by Mike Lally
All too often we are unaware that our emotions are engaged before we carry out any activity. Of course, for most mundane matters it matters little how we feel. We just get on with it.
Most of life is basically routine and we religiously follow what worked for us in the past.
However, when we are faced with something of real concern we immediately receive a “hit” and a jolt from the brain causes the body to react.
This sensation is usually felt in the gut or the chest area.
The breath is altered dramatically and the heartbeat responds likewise.
Tricky things emotions!
Since we are all conditioned to expect such a neurological and physiological reaction to shock it comes as no real surprise when we later reflect on what actually happened.
“I sure didn’t expect that!” Generally, we prefer to stay happily in the safety of our comfort zone and do not enjoy the discomfort of an unexpected event.
For many of us, the “in the moment” experience causes us to have an emotional encounter with a type of fear-induced anxiety as we are exposed to the unexpected circumstance.
Interestingly, many people are not particularly adept at observing, using, understanding and managing their emotions.
Not their own nor those of other people.
Too often many of us steadfastly subdue the way we should feel in order to avoid openly exhibiting a lack of control.
Personally and being English to boot, I have come to know this phenomena all too well and as the need to keep a “stiff upper lip” particularly when “it’s backs to the wall” time.
Unfortunately this kind of subjugation of the emotions can have serious ramifications overtime. At the extreme it is possible to become repressed with dulled senses.
How can we become more familiar, comfortable and unafraid of showing our emotions?
Since we have progressively learned a way to conquer expressing these tell-tale signs, how do we reverse engineer this tendency?
After all, we are human and being emotional and revealing our feelings is neither counter-productive nor unnatural. It is, in fact, quite liberating.
In the world of NLP an important pre-requisite for practitioners when they attempt to elicit a state in an individual is to proactively get into the same state themselves.
This encourages a client to do the same without feeling self-conscious.
It’s a little surprising why so many practitioners either partially or wholly ignore this or find it too difficult to accomplish what should be a straightforward enjoyable task.
The resultant lack of empathy often limits the change possible given it obviates the certainty of parallel mirror-neuron activity. Perhaps some people are a touch too self-conscious and find it a tad challenging to go with the flow.
How can this be remedied? Why not experiment with your emotional spectrum by setting aside some time for a few days and devote this time to experiment?
Begin by noting the states you frequently need to access and then get in front of a full-length mirror and practice getting into them.
Perhaps you might start with happiness followed by motivation before adding several other states.
After you have giggled a bit at your own reflection you’ll start to get serious and begin to notice the changes in your physiology as you embrace each state.
After a couple of days refine this activity and begin to zoom in on the very tiny and subtle alterations that occur in your physiology as you experiment.
Once calibrated, observed and understood you will be able to transfer your new found skill to yourself first and then on to other people easily and effortlessly.
You will also find yourself being more willing to display your emotions openly and discover you are starting to shed your stress levels.
Oh, and by the way, it’s best to practice in a room on your own – you don’t want to frighten the pets!