You’ve fought with your partner.
You hate your job.
You’re disapproving of the way you look.
You’re feeling angry/ hostile/ bitter/ guilty/ misunderstood /annoyed/ jealous, or any other of the dozens negative sensations and emotions available to you, whilst everyone else seems to be thriving.
Nothing is going right AT. ALL.
TIME FOR A PITY PARTY
The only thing that feels achievable in this moment of negativity is… more negativity! And sometimes that’s exactly what we need, a moment to just crawl into a corner of the room, with a tub of ice-cream, Celine Dion on blast, screaming into a pillow.
THE INGREDIENTS TO A GOOD PITY PARTY
Giving attention to a negative feeling can often mean you become a negative feeling, and it means you:
- express it in your body, by being slumped, not prone to moving, stuck in the same spot for hours, or grinding your teeth and balling your hands in fists, or carrying out obsessive repetitions, breathing quickly, checking and re-checking your work, or sucking in your stomach, pinching your fat, picking at your skin etc.
- focus on things that sustain your beliefs,by only calling upon depressive or angry or anxious memories, by surrounding yourself with negative outputs or angry, anxious thoughts. By consuming media that fuels your beliefs.
- discuss it and apply meaning to it, by saying thing like ‘I have depression, that’s why everyone leaves me. I am an angry person, that’s why I can never have a peaceful conversation with anyone.
- you go around in circles in a discussion or argument, by being unable to think outside of your roundabout, unwilling to consider other ideas, because you and you alone feel like this, you and you alone are unsalvageable, you and you alone are sad/ angry/ lost.
THE CASE FOR VULNERABILITY
It’s important to note that it is absolutely OK to feel vulnerable and to experience negative emotions. In NLP we believe that part of the process of healing is the ability to sit with pain, and just let it have its own space, carving a room inside of us where we let this feeling live without needing to repress it or fix it. Yep, read that again. We just let it BE.
Vulnerability is defined as ‘risk, uncertainty and emotional exposure’, which also just so happen to be the ingredients for any act of courage or bravery.
So before one even begins climbing back up to ‘happiness’, it’s important to take a moment to acknowledge how constructive vulnerability is, and how brave we are for allowing it to exist. NLP techniques aside, pain is a natural part of life, and we must all learn to live with some degree of it.
But we also must be aware that there ARE ways out, and we are allowed happiness.
Creating Happiness, or more specifically Positive Emotional States, is the ability for us to take charge of our feelings, and be At Cause (or fully responsible) for our wellness.
Here are three simple steps you can take to break what in NLP is defined as ‘an unresourceful state’ (a state that’s not conducive to you living your best life).
- Change Physiology:if the physical representation of your negative state is slumped shoulders, head down, limp posture, shift that into shoulders back, head held up high, standing up straight. Shake things out. Move. Go for a walk, jump a little, smile (even if at no one). If you’re angry and holding tension in your jaw, hands or shoulders, release those muscles, and notice the tension melt away. Hug your own body.
Now, think. HOW DO YOUR DEPRESSION OR ANGER FEEL when your body is this perked up, this relaxed?
- Change Attention:if instead of focusing on anxious, anger inducing or depressive inputs, you call on positive memories, how does that feel? If you focus on emotions like joy, kindness, or better yet gratitude, are you still able to feel anger or depression to that same level? If instead of replaying memories of fights, abuse, helplessness, you watch kittens on YouTube, how has your mood changed?
Now, think. HOW DO YOUR DEPRESSION OR ANGER FEEL when your mind feels grateful?
- Change Language:unhelpful questions or statements like ‘I’m a real mess’ or ‘why am I always feeling like this’ are limiting, and can never elicit a positive state. Try asking more empowering questions, like ‘what can I do to feel better’ or ‘I am not where I want to be, but I am carving a path to get there’
Now, think. HOW DO YOUR DEPRESSION OR ANGER FEEL when you stop asking yourself redundant question, and talk to yourself with direction and kindness?
Taking full responsibility of your mood, and subsequently your life, makes you feel empowered and in control, and it allows you to manufacture happiness by yourself, as opposed to waiting for it to come to you.