In times of uncertainty our emotions can roll like a roller coaster and we can feel very out of control. It has been said that emotions are energy in motion. If we acknowledge the feeling, it will provide insight and the ability to move through us rather than stick around. By understanding what emotions are and how they work, we can master how to navigate them. Below are three steps to feeling empowered and controlling emotions particularly in times of uncertainty.
- The first thing to recognize is that emotions are sensations that require interpretation.
Each person is unique and their interpretation to stimuli is just as varied. Take for example the sensations your body feels while on a roller coaster, the rapid heartbeat, sweaty hands and butterflies in your stomach. Now if you like roller coasters your interpretation is likely “this is going to be so fun!” but on the contrary if you do not, your response might be “I am going to fall!”
2. Next, your behavior is your choice.
Emotions seem to have a mind of their own and show up without our consent. But you still get to choose how to respond. In the absence of an imminent threat, you can decide what to do with them. Once you establish immediate safety, your brain can settle down out of a survival response and move into critical thinking. Only then can you think clearly to make choices.
3. Be here now.
Emotions are messengers and anxiety is fear of the unknown which is future oriented. So, ground yourself in the present moment. What is happening right now? Conduct a body scan; do you need to eat, hydrate, stretch? Are you safe right now? Look at the time and date to orient yourself to the present. When you become aware of the present moment, anxiety dissipates.