Act to Increase Uplifting Emotions
In order to elevate your emotions, the first step is to become aware of which emotions you have. Become aware of what triggers you — what sets you off and gets you upset and what gets you very excited. One trigger is watching certain television programs and allowing the emotions of these programs to permeate your mind.
For example, people who watch crime shows believe there is a lot more crime taking place than there actually is, so they’re much more fearful. Another trigger may be a certain person who brings either loving emotions or emotions of strong dislike. A third trigger is a situation that reminds you of something that happened in your childhood or other experience in your life.
Become aware of what’s going on in your body. Notice changes in your body temperature, heart rate, and breathing pattern. With both highly negative and positive emotions, these will change.
As you become more aware of your emotions, you’ll see what you’re automatically reacting to. When you can identify that, you can begin to work through the emotion and think about the best way to act, identifying the different options to deal with the situation. Contemplate how your response will impact both yourself and others, and consider what the consequences will be.
Keep in mind also that any particular event can evoke different emotions in different people. So it’s not actually the event that creates the emotions, but rather, the perception of the event that triggers the emotion within you. Your emotions are also connected to your thoughts; in fact, your emotions are guided by your thoughts. By understanding this, you can start to have more control over your emotions.
The ideal is to consciously shift from emotions that drain you to emotions that invigorate you. These are some of the emotions that lead to real happiness:
Delight and joy
Acceptance and gratitude
Enthusiasm and zeal
Peacefulness and harmony
Understanding, caring, and compassion
In your notebook, write down ten emotions: rage, anger, dejection, worry, frustration, contentment, hopefulness, enthusiasm, passion, and ecstasy. Then follow these steps:
Imagine a short story that would evoke each emotion.
Make up ten different stories exemplifying the emotions from rage all the way through ecstasy.
Experience these emotions in the same order without the stories.
Pay attention to what is happening within your body with each emotion. Without thinking of the stories and only feeling the physical sensations, bring each of the ten emotions to mind one at a time.
Switch from one emotion to the next, experiencing first a negative emotion and then a positive one, until you’ve experienced each one.
Do this several times until you become proficient and deeply understand that you create your emotions.
This exercise should be done over a period of time. It can be emotionally draining, so don’t try to do all the steps at once. It’s important to do only one step at a time. Allow some time to pass between the different steps of this exercise, perhaps days, in order to reap the most benefit.