Friday, July 30, 2010

My Advice: Habits for Gaining Emotional Balance

Facial emotions.Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, some friends asked me to share some of my tips and tricks for getting more emotionally balanced. I'm glad they asked me because I believe that the best way to reinforce knowledge is to turn around and share it with someone else. I felt so inspired helping my friends out that I decided I needed to turn my advice into a blog post that could benefit all my readers. So here they are, my habits for gaining emotional balance:

  1. Understand the nature of emotions. We all want to be happy, which is our home base. But just like the weather changes from day to day, from hot to cold, from sunny to cloudy, so too do our feelings. The key here is knowing that difficult emotions will pass, just like rain clouds do across the sky. Just because you feel bad today doesn't mean you will feel bad tomorrow. So go with the flow, feel your feelings and then watch them fade away.

    That said, if you find yourself stuck feeling the same emotion day after day, can't feel anything at all or find your feelings rapidly changing over the course of a day, it might be time to see your doctor or talk to a mental health professional.
  2. Breathe. Breathing isn't something we have to think about doing, but have you ever noticed how your breathing changes when you feel stressed, upset or anxious? Focusing on taking a couple of full, deep breaths can often help you calm down and get focused.

    You can train yourself to make this second nature. When ever a phone, door bell or electronic device rings, buzzes or makes a sound, use the sound as a cue to remind yourself to breathe deeply.
  3. Have a mantra. Before I knew I had dysautonomia, I often had episodes where I all of a sudden didn't feel well. It was easy to get worked up and start thinking the worst about my situation, but this didn't help me cope very well. So one day I decided to repeat this phrase to myself whenever I had an episode: 'I am good, I am fine, I'm O.K.' With practice, this mantra helped get a handle on my symptoms and not let them reduce me to a quivering, helpless mess.
  4. Choose a theme song. Nothing seems to cheer me up more than listening to my favorite music. So I took that concept one step further and decided that my life needed a theme song--a song that could pick me up, keep me motivated and remind me of what I am trying to get out of life. Click play below to hear my all-time favorite theme song...
    videokeman mp3
    Could You Be Loved? – Bob Marley and the Wailers

  • Have fun every day. I devoted a whole post to this concept recently which you can find right here. Of all my daily strategies, I think having fun every day is the most important one. I believe that having fun makes life worth living, especially on those supercalifragilisticexpialidociously bad days.
  • Share your life with a pet. I honestly believe that pets are the only true source of unconditional love. All they want is your love and attention and in exchange they shower you with all the love and attention you could ever want. Can't have a pet where you live? Consider volunteering at your local animal shelter or befriending your neighbor's dog or cat.
  • Keep a daily path to happiness journal. Many people swear by the power of a gratitude journal, but I think I have found an even better way to get focused on the important things in life. At the beginning of every day, I write down what I want and my mantra for the day. At the end of each day, I write down the best highlight from my day.

    So for example:
    I want to be a successful blogger. My mantra is Enjoy each moment. I enjoyed a good conversation with my husband during dinner.

    All it takes is three sentences a day to keep me focused on my goals, in touch with sacred counsel and grateful for the good things in my life.
  • So what are the things that help you gain balance, perspective and focus in your life? Teach me something new by sharing your tips and tricks in a comment.

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    Migrainista said...

    These are great tips! Thanks for sharing them!

    Dot said...

    I love this post! And really enjoyed listening to Bob Marley as I soaked up your wisdom.

    I'm taking your advice and choose a favorite song or two to play as soon as I feel even a little overwhelmed by pain. One technique I use daily is guided imagery by Bellruth Naperstek. It's a directed form of daydreaming that always helps me through rough patches.

    Thanks again for an excellent list of happy, positive coping techniques!

    Annie said...

    This was actually really AMAZING Selena - I love that your theme song is Bob Marley!!

    I am going to be taking the tips you are giving and running with them.

    Thank you for caring <3