Emotional flexibility

Learn more about emotional flexibility and why you need it

All of us at some point wish we could change certain decisions we’ve made under influence of emotions. Student’s life is stressful and full of situations when controlling your emotions might be very useful, whether it’s complex thesis writing or sitting your exams. Thankfully, there are ways to reach better emotional flexibility.

What is emotional flexibility?

It’s basically a skill that allows you to personally choose your own reaction to some things that happen in your life. It may sound simple, but try to remember how many times your anger or frustration lead you to act in a way you now regret. The thing is, there is a short time period between stimulus and our reaction to it and it’s this period of time we can use to choose our reaction. Emotional flexibility is the ability to control your emotions.

Being emotionally flexible is realizing and accepting your emotions, as well as letting yourself learn from the most unpleasant ones. Overcoming your emotional triggers and learn to live here and now, to clearly understand what exactly is happening and to react accordingly. Emotional flexibility is flexibility of thinking.

Is it the same as positive thinking?

Not at all. You should never ignore your negative feelings and thoughts, but you don’t have to stay focused on them. On one hand, emotional flexibility is about calm acceptance of your negative emotions and letting yourself have them. On the other hand, it’s about the ability to control them and letting them go in order to accept changes for better without any fears or self-chastising.

Too often we think that we need to just get our negative emotions out of our heads. Got too emotional about that low grade for your paper writing? Forget about it! But the thing is, this doesn’t work, so you come back to it over and over again. You have to understand that negative emotions are perfectly normal, just human nature. When we try to push them into background, we only create more stress. Try to use snappyessays.com

Why do you need emotional flexibility?

To be able to control your emotions so they didn’t hold you hostage. Just imagine: someone criticizes your writing skills, but you realize you don’t care. Or you are telling yourself that you will definitely sit down and work on those writing techniques instead of fretting over how little time you have to finish your work.

As soon as you let your emotions take over, you get caught in a vicious circle of self-criticizing, self-diminishing and self-abusing. In the future this may lead to constantly pitying yourself or envying others. The result is the same: bad mood and lack of motivation.

How can you develop emotional flexibility?

Face yourself. Emotional flexibility is ability to face your own emotions, thoughts and feelings. Let yourself have them. They are worth your conscious attention and interest. Which of them are quite appropriate to the situation? Which has stuck in your head like a sticky tune? Your thoughts and feelings are only a subjective reality, but it’s your personality, so learn to work with them and understand them in order to not let yourself become their slave.

Separate yourself from your emotions. It might be really hard, but remember: your thoughts and emotions don’t define you. You can separate yourself from them: create a distance between real life events and your reaction to them. Look at yourself as a chess piece standing on a chessboard. Why does this piece with your name on it reacts this way? What kind of reaction does the situation require?

Go your own way. When you manage to create this distance between events and your emotions, focus on what your personality is built on: your life goals and values. You’ve got a choice: to look into the past and constantly worry about things you can’t change or look in to the future, see your perspectives and decide how you need to act in the present.

If you think that your values and goals are totally abstract, you are wrong. You make hundreds of decisions every day, some of them according to your life’s goals, some contradict them. Should you go to that bar with friends or stay at home and work on your creative writing ideas? Whatever your choice is, it shows what your priorities are: relaxing, partying, personal growth etc.

Move forward. Your life is affected by gradual small changes and your ability to correct your own habits, sometimes bad ones. Repeating certain actions on a daily basis (like exercising) gives effect that accumulates day after day and leads to big changes as a result (you improve your health and look fit). This is why it’s so important to live in peace with your emotions and not let them lead you out of your way.

Look for balance. It’s important to find balance between things that you are good at and enjoy and things that make you leave your comfort zone. The latter ones aren’t always nice, but they are necessary for your development. Find the golden mean between what gives you confidence in your abilities and what puts them to the test. As soon as you do that, you’ll be happy to see new tasks and not crumble under their weight.

It takes time to learn proper emotional flexibility, but once you reach it, you life will become much easier and nicer.


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