In these ongoing times of Covid-19 most days do not deviate from the normal pattern of things, some aspects of life really do go on, the day-to-day interactions with all those mini tensions or frustrations still surface. Is it right that I still find some aspects of my relationships with other challenging at times? A year ago I started to develop some ideas about how I could work better with my emotions. I have often found it an extremely difficult area to navigate, today ‘here and now’ I’m continuing to learn how to have a healthier relationship with my emotions. What have I discovered through my own personal journey?
- I take a step back, take a breath and settle my mind – there is something about consciously engaging with an emotion or sensation when it arises, taking control of it, rather than it of you.
- I try not to judge my emotions as good or bad, I accept them for what they are without judgement. This has been a massive breakthrough for me – emotions are clues for us, they help us to be curious and explore further what may be going on.
- To really pinpoint the emotion I feel. I often use an emotions wheel to help be more specific about how I feel. In doing this I often find the underlying value driving the emotion
- For more unpleasant emotions I try to work creatively – going for a run, gardening, or just talking with a trusted friend are my normal go-to activities. Sometimes I journal or in an extreme situation have a conversation with an empty chair, taking various roles (believe me it helps).
It is so important to invest in emotions in order to understand them, to take time, ground yourself and calm that part of my brain, to activate those higher functions of reasoning, logic and judgement – to bring about some deep reflection… the ‘what?’, ‘’so what?’, and ‘now what?’ (Rolfe’s model of Reflective Practice). I do love it when deeper reflection and the cultivation of new habits brings about something unexpected… they often reveal an unconscious judgement about something that made me emotionally react as I did. I’ve learned also my emotions are shaped by unconscious bias, this is the common term for the implicit assumptions or quick judgements we make about others in the context of our values and background. They are often about deeply hidden stereotypes that surface unexpectedly and shape our emotional responses and/or behaviour.
To capture these, in the moment is difficult, I am only human, but creating the right personal environment to notice these is so important. I’m gradually cultivating habits to help me, but also aware that here at TWBC we are also embarking on that journey of becoming more acquainted with bias and judgement and sharing some of those ideas with you. I hope they help in some small way…
Tim Coupland – Consultant, TWBC