
3. Going into the Pain and Asking Why
After feeling sufficiently detached from the situation, it’s time to dive into the pain. This helps us figure out what is really going on, and the steps we can take towards a positive outcome. I have found the following questions helpful in guiding me through this process.
- Why was I feeling this way?
- What are the triggers? Are there any patterns to it?
- Are there instances where what I am saying about this situation is not true?
- What do I want out of this situation?
- What do I need to do to get to what I want?
During the process of diving into the pain, negative feelings may crop up and threaten to overwhelm you again. Be gentle with yourself, back off from the questions, and breathe, before you dive back in again.
Implementing these 3 simple steps will give you a sense of freedom, as it lets you turn overwhelming negative energy into a positive direction.
Imagine transforming your anxiety and negativity into positive feelings and action. Where you are free to step forward and be who you truly are.