I really like reading Susan David, specifically, her book "Emotional Agility". All of this psychologist's research focuses on how we can maintain a healthy relationship with our emotions in order to bring out the best in us. I am very interested in her idea (and I agree with it) that “we live in a world that does not prepare us efficiently to develop the most essential capacities that we would need as human beings, that is, how to take care of ourselves.
All human beings have an internal current of thoughts and feelings every day. Some of these include criticism, doubt, and fear. And it is that our brain is not designed to be happy, it is prepared to survive; to anticipate any potential danger that may hinder our survival. Many people feel bad and stumble, not because they have unpleasant thoughts and emotions, but because they stay caught up in them. We are usually trapped in two ways: either we believe our thoughts by treating them as facts and we avoid situations; Or we deny the value of these thoughts, trying to rationalize them and we may even expose ourselves to situations that go against our values and objectives.
Effective people neither believe nor attempt to suppress their inner experiences. On the contrary, they approach them consciously, productively, and taking into account their values. How? Here are four practices developed by S. Hayes of the University of Nevada:
- Recognize your patterns. Do you know when you are caught up in your thoughts and feelings? A trick: when your thinking becomes repetitive and rigid. You must realize that you are trapped in order to initiate change.
- Label your thoughts and emotions. A thought is a thought, and an emotion is just an emotion. Labeling allows you to see your thoughts and feelings for what they are: transient streams of data that may or may not be useful. That is, "I do not do enough at home or at work" becomes "I have the feeling that I don't do enough at work or at home "or" my partner is wrong and makes me angry "to" it seems to me that my partner is wrong and that makes me angry ".
- Accept them. Respond to your ideas and emotions with an open attitude, paying attention to them and allowing yourself to experience them. Show compassion for yourself, for others, and examine the reality of the situation.
- Act from your values. Thoughts flow continuously in the mind, emotions change over time, but we can always appeal to and act on our values at any time and in any situation. Do you know what your values are? Is it simplicity, security, utility, tradition, family, duty, accuracy, cooperation, stability, power, tolerance, responsibility ...? These are only some of them.
In short, we cannot block and eliminate difficult thoughts and emotions. If we want to achieve emotional agility and be happy, we have to be aware of our internal experiences, but not let ourselves be caught by them. Let's use our internal resources and commit ourselves to act according to our values.
Maria Jose Ortega Martinez