Many of us have felt burdened or trapped by sadness, anger, anxiety or shame or other “negative” emotions. Although we often consciously know that dwelling on these emotions does not really serve us, once we are finding ourselves down in the pit of the feelings we don’t easily find our way out.
The simple and powerful tools described her have helped many people, including myself, to be more in charge of their emotions, so that they are able to notice and value them without becoming overwhelmed.
Strong, unresolved emotions and memories from past events or traumas are securely stored by our Unconscious Mind for three reason.
- To protect us from becoming overwhelmed
- Because we have not found a way to release them and
- because we have not ‘picked up’ the learnings of the past events.
The more emotions are stored in our Unconscious Mind, the lower the threshold is for these emotions to come to the surface. Just like a pressure cooker, that needs to let out some steam, so that it will not explode.
This explains why we may sometimes start to well up watching a ‘Hallmark’ commercial or find ourselves exploding in anger and frustration when stuck in traffic.
Therefore, in addition to using the valuable tools described below, it is very beneficial to clear and empty the Unconscious Mind through meditation, hypnotherapy, Time Line Therapy TM or other techniques and modalities.
We often say that we feel either good or bad, which is the classic black-and white mentality. What happens is that we don’t get the bigger picture / colored picture: The more accurately we are aware of our emotions the better we can understand their meaning and respond to them.
So ask yourself: What is it what I am really feeling? Explore and get really specific. Once you have named the emotion, ask yourself the 3 questions:
- Does this emotion feel good?
- Does this emotion serve me or anybody else?
- How do I want to feel instead?
This will help you to shift the focus and become more clear about the meaning of the “negative” emotion.
2. Language modulation
Many words carry an emotional charge. What language modulation does is reducing the intensity of an emotion, by describing it with a less charged word. For example transform:
- Angry into bit annoyed
- Sad into sorting my thoughts
- Afraid into looking at different outcomes
- Failed into stumbled
- Lonely into temporarily on my own
- Rejected into misunderstood
- Overwhelmed into maximized
- Stressed into energized
- Stupid into discovering / learning
- I have to into I get to
We can also boost positive emotions by using words that increase their emotional intensity: For example transform:
- Fine into awesome
- Feeling good into just amazing
- Good into better than excellent
- Good into vibrant
- Great into incredible
Working with language gives us a greater versatility. Like cooking – rather than using only salt and pepper, you may want choose from a large variety of interesting spices.
Using language mindfully and creatively increases your power to choose the emotions you would like to entertain at any give moment.
3. Simple Ways to interrupt the pattern
One way of stopping for example fear/anxiety is to interrupt the emotional pattern, before it seems to spiral out of control. In NLP we call it Pattern Interrupt, which most of us have used naturally – by starting to whistle when we were alone in the dark?
So rather than freaking out, we just whistled our fear away. Pattern interrupt is a very powerful tool to start reprogramming your subconscious patterns.
Here are some examples:
- Take a deep breath with the belly expanding on the inhale and pulling it back on the exhale.
- Breath only through the left nostril for 2 minutes.
- Roll your eyes up to top of your head and slightly turned inwards. This activates the visual part of your memory and stimulates the pituitary gland.
- Drink an 8 oz glass of ice cold water.
- Cross your arms at the chest, bring your hands underneath the arm-pits, raise your shoulders high and start breathing long and deep.
4. Emotional Modulation
This technique will give you literally the sense of handling your emotions:
- Focus on the emotion and notice where it is specifically located in your body.
- Notice the size, the shape ( round, square, triangle, amorphous…), the weight, the density, the temperature and the color of the emotion. Become very clear how the feeling is expressed within you.
- “Paint” the emotion in your most soothing and calming color.
- Notice that every emotion has a little valve that is located either on the right (right-handed) or left (left-handed) lower side.
- Take a deep breath in, imagine that you are opening the valve to release the pressure and energy of the emotion – then exhale with a sound (ssssssssssssss…).
- Repeat this 5 times and notice that with each exhale the shape of the emotion gets smaller and smaller until it has the size of a marble.
- Now you can take the small emotion and place it into a little bag, 300 yards behind you. Choose a safe and comfortable place.
- Instead of the old emotion place a very soothing, healing or happy image into your body. Increase its energy through changing the size, color, brightness etc. Notice that you this way also intensify the positive emotion.
- Firmly seal this new image / emotion in through 4 deep breaths.