Imagine having complete control over your emotions, being the boss of how you feel anytime. It’s like having a superpower. Seriously, mastering this skill makes you unstoppable in challenges, a beast in the gym, and focused on tasks like never before.
I get it, you might be thinking I’ve been into too much hippy stuff or fluffy self-help. But hold on, emotions hold immense power. Most folks underestimate them. Let me break it down and show you how to regain control of your state of mind, at least to some extent.
Imagine Unlimited Strength, Super Focus, Amazing Creativity, and Social Skills
Okay, that headline might sound a bit over the top, and you might be thinking, “Really?” But just give me a moment.
Emotions and Strength
Do you want to be stronger? Think about the legendary warriors called the Berserkers. These Norse fighters had something called ‘berserker rage’ – a crazy burst of anger that made them almost invincible in battle, giving them super strength.
This incredible strength isn’t just an old story. People today have shown similar feats in situations of extreme stress, like moms lifting cars to rescue their trapped children or a rock climber bench pressing free from a massive boulder.
Surprisingly, there’s science behind it. Under intense stress, our bodies produce extra testosterone, adrenaline, and cortisol. These hormones boost our heart rate, focus, awareness, and muscle tone, giving us that extra strength.
Normally, our minds and biology limit our strength. When we lift something, we use muscle fibers – tiny bands in our muscles. On a regular day, we can only use about 30% of these fibers. Even a highly trained athlete taps into just around 50%. This is called the ‘mind-muscle connection.’
Imagine the intense muscle contraction in movies when someone gets electrocuted – that’s our muscles working at their full force. But we can’t use all our strength because it could lead to injuries or fatigue.
Yet, in specific situations, tapping into this hidden strength can be incredibly helpful. Adrenaline and other hormones, especially when fueled by strong emotions, let us access this hidden power. Studies even show that yelling in the gym can boost adrenaline, improving muscle strength.
Now, picture if you could consciously use 80% of that power whenever you needed it, just by harnessing your emotions. That’s the untapped potential waiting within you!
Achieving a State of Calm Focus
Being super strong or having extraordinary abilities might seem cool, but in reality, it’s not what truly matters. Enter the ‘flow state’ – a state of calm, intense focus that feels like bliss. It happens when you’re so absorbed in an activity that the world around you seems to slow down.
Ever experienced catching falling items in what felt like super-fast motion? That’s a flow state. Athletes and musicians often talk about it – the synchronicity of a band during a jam is a form of flow. Engaging in deep conversations or losing track of time while writing a book are also examples.
Studies reveal that being in a flow state makes executives and startups much more productive. Essentially, flow is an emotion triggered by the release of hormones and neurotransmitters, a subtle twist on the fight or flight response. It’s intense and compelling, yet enjoyable rather than frightening.
In this state, your body and mind are fully engaged, releasing excitatory and calming hormones, along with bliss-related substances like anandamide. This suppresses the prefrontal cortex, inducing ‘temporary hypofrontality,’ preventing overthinking and worry.
Living in flow means no fear, doubt, or unwanted emotions – just focused action. Imagine confidently approaching someone in a bar, speaking passionately in front of an audience, or immersing yourself in meaningful projects for hours without distraction.
Unfortunately, many of us are burdened with anxiety and endless tasks, preventing us from entering this optimal state. Flow requires being present in the moment, free from worries about debts or workplace issues. It not only brings happiness and confidence but also makes you unstoppable.
Changing how you feel can actually make you more creative. On the flip side of being in the zone is something called the default mode network. It’s like a network of brain areas that activate when you’re doing boring or repetitive tasks, or simply chilling out. It’s what happens when you let yourself relax and let your mind wander.
Some folks criticize this mental state, calling it the time when your ‘inner Woody Allen’ starts chatting. It’s seen as the opposite of ‘living in the moment.’ But guess what? This is also when your creativity kicks in. Einstein, for example, was in this state when he thought up his special theory of relativity (and he was working in a patent office at the time!). This is daydreaming – the time when we come up with plans, ideas, and more.
No emotion is a bad thing. It’s all about tapping into the right emotion at the right time. It’s about controlling your emotions.
Social Skills and Emotions
Lastly, let’s talk about how emotions strongly influence social skills. To appear confident, it’s essential to stop worrying about what others think. Leadership requires taking charge without doubting yourself or getting visibly upset when things go wrong. Making friends and forming partnerships involves being charismatic, engaging, and entertaining.
All these abilities come back to one key thing: having control over your emotions. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with this control. We tend to feel down on bad days, become fearful when things go wrong, and let stress lead to arguments and avoidance. This self-sabotage hinders our progress and makes it tough to get things done—all because managing our emotions proves challenging.
Regaining Control of Your Emotions
How do you regain control over your emotions? Let’s focus on two important aspects: physiology and mindset. Physiology means that your emotions are closely tied to how your body feels. Emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, and fear often stem not just from your thoughts but from bodily sensations.
Emotions are linked to feelings such as hunger, tiredness, hot, or cold. Your emotions act as signals to prompt behaviors that can help you address these bodily sensations. For instance, when you’re hungry, your blood sugar drops, triggering the stress hormone cortisol, signaling that you need to find food. Eating boosts blood sugar, producing hormones like leptin and serotonin, making you feel happy and content.
In simple terms, how you feel is often a result of your body’s state, influencing your thoughts. Feeling angry because of a bad day? It could be the other way around – a bad day might be causing the anger. Understanding this connection can help you navigate and take charge of your emotions.
Understanding How To Control Your Emotions
Ever wonder why you’re angry? It could be because you didn’t sleep, you’re feeling some mild pain, you haven’t eaten enough, or you ate the wrong things. Get it? One way to handle this and regain control is to realize that your anger is likely due to physical reasons and will probably pass. It won’t feel as bad later.
To make a positive change, listen to your body. Eat something, get some sleep, and follow your natural rhythms for productivity. Align with the day’s natural cycles and regulate your circadian rhythms.
Another way to directly influence your feelings is through breathing. Learn to breathe correctly—use belly breathing and slow, controlled breaths to lower your heart rate and calm your body. This shifts you from ‘fight or flight’ mode to ‘rest and digest.’
Next up is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a psychological tool. CBT helps with self-talk, examining the thoughts that lead to panic or calmness. If you constantly tell yourself worrisome things, you’re likely to feel scared. Change your self-talk to positive affirmations like being grateful for things in your life. CBT can even challenge long-held beliefs and break negative self-talk patterns through ‘cognitive restructuring.’
In the short term, use CBT techniques to honestly assess your thoughts and emotions. If a looming deadline is stressing you out, assess those thoughts and replace them with more positive and productive ones. It’s a powerful tool for managing your mindset.
Making Things Easier for Yourself
Think about this:
- Why stress when it won’t make things better?
- What’s the worst that could happen if you tell your boss you can’t finish on time? Are they asking too much?
- When did you last tackle this kind of situation?
- Are there other ways to make things less tough?
- What do you want to focus on right now?
Combine these thoughts with controlled breathing and concentrate on what’s most helpful. In the long run, use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to connect your thoughts and feelings. Your emotions and body are geared to push you toward things like love, success, and acceptance.
The issue is that your daily tasks might not bring those rewards immediately. For example, doing paperwork now might not seem exciting, but it helps you keep your job and support your family in the long term.
So, remind yourself why you do what you do. Use words and visuals. Picture where you want to be, envision the success and satisfaction you desire. Recognize that what you’re doing today is moving you closer to your goals. When your heart and mind align, anything becomes possible.