How to Turn Down the Intensity of Your Emotions

This is pretty much a follow on from last weeks post.

Where I talked about the important of being in the REALITY zone, and not the STORY zone, when making decisions.

I also talked about how I encourage my Coaching clients to be as boring as possible when describing things in their lives.

I also encourage them to be impeccable with their language, to get to reality even quicker.

Not only do you get to reality, but you also enter the place of specificity.

Which is such a USEFUL place to be.

About 47 times (at least) more useful than a ‘generalization’!!

Again it comes back to our language.

Are you using words that are non-specific, too broad, unclear, imprecise, and don’t really give you a clear sense of the ‘reality’?

Versus words that are targeted, precise, and specific.

Words that allow you to get to the heart of the issue.

The reality of the situation you are faced with.

It is MUCH easier to come up with a solution when you know specifically what you need to focus on.

Take these two statements.

  1. My business is not working, which is suffocating me and crushing my spirit.
  2. The key area in my business that appears to be causing disruption, and slowing sales, is the customer communication; especially when it comes to clearly articulating how our product can be used to best serve them.

The first one leaves us with absolutely no idea of what to focus on.

PLUS, by unconsciously choosing to use emotive language, they are turning up the dial on their emotional intensity, and steering themselves (unknowingly) into a survival emotional state.

Where they are actually less creative and less likely to come up with solutions, because they are now activating the wrong part of their brain.

It’s a double whammy!!

In the second statement – which sounds a bit more nerdy – we get to see exactly where to focus our limited attention and energy.

Plus it doesn’t trigger a reactive or disruptive emotional state.

Have a look at the diagram below…

Essentially, the words you choose and use, TURN UP or TURN DOWN the emotional intensity you will experience.

YOU actually have power over the intensity of your emotions.

Just by by your choice of words…

Don’t use crappy words if you want to stay cool (and with an elevated mind)

Let me be very specific.

If you choose to use EMOTIVE words and language they will turn the dial up on your emotions, put you into a survival emotional state, and activate certain areas of your brain; limiting your ability to get perspective, to see reason and to create win-win solutions.

All your solutions will be about fighting, running or freezing.

Here are several examples of words or phrase combinations that are not useful or helpful (useless words in bold):

  • I have a huge problem (drop the ‘huge’ and swap ‘problem’ for ‘challenge’).
  • I have a million things to do today (swap ‘million’ for 9 (the reality)).
  • I got slammed as soon as I got in the office (it is unlikely anyone got ‘slammed’).
  • There is too much to do (‘too’ implies more than is actually possible, and generates a survival mental reaction).
  • I was always alone growing up (not true, unless you actually lived on an island…and deeply triggers survival responses and victimhood).
  • Things always go wrong for me (can you see how ‘always’ creates absolutism, which is just not true?)
  • I should go to the event (says ‘who’ and is that what YOU really want?)

I studied Neuro Linguistics Programming (NLP) so I am hyper-sensitive to the impact our choice of words have on our emotional state, and by natural progression, our resultant behaviour.

The words not only change our emotional state, but they determine what parts of our brain and mind are accessible to us.

In the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, one agreement is to be ‘impeccable with your words’, as he realises our language affects our emotional and mental state for better or worse.

My Core Message

I am reiterating the message from last week, because it is SO important.

CHOOSE your words WISELY; as they influence your moments, your day and your life.

They also influence your brains ability to ‘think up’ solutions.

SLOW DOWN when communicating so you can eloquently, intentionally and consciously choose the right words.

Don’t exaggerate.

Be precise, accurate and concise.

And be conscious of using “sayings” as they are most often ‘generalizations‘ and sometimes not helpful.

e.g. “Ignorance is bliss” or “Beggars can’t be choosers” or “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” or “There is no place like home” or “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, etc..

Using a saying often means we miss the point that actually needs attention.

Remember, specificity.

This week be EXTRA focused on the words you use (and notice their impact).

My parting words

Words matter.

Choose them wisely.

Know that they can turn your emotional intensity UP or DOWN.

Often it is not the actual circumstances or situation that affects us, but how we verbalize it (i.e. give meaning to it).

I know you understand this.

Though the real RESULTS happen when we PRACTICE this.

Have fun with your ‘homework’.

Have a great day and a week of impeccable communication.

Take care,


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