I have a confession. While it seems glaring obvious now, it took me over forty years to realise that much of my discontent and unhappiness in life was due to acting out of habit, boredom, fear and guilt. It was only when I began ‘practising emotional selectivity’ and my life became more pleasurable and joyous that I truly understood the repercussions of being unconscious to my emotional needs.
Sadly, I’m not alone. Every day I encounter people who are miserable, mostly because they’re either unaware of their emotional needs or choose to ignore them, and instead make decisions based on what they feel they ‘should’ do’ or believe they ‘have’ to do, rather than what they ‘want’ or ‘desire’.
As discussed in my inner work post, learning to regulate how you feel moment to moment is the first step in creating and sustaining an elevated emotional state of being, which is critical for creating a more harmonious and joyous life.
So what exactly is emotional selectivity?
I define emotional selectivity as the practice of intentionally choosing calming and uplifting experiences over those that are stressful, emotionally draining or cause you to lose energy.
I found that by prioritising the things – people, places, activities, objects and nutrition – that enhanced my sense of wellbeing and uplifted my spirits, life became easier and much more enjoyable.
Sounds simple, right?
But for most, including myself, building a life around your emotional wellbeing is easier said than done. It takes time and very specific activities to pacify you anxiety, hone your emotional discernment skills and to develop new and more conscious patterns of behaviour.
Below, I provide insights into how I consciously influence my emotional state of being:
Imagineer your ultimate future
Developing an inspiring and emotionally charged vision for your future instantly, as mentioned in my Take Command of Your Thoughts post, elevates your mood by giving you something positive, yet tangible, to focus on. It instils hope.
If you require instructions on how to design, build and rehearse a vivid, heart-centred vision, my second workbook, Imagineer Your Ultimate Future, walks you through a powerful yet easy-to-follow process step by step.
Flood your body with restorative feelings
This process builds on the heart-focused breathing exercise from my How to Quieten Your Mind post.
Once you’ve shifted your awareness from your head to your heart by taking slow and deep heart-centred breaths, intentionally flood your body with restorative feelings such as compassion, gratitude, appreciation and kindness. To do so, you might recall nursing your newborn child or baby animal for the first time. Once you’ve embodied these powerful and self-nurturing emotions, continue to radiate them out through your heart to the world at large. With regular practice you will be able to generate restorative feelings on demand. This will be extremely useful when faced with stressful situations and will allow you to bring your emotions back to a more balanced state.
Embrace the things you love
Incorporating the things you love and are passionate about is important for consistently feeling emotionally buoyant and creating a healthy work-life balance. When you regularly lose yourself in fun activities that genuinely bring you joy, make you laugh, lift your spirits and give you immense pleasure, you set in motion a cascade of neurological, emotional and physiological responses that collectively reshape your outer world to reflect your inner experience.
Discover and embody your life’s calling
I built a life centred on all the things that I thought would make me happy – a secure and lucrative career, dream house, classic car, busy social life and designer things. By the time I was 28 I’d attained it all, yet I felt hollow and deeply unhappy. Marrying Prince Charming and starting a passion-centred business weren’t the answer either.
Being a logical person I went searching for what was ‘missing’. I changed career a number of times and spent thousands on books, seminars, workshops and retreats.
After searching high and low for more than 16 years I finally worked out that I would not be happy or attain genuine fulfilment until I identified and began to live my life’s purpose.
This ‘calling’ is a combination of your innate talents and qualities, the skills you’ve acquired throughout life and your unique life experiences (particularly the challenges) that allow you to serve others in a way that only you can. It’s this act of serving others that gives your life meaning.
Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life: A guide for uncovering your life’s calling to create a joyous, fulfilling and meaningful life is the workbook I created to help others to find their purpose. It contains five activities that take you through a total of 25 key questions and recommend a one-on-one consultation with a career direction specialist.
The 25 thought provoking questions are designed to help you establish:
- your skills and talents
- what you value most in life
- the type of person you desire to b
- the fields and activities that inspire you most
- where and how you are already innately displaying the qualities of your life’s purpose without being consciously aware of it.
