LEARNING TO PRACTISE EMOTIONAL SELF-MANAGEMENT
I had already made the connection that whenever I stepped out of the hairdressers or was wearing one of my favourite outfits (because of its colour, the flattering cut and the way my body moved in it easily) I instantly felt much more confident and upbeat and things seemed to fall into place more easily. However, it was the work of Gregg Braden, the renowned author, scientist and spiritual teacher, that allowed me to develop a much deeper understanding of the role that emotions and feelings play in our life and how they contribute to the manifestation process.
Gregg introduced me to the concept that what happens inside the human body (the emotions we create), has power to change our experience of life and the events that play out in our outer world. Inspired by his work, I made a practise of becoming mindful of how I felt moment-to-moment. By doing so, I became more aware of how the quality of the feelings I was experiencing impacted me physically, emotionally and mentally and influenced how I responded.
For example, I noticed that whenever I experienced uplifting emotions I felt physically well, calm, more centred and focused. Where as in the moments that I felt stressed, depressed or fearful, my mind went into overwhelm and I couldn’t think clearly. My mind chatter increased, causing me to jump to all kinds of assumptions and conclusions. I missed important details and became forgetful. I was more inclined to overreact and say things that I’d regret later or clam up completely. My body became tense and I often developed headaches. Despite feeling exhausted and drained, I had trouble sleeping.
By becoming mindful of my emotions, I was also able to discern the physical, emotional and mental triggers that caused a shift in the type and intensity of emotions I experienced. For example, when I began incorporating activities that I loved into my life, like sitting in the park knitting and listening to inspirational lectures, I felt happy and upbeat. Then when I returned to my house, which carried with it 17 years worth of memories of shattered dreams; a marriage that had ended in divorce, a renovation that had ended in a legal battle, a business that had resulted in severe financial loss, just to name a few, it was like a dark cloud hit me. I realised that my house was a trigger that significantly impacted my emotions. Waking up alone in a cold, dark, ‘building site’ set my mood for the day.
Rather that letting our emotional state or external triggers that influence how we feel control our lives, Gregg believes that we can intentionally choose the feelings that course through our bodies. He encouraged me to redirect my focus inward and practice what he calls emotional self-management whenever I found myself getting caught up in the stories playing out in my mind or trying to control what was occurring in my outer world. Emotional self-management involves creating a connection between the brain and the heart (known as heart-brain coherence) and then intentionally activating and flooding the body with restorative feelings such as compassion, gratitude, appreciation and kindness.
Gregg taught me a simple yet effective technique to quickly bypass my mind (with all its fears and negative self-talk), connect with my heart and then move into a heart-centred emotional state of being. Evoking restorative feelings caused an instantaneous shift in my emotional state and after a few moments I was in a state of pure bliss. Gregg encouraged me to develop the ability to generate such feelings on demand so that whenever I experienced particularly stressful situations it would help me bring my emotions back to a more balanced state.
Another useful tool that Gregg introduced me to was the innovative bio-feedback technology called Inner Balance, developed by the Institute of HeartMath. I purchased Inner Balance and began using it for 10 -15 minutes on a daily basis. Inner Balance consists of a pulse sensor and downloadable app especially designed for smart devices. The sensor, which attaches to the users earlobe and connects to their phone or tablet, measures heart rate variability. The app interprets the quality of the users heart rhythm and provides simple prompts and feedback through it’s digital display and chimes on the level of ‘heart-brain coherence’ achieved. This allows users to identify and sustain the quality of feelings that are associated with health, well-being and longevity.
By becoming conscious of how I felt with the assistance of Inner Balance and intentionally cultivating uplifting and restorative feelings into my day-to-day life, I found that overall I was more emotionally buoyant, centred, open and relaxed. Whenever I experienced a particularly stressful situation, rather than reacting from a state of anxiety or overwhelm, I was able to quickly bring my emotions back to a more balanced state and respond in a calm and effective manner.
Gregg also gave me some invaluable advice when it came to decision making. Rather than using the logic of my conscious mind he encouraged me to make all my decisions from a heart-centred state of being. Gregg believes that when you weigh up the pros and cons you unconsciously stack your answer in favour of what you fear. However, when you assess the situation from a heart-centred place, he says, you omit the filters of judgement, fear, bias or past experience. Your heart cuts through to the core of your deepest truth.
I’ve found Gregg’s advice particularly useful when I find myself falling into old self-sabotaging patterns of behaviour or when I’m uncertain as to which direction to take. By moving into a heart-centred emotional state and asking myself the question – What is best for my wellbeing in this situation? – I am able to receive a clear answer that feels right for me.
Following through on decisions made by my heart rather than my logical mind wasn’t easy at first and a challenge I needed to overcome. Even though deep down the decision felt right, a lot of fear came up when I began to assess the decision from a logical point of view. Practising emotional self-management helped to placate the fear based feelings and allowed me to follow through on my heart-centred decision.
When things began to turn out for the best whenever I followed through on a heart-centred decision, I sat up and took notice. This rarely happened whenever I made logical decisions. It seemed as if some sort of resistance occurred. I often experienced setbacks or needed to work hard in order to make what I wanted to happen, happen. Yet, regardless of how illogical my heart based decisions seemed to be they came together quite effortlessly.
The more I followed my heart centred decisions the more things began to flow in my life and the more I began to trust the process. As a result, I have developed a heightened sense of intuition. I can sense when things feel right and when they don’t. I am also more easily able to discern the people, environments, situations and objects that support, empower and nourish me and those that don’t. As a consequence, I now find decision making easy. I’m more relaxed. I’m more present. I’m more confident. I’m more fun to be around.
My new state of being hasn’t gone unnoticed by others. In fact, time and time again people have commented that they feel better whenever I am around. That has never happened before. I’ve notice that people now treat me differently. Unlike the past, they now express their appreciation and gratitude for who I am and what I contribute to their lives. They are kinder and more compassionate. All the feelings that I have been embodying are now being reflected back to me by others. It’s a nice place to be.Keep Reading Chapter 5