It is ok to have so-called ‘negative’ emotions. They are a sign to us that something needs to be done. The aim is to get the message and then have the nervous energy of emotions (with their cortisol and adrenaline) dissipate or be processed as I am suggesting here.
All of the techniques to follow are essentially turning off the stress response, and activating the relaxation response. In that state you are more aware, creative, powerful, resilient and less reactive. So that is always what we are aiming for.
The Tips are sort of listed from the most basic (for the small stuff) to the techniques for the bigger stuff. Choose one, if it is not potent enough then work your way down the list. Enjoy!
Tip 1: Deep Breathing for 1-2 mins
The technique: Breathe in to a count of 4, breathe out to a count of 6. Continue until you feel your body relaxing.
I recently read that there are nerve endings in the nose that are linked to the parasympathetic nervous system, which does the opposite function to the stress response. It cools the nervous system down. You can do this anywhere and anytime.
Tip 2: Connect to nature
The technique: This is from looking at the sky to taking a walk in the park.
You know nature is healing. There is no ‘white’ noise, so it is less stressful for the nervous system. Just being at peace with nature allows you to get perspective, calm down, see the beauty that surrounds you and connect with sights, sounds, smells, and textures that take you out of your reactive mind, and bring you back into the present moment. This is harmonizing for the mind and body.
Tip 3: Journaling
The technique: Get your journal out (or a paper napkin at the cafe) and start writing. I also like writing powerful questions, as I know they will give me powerful answers.
Sometimes the thinking that completely fills every recess of our minds, when written down takes up about 2 pages. Talk about ‘perspective’ (and sometimes embarrassing ;-)). Journaling is also great for getting below the surface of a tumultuous brain; to understand what the REAL issue might be. I have got lots of clarity over the years from writing my thoughts and feelings in a journal. It can be very very powerful.
Tip 4: Move your body
The technique: Hmmm, I think you got this one.
Moving your body, whether it is star jumps, running, swimming, dancing, roller-blading,etc. will change your physiology, focus and also brain chemistry. Numerous studies show exercise to be as effective for treating depression as anti-depressants in many cases. And if you do your physical activity in NATURE – well even better! I also HIGHLY recommend YOGA as one of the best forms of physical activity for mental and emotional health. Downward facing dog anyone?
Tip 5: Speak
The technique: Sort through the list of people you know and identify who makes you feel more energized after you spend time with them. Then reach out to them and share.
Your good quality friends want to help, as they know you would do the same for them. Bringing something to the light of day, and having your friend say those magic words ‘yeah, we too’ is completely liberating. Brene Brown calls those words (essentially empathy) the antidote to shame. It makes you realise you are not broken or damaged or abnormal; you are just having a ‘moment’ like we all do. Myself included!
Tip 6: Refocus your mind
The technique: This is about GRATITUDE. Just start saying, “I am SO grateful for…” and start naming things you are grateful for.
This not only changes your focus from what is ‘wrong’ to what is ‘right’ but it causes the brain to release healthy, healing and feel-good chemicals. It cools the nervous system. It puts a smile on your face. And it creates this amazing thing called PERSPECTIVE. Maybe running out of battery power on your mobile phone is not so world ending after all… 😉
Tip 7: Walking & Breathing
The technique: Walk on the spot as if you are marching. Knees high. Alternate arms with alternate legs. Swing the arms across the centre line of your body. Deepen your breath as you walk.
This might sound pretty similar to doing some exercise, but it a great and easy intervention to balance the brain. It increases communication between both hemispheres of the brain, and by alternatively crossing the line of your body you start to harmonize this thing called your biofield. Essentially the energetic field of your body. If you ever feel fuzzy, or dizzy, or out of balance, or clumsy, this is a great way to harmonize. Give it a go next time you feel like your brain is muddled. It is very effective and liberating.
Tip 8: Alternate nose breathing
The technique: Take your right hand. Place your pointing finger between your eyebrows. Then use your right thumb to block your right nostril. Breathe in through your left nostril. Then use your middle finger (which is curled) to block the left nostril. Then breathe out of your right nostril. Keeping your left nostril blocked, breathe in through your right nostril. Close the right nostril. Breathe out through your left nostril. Keeping the right nostril closed, breathe in through the left nostril. Then close the left nostril and breathe out the right. Do you have the pattern now? Do it for about 5-10 breath’s each side.
This again balances the hemispheres of the brain and balances the biofield. It also feels like it is cooling the brain. It brings your attention into present time consciousnesses and gets you ‘out of your head’. It also calms the nervous system and deactivates the stress response. So easy. So effective. And no props. Give it a go. I will also post a video on how to do it on my Facebook Page in the next 24hrs.
Tip 9: MEDITATION
Put your hand up (or pinky finger) if you don’t meditate and have not figured out how good it is for your mind, body and emotional processing? Tut tut tut. It even alters the expression of your genes…
The technique: Gift time! Download this whole chapter from The Guidebook to Optimum Health to understand exactly how.
For non-readers: If you are not a reader, then listen to this session of The Happiness Class where I have a fun and informative interview with a meditation expert called Angela.
Tip 10: EFT (aka Tapping)
You have heard me mention this before. It is my primary go-to these days for dealing with the little, medium and BIG stress in my life. Last year when I had a keynote speech in Qatar, they flew me business class from Bali, put me up in a 5-star hotel, paid me well and it was a high profile event. Did I experience any ‘stress’? HELL YEAH! (Although not so much when I was laying back on that king-sized bed operating the 12 different mood lighting options on the remote control). My solution for dealing with it was many of the above things on this list, with the main one being Tapping.
It is easy to learn. Easy to do. And is highly effective at the little to the really big stuff (like PTSD).
The technique: Too hard to explain in full here. What I have done though is created an extract from the book ‘The Tapping Solution‘ by Nick Ortner, which you can download here. There are also lots of examples on YouTube too.
This technique is one of the best, and most effective I have found for processing negative emotions and unproductive stress. I actually do it before I meditate to calm my nervous system and monkey mind. It is super effective.
A final word
Remember that we need to DO SOMETHING to process and move through (and learn from) our ‘negative’ emotions. Ignoring them or suppressing them will NEVER work.
Try out the different methods I have suggested and see what works for you in what situations. And if you need more external or professional help the modalities that I recommend are: Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), a good quality EFT Practitioner, Hypnotherapy, NLP Techniques, TimeLine Therapy. the LifeLine Technique, a great Coach (like me ;-)), or a good quality psychologist or counselor. Be cool with getting help if you need it. No one needs to suffer in silence or alone.
And finally, please pass this list of techniques on to your friends and family as they might make a major difference in the quality of their lives and what they are able to a achieve.
So here’s to having the TOOLS to make a difference!!!
As always, please ask any questions you have. Plus I love hearing feedback from you on what resonated for you. Also do me and others a huge favour and pass them on. Knowledge used in the right way is definitely a way to access our incredible power. All the very best and take care.