Who and what events trigger your negative thoughts, feelings and emotions?

Who and what events trigger your negative thoughts, feelings and emotions?

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Karan Mandre

Mindfulness and self awareness help up notice the many triggers in life that often have us react with heated emotions.

By catching ourselves we can find the space to remain calm and centered so that we can respond in appropriate ways to maintain our perspective and equanimity.

This can be easier when we are clear about who and what circumstances trigger us ahead of time, to preemptively head them off at the pass.

EXERCISE:

Who and what triggers you? How can you better support yourself in these moments?

Consider checking out Marshall Goldsmith’s book, Triggers, to dig a bit deeper into this topic.

“When we know how to read our own hearts, we acquire wisdom of the hearts of others.”

“When we know how to read our own hearts, we acquire wisdom of the hearts of others.”

—Denis Diderot, 18th Century French philosopher, art critic, and writer

Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson

What comes to mind when you think about poetry?

In recent years, I’ve shifted considerably from a judgmental, sappy view to a more open, welcoming view of this art form.

For most of my years, I just didn’t get it, and it was far easier to disregard the hidden messages that went over my head, as clearly not meant for me.

It was a bit over nine years ago, following my mom’s passing, that I read The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. It seemed like none of my normal reading efforts hit home and my heart needed filling far more than my head.

It was then that I began to more fully explore aspects of my heartfelt emotions and feelings as a basis of connecting with others, especially family and friends.

EXERCISE:

How might playing with a bit of poetry help you read your own heart better?

What would be the benefit of acquiring the wisdom of the hearts of others in your various communities?

“When the eyes say one thing and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first.”

“When the eyes say one thing and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 17th Century American essayist, philosopher, and poet

Image from Unsplash by Austin Human

There are a number of stories and legends behind Missouri’s sobriquet, “The Show Me State.”

The slogan, although not official, is commonly used throughout the state and is on Missouri’s license plates.

The most widely known legend attributes the phrase to Missouri’s Congressman, Willard Duncan Vandiver. In an 1899 speech, he declared:

“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquences neither convict nor satisfy me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you be more of a practiced person who relies far more on the language of the eyes and not just those of the tongue?

 

“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.”

“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.”

—Carl Sandburg, 20th Century American poet, 3-time Pulitzer Prize winner

Today’s quote does a great job of describing many of us over the last year. From my view, I’ve seen a bit more hippos with a large dose of mudslinging, highlighted particularly in the media.

Emotions have been running wild like roller coasters — leaving many of us sick to our stomachs, dizzy, and wanting to throw up.

What has your ride been like in your personal and professional communities? What has been your soaring-to-wallowing ratio over these many months, and how have these events influenced who you have become through this process?

EXERCISE:

How can and will you be more of a soaring eagle moving forward? How might you teach and support a few hippos in your world who want to fly?

“Crying doesn’t indicate that you’re weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you’re alive.”

“Crying doesn’t indicate that you’re weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you’re alive.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Aliyah Janous

On Veteran’s Day in November, My wife and I were very moved by a news anchor describing an army nurse called to serve our country in World War II. Now 101 years old, this extraordinary woman came from a family in which most members also served in the military.

This normally stoic and forceful news anchor was moved to tears as he shared many heart-warming aspects of her life of generosity, contribution, and service.

EXERCISE:

Where and how are you currently moved to tears regarding various aspects of your world? How can you more fully see these moisture-filled expressions of emotion as a source of greater aliveness and strength?

 

“The biological lifespan of a particular emotion is about 90 seconds. It’s the afterlife of that emotion that we constantly review and bathe in.”

“The biological lifespan of a particular emotion is about 90 seconds. It’s the afterlife of that emotion that we constantly review and bathe in.”

—Chip Conley, author of Emotional Equations

Image from Pinterest

Take a look at these two lists and compare them to how you and those close to you have been feeling lately:

LIST 1 LIST 2 LIST 1 LIST 2
Fear Optimism Anger Love
Sadness Acceptance Aggression Delight
Contempt Awe Remorse Trust
Boredom Serenity Annoyance Admiration
Loathing Joy Grief Appreciation
Vigilance Anticipation Pensiveness Amazement

How long do these emotions last throughout your days? To what degree can and do you simply notice the undesirable ones and release them? How often do you try to resist and fight them only to discover how much they persist?

EXERCISE:

How might paying particular attention to your positive emotions offer better waters to bathe in?

Consider exploring Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions to look a bit further into this subject.

“Worry is interest on money never borrowed.”

“Worry is interest on money never borrowed.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Ben With

Imagine you had a financial crisis. Instead of asking family or friends for assistance, you found a local loan shark, and borrowed money at a crazy interest rate that compounded daily until the debt was repaid.

Unfortunately, the intention to repay the loan quickly was overtaken by other life events, and the debt and your level of worry and fear continued to grow.

Hopefully, you are only aware of such events from movies or TV shows, but we can all feel the tension and relate to these character’s predicaments.

EXERCISE:

Where in your life are you currently worried about the interest on a loan you never borrowed? Consider looking up Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping to see if these easy methods of self-soothing might help.

As soon as you trust yourself you will know how to live

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 19th Century German Writer & Statesman

Image from wordandspiritministries

What is it to live a good life?

How does one measure a life well lived?

What intrinsic and extrinsic factors are your gyroscopic guides on this great adventure?

Many people are giving more thought to this, particularly as they look in the mirror and see the aging process in effect, or pine on what they were once able to do years earlier.

Many experts, happiness gurus, and people who live “in the moment” encourage all of us to explore our emotions and feelings in order to tap into these trustworthy cornerstones of how to live.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you more fully tap into your thoughts, emotions, and feelings to assure yourself that you are indeed on the right life path?

Feelings Are Like Waves

“Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which ones to surf.”

-Author Unknown

Image from Flickr by Alain Bachellier

Image from Flickr by Alain Bachellier

One of the greatest freedoms each of us has is the freedom to make choices on a daily basis. Examine your day closely. How many choices did you make intentionally, and how many by default, without thinking?

This examination along with its increased self-awareness will likely have you notice the accompanying feeling about what you are doing, and perhaps with whom you associate.

Today’s quote points us in the direction of actually choosing our perceptions, and thus our feelings, to catch only the waves we most desire.

EXERCISE:

Consider using a journal to capture your feelings as you surf through your day. How can you choose far more ideal waves that will give you the best rides of your life?

“You don’t protect your heart by…”

“You don’t protect your heart by acting like you don’t have one.”

— Author unknown

Image from abc.net.au

Image from abc.net.au

In my school days, I would often hear the phrase “Big boys don’t cry,” on the playground and in school. Being tough and strong were qualities associated with being a male in our society, even at an early age.

To achieve this outward persona, many boys began building shells—even fortresses—around themselves, so they could never be hurt, and never show what many considered the ultimate shame for a man: weakness.

Although this strategy may have provided some degree of protection against life’s bumps and bruises, it also imprisoned these boys in a world of limited connection. They were often removed from daily experiences of joy, happiness, and fulfilling relationships.

EXERCISE:

Should you see that you tend to use this strategy to protect your heart, take particular note of what it may be costing you as part of the fullest experience of life.

Consider reading the work of Brene Brown in such books as Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection, to move yourself to what she refers to as a “guide to a wholehearted life.”