If you are like most people, you struggle to feel happy and carefree most of your life. You yearn for this feeling you remember from childhood, but don’t know how to get back.
Below are 5 “keys” to recovering your inner sense of well-being, and coping with the emotional rollercoasters of life.
1. Live who you are. You would think this is “oh-duh” but apparently not. Most people do not know who they truly are, much less live who they are. So you are not alone, if you have forgotten your real self. This key is called “prevention” by conventional therapists. It is what you have to do on a regular basis to prevent yourself from sinking into an emotional whirlpool. This is about letting your inner child out, and doing more “self-love”. If you have trouble doing this, consider a plant. A plant needs a certain amount of water and sunlight, and a particular kind of soil in order to thrive. Self-love is allowing yourself your “conditions to thrive”. It is self-care and self-nurture on a regular basis. When you “flower”, you naturally bring more beauty and love into world. You need to live who you are, at least most of the time, in order to get your happy face back on. This is your number one responsibility in your life. It is no one else’s job to do this for you. For example, maybe you secretly want to be a dancer, but are forcing yourself to be in a “serious” bank teller job. This just might kill you, if you don’t make sure somehow to get lots of dancing in your life.
2. Use your healthy coping tools. This key is called “intervention” in regular therapy circles. We all need a few healthy coping or “intervention” strategies in our toolkit, for life WILL throw at least a few major stressful life events our way. When it does, we need to know what we can do to cope. And no, alcohol and drugs don’t count. Know what works for you that is also healthy. For example, you make sure you get in a power walk or some form of exercise at the end of a stressful day at work to allow the energy of stress to move through, and not stay in, your body.
3. Practice scaling your emotions. Scaling your emotions is a way to measure how light or heavy they are. On a scale of “0 to 10”, with 0 equals no anger or stress, and 10 equals maybe rage or panic attack, know what your “2-5” especially is. Whether irritability, frustration, annoyance, mildly worried or afraid. And know how those variations of emotion feel in your body, when they are in the 2 to 5 range, BEFORE you get to higher numbers on your scale. Begin using your coping tools then. Don’t wait.
4. Know your emotion constellations. In the night sky, a constellation is a group of stars that go together. Each of your emotions is like its own constellation. Within “anger” or any other emotion constellation will come certain thoughts, scents, visual cues, sounds, tastes, bodily sensations, physical environments, and even secondary emotions. Know what these are for you, so that you can be very conscious of your emotional landscapes. Know what your calm constellation is, for that will give your hints about how to bring your body into a state of calm. Those will remind you of many healthy coping tools you can use to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you like to imagine being at the beach, with the sounds of seagulls, the scent of salty air, the taste of coconut on your lips, and the feel of your toes sinking into the warm, wet waves. Perhaps aromatherapy helps you at work, with the scent of lavender on your desk.
5. Re-direct your body into the feeling you choose in that moment. Your body has a hard time being in calm and stress at the same time. If you are breathing slowly and deeply, you can’t breathe in that shallow fast way you do when you’re anxious, at the same time. Your body will calm because you are directing it to do so by breathing the way you do naturally when you are calm. If you are thinking thoughts that are consistent with feeling safe, in control or even upbeat, then your body will steer in that direction, which is why constructive self-talk, that you really believe, usually works every time!
Now that you have the keys to getting back the sense of well-being in your life, use them! And remember, the most important key is to “be you!”