It is easy to be overwhelmed with emotions. It is also not common to feel “tied to” or “stuck” to your emotions. Almost as if the emotion is what is controlling the person and not the other way around. A helpful strategy to try to create a health distance between a person and emotion is to practice emotional agility. Dr. Susan David defines emotional agility as “the process that guides us to navigate through life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance”.
Instead of saying: I AM sad/angry/etc.
Try saying: I am NOTICING that I am FEELING sad/angry/ etc.
After practicing these changes in how we verbalize and communicate, we begin to practice flipping the idea of being controlled by those emotions and moving toward acceptance of ourselves and our emotions. A person owns their emotions. The emotions don’t own the person. A person is so much more than a single emotion.
Here are some helpful steps in beginning your first steps toward emotional agility:
1 . Recognize your patterns
2. Notice when you’ve been hooked by your thoughts and feelings
3. Label your thoughts and emotions
4. Accept them
5. Acknowledge that the opposite of control is acceptance.
6. Act on your values