Essentially the workbook is designed to give you both a subjective and objective approach for identifying your life’s calling. The 25 questions guide you to find the answers within, while the consultation offers an objective opinion from a professional who helps people understand their soul’s purpose and what they are here to teach others this lifetime.
This combination of the two approaches helps you to really own your purpose and gives you the confidence to go out and live it.
Things that make you feel good
How you predominantly feel on a day-to-day level influences what you experience in your outer world. So be conscious of the clothes you wear, the food you eat and how you treat your body. Below are some practices designed to shift your emotional set point.
Wear clothes that make you feel and look good. They must be comfortable to wear, suit your body type, feel good on your skin and you should feel empowered when wearing them.
For me, there is nothing better than going to the hair salon and being indulged. When I walk out with a great cut, colour and blow-dry I feel like I can take on the world. If you could do with a confidence boost, it’s worth investing in regular visits. When you look and feel good you’ll receive complements, giving you an extra spring in your step.
Many leading make-up brands offer a free makeover with purchase. I recommend taking advantage of this service, to top up your make-up kit and leave looking your very best. Use this time to learn how to achieve a similar look at home.
It is an accepted fact that you cannot function at your best physically, emotionally or mentally without good quality fuel for your body. Ideally food that is fresh, nutritious and varied, i.e. eat all the colours of the rainbow.
I’ve found that when I am stressed and feel like crap I tend to eat food that is not good for me, usually those high in sugar or low-quality carbohydrates. On a metaphysical level it’s believed that if you crave sweet food it’s because you have no sweetness in your life. I’ve also heard that the desire for alcohol is due to a disconnection with your spirit, your soul.
Speaking from personal experience, I became a teetotaller when I began doing inner work. I didn’t ever intend to give up drinking, it was something I enjoyed, but I found that I could no longer tolerate it. It’s not something I ever think about or miss on social occasions. The consumption of tea, coffee and chocolate are a whole other story, but I’m working on that.
As mentioned in my How to Quieten Your Mind post, mind-body exercise such as yoga or tai chi are excellent as they help you feel more centred and grounded. Walking is also very good for you and helps clear the mind. Dancing is loads of fun and great exercise.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what form of exercise you choose, what’s important is that it leaves you feeling great and it becomes part of your daily or weekly routine. Exercise that feels like a chore, while it may be physically good for you should be avoided, as you won’t be able to sustain it in the long run.
Humans have always included music as a part of their life and culture, and recent science confirms that music can actively change our body and mind reactions. For example, national anthems are synonymous for uniting people, and the right track will get an athlete into the perfect mindset for training. Classical music helps to calm your nerves and decrease your heart rate and anxiety.
I recommend you turn to music whenever you need a quick and effective emotional pick-me up.
Colour has a powerful effect on our emotions and can be used to correct imbalances or disharmony in the body. Exposure to coloured lights, massage using colour-saturated oils, visualising and contemplating colours, wear coloured clothing and eating coloured foods can be used to treat both physical and emotional problems. Cool colours (blue, indigo and violet) help to relax us while warm colours (red, orange and yellow) have an energising effect.
Thought to promote the flow of energy and help rid the body and mind of negative energy for physical and emotional benefits, crystals can be used to promote healing in many different ways including:
- potentiating essential oils
- amplifying and directing healing energies, emitted either by a therapist or pulsed electromagnetic field therapy mats
- crystal essences, which are similar to flower essences but made using crystals
- being worn on the body
- balancing chakras
Essential oils help enhance your state of wellbeing due to the fragrance they produce and their medicinal qualities. They can:
- enhance your mood
- alleviate stress, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, headaches
- aid digestion
- have antiseptic qualities
- balance your chakras
If you would like to know more about how essential oils can be used to balance your chakras you might enjoy reading Aromatherapy and Chakras: Balancing your body’s energy centres for optimal health and wellbeing by Salvatore Battaglia.
Homeopathic Remedies and Flower Essences
Unlike pharmaceuticals, which suppress symptoms, homeopathy and flower essences work to support and correct imbalances within the energy systems of the body.
Homeopathy is a holistic system for natural health care that has been in use for over 200 years. It is based on the idea that if a substance causes symptoms in a healthy person, tiny doses of the substance can treat the symptoms in someone who is unwell.
