Let me start by asking you… How do you feel?
How is the day / week / month going so far? How is it affecting your emotions and how you feel right now? Emotions are important. They're a gift. They're part of the package of being human. Don't ever view them as being bad BUT sometimes they serve us better than others. How we express these can be unhelpful or detrimental. So it's worth taking a few moments to pause and think about emotions, and their influence.
Depending what you're going through, you might have to determine to act differently to how you feel. Remember the process…
So emotions are a key element in that process. I expect you’ve heard people say at times, "I can't help how I feel". Well, is that actually true? Managing our emotions well doesn't mean that we're always going around smiling. It's great when you feel good and you want to smile. But there's tough stuff that happens to all of us. There are challenges that happen which we’d never choose but have to navigate through them anyway! So don't assume that smiling alone solves the problem (although it can help), or that we have to smile all the time. Let's look at three areas to consider when it comes to our emotions:
Self-expression - we do need to find a way to express our emotions at different times in a healthy way. When things are going really well, hey, let's celebrate… the small wins and the big ones. Cheer, shout, sing, dance, whatever is a good way for you to express those positive emotions. But then there's the challenges, the tragedies that we all experience from time to time, and moments when small things can make us feel sad. We need to cry, to weep, we need to talk about things to express that emotion in a healthy way. Don't bottle it up, suppress it and deny that you feel a certain way because that's just not helpful. It becomes detrimental further on in our health and our wellbeing. So don't do that. Find a way that you can express the emotion that you're feeling.
We need to process the different events that happen in life. The balance and the key really is don't stay in a negative emotional state for too long. Yes, you have to process through grief when you lose a loved one, or a business etc, and that's different for everybody. The time period for the journey is different, but work through it to get out the other side. It works better all round for you and for other people. There is always hope.
Self-awareness also plays a vital role. There are times when you can catch yourself and think, 'actually the way I'm feeling, it's just not helping things. I don't need to feel this way, pull yourself together, think about something else'. Nothing wrong with talking to yourself like that. We can choose what we think about.
Self-control, we can determine to change our emotional state, by choosing to think about different thoughts and / or doing an activity that boosts our mood, putting on certain music that lifts our spirit, if that's the way that it works for you.
Generally, music has a positive effect on everybody, if you find the stuff that you like. That in itself can help change your thinking. If you don't have access to certain music and certain activities you can do right there, start by deciding to think differently. A good way to get focused on positive things is to start being thankful. Regardless of what's going on, there are always things that we can be thankful for. Thankful that we're not where we were, that we're growing and becoming different people, better people.
Self-leadership: when we determine and choose the mood, the emotional state that we're in at any given point, it helps create the right environment for ourselves, and those around us. We have more of an influence on others in our world than we sometimes realise. So develop your self-awareness and acknowledge negative emotions when you need to process through something significant, or if it’s just a small annoyance, raise your level of self-control, change your focus and decide to be positive.
Leading others: Then when it comes to leading others, are you approachable? Could your team tell you when they're not feeling particularly well, when they're worried about something that maybe isn't connected with work? Or maybe it is?
Have you created, and are developing, a supportive environment within your team that can bring encouragement, that can bring help and support to certain individuals at different times when we all need it? And are you really aware and discerning when certain team members just need a bit of time off and a bit of space to deal with stuff and then come back and focus on work?
Remember, emotions are very important and we need to manage them well. So take a few moments now to think, 'how am I actually feeling? Should I change the way I'm feeling? Is the way I'm feeling now, actually helping me or hindering me with what I need to do, what I'd like to do?'
Then make changes as appropriate.