Homeopathy works with your body’s own healing powers to bring about health and wellbeing, using remedies that are gentle, subtle and powerful. Homeopathy can be used to treat symptoms at a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical level, and is beneficial for a variety of conditions, including: overall energy, mood and quality of sleep. They also help to resolve emotional imbalances and help people who suffer with depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Flower Essences are infusions made from the flowering part of a plant and can be used to harmonise emotional imbalances. The more commonly known brands include Bach Flower Remedies, Australian Bush Flower Essences and The Living Tree Orchid Essences. One of the more commonly known flower essence mixture is Rescue Remedy, which is an effective, all-natural stress and anxiety reliever.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine-based approach to treat a variety of conditions. It involves the insertion of fine, sterile, single-use, disposable needles into specific sites (acupuncture points) along the body’s energy pathways (meridians) to clear energy blockages and encourage the normal flow of energy, or Qi, through the body.
Osteopathy is a unique holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area. They use gentle manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, including soft tissue stretching, deep tactile pressure, and mobilisation or manipulation of joints. The osteopath does not heal, but encourages and enables the body’s own healing capacity. This is done removing blockages and reducing the immobility that hinders the healing process. After treatment, the body needs time to respond to the techniques. This is normally a gap of at least two weeks between treatments.
Massage and bodywork
Massage is believed to be the oldest form and most widely practised healing modality. It uses manual techniques for manipulating skin, muscles and connective tissue for relaxation and therapeutic purposes.
Bodywork is a term that broadly refers to therapies that use non-physical principles to release blocked energy in your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. For example, breathwork, visualisation, emotional release techniques, reiki, Theta Healing, acupressure, reflexology.
Time in the natural environment is good for the soul. It’s believed to lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, enhance immune function, reduce anxiety, improve mood, and speed the rate of healing. Fresh air, sunlight and moving water are particularly good as they emit negative ions that can neutralise free radicals, reducing some of the chemicals and other factors that decrease immunity and increase disease caused by our modern life.
Natural sunlight triggers the body’s production of vitamin D, a crucial ingredient for overall health that can protect against inflammation, lower high blood pressure, help muscle strength and function, improve brain function and potentially even protect against cancer. Exposure to sunlight is also highly beneficial for depression, seasonal affective disorder and sleep quality.
Take a warm bath
There are many benefits for taking a warm bath. Submerging in hot water relaxes tight muscles and helps calm the nervous system. A warm bath before bed helps instigate the production of melatonin, better preparing you for sleep.
The addition of salt, whether it be natural sea salt, epsom salt or magnesium salt, further enhances hot tub health benefits. Bathing is sea salt aids to build immunity, improve skin hydration, decrease skin inflammation and regulate fluid balance. An Epsom salt bath has been proven to reduce inflammation in joints and muscles. Soaking in magnesium salt flakes improves skin hydration, promotes wound healing, enhances skin barrier function, and decreases inflammation. The skin is also able to excrete toxins and waste products via bathing, which lightened the load on the kidney and liver.
It has been suggested that your home and personal environment, such as your car interior and work desk, reflect the workings of your mind. For mental clarity and mood elevation, regularly tidy, organise and spring clean your personal environment. Also, beautify your home with the items you love and that represent your positive life experiences and the future you desire. Try bringing the outside in by filling your home with plants.
For most people, it is impossible to avoid coming in contact with electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and cellphones. People reply on such technology for work, school, personal enjoyment and communicating with friends and family. What most people don’t realise is that these the electronic devices are known to emit Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF’s) which can be harmful to our bodies.
The intensity of EMF’s are increasing around the world, and this is a growing health concern. There are not EMF Cell Protection Discs and Strips available that aid to reduce the amount of long-term exposure to EMF’s, increasing your safety.
Practising emotional selectivity, using the aforementioned methods, will greatly improve your mindset and uplift your spirits day to day, however if you are ready to experience true emotional buoyancy it’s imperative that you also address your emotional baggage.
In my next post, I’ll share the processes that I found to be the least painful, fastest and most effective.