(Read Part 1 HERE).
After I have successfully narrowed down and identified my emotions; where do I go from there?
How then do I effectively manage such emotions?
While utilizing the emotion/feelings wheel may offer a simple formula toward managing emotions… I will introduce a few more tools that can be utilized.
Our first tool comes from Maurice Harkers book entitled, “I’m NOT okay, You’re NOT okay, But THAT’S OKAY!”
This tool requires 4 steps: notice it, name it, flip it, and find it.
Step 1 is to notice it.
You may say to yourself, “I’m feeling a little off” or “I’m feeling more bothered about this than I want to be.”
Afterwards, this can easily transition into step 2 where you name it or name what you’re feeling.
You pull out your little pocket emotion wheel or your mental image of it and you narrow it down.
What is my current experience and what name should I give my discomfort? “Oh, this is feeling is insecurity…”
After you have noticed and named your experience you can then flip it.
I eluded to this skill in my introduction of the emotion wheel in that you need to turn to identify the opposite of that feeling. “If I’m feeling insecure then the opposite of that would be feeling secure, comfortable, safe, and connected.”
Finally, you then need to seek out and find that opposite more comfortable feeling.
Do some activities that can counteract the uncomfortable sensations and create a more balanced you.
For example, you may consider upon those things in the past that have healthily helped you and adopting those actions once again.
Finding good individuals and loved ones to connect with. Going on a walk, serving another person, or eating a good meal are other common options.
Simply put: do what makes you feel more like you until you find that feeling that you’re looking for.
Other tools that you may consider using to better manage your emotions include STOP and wise mind from DBT.
STOP is a tool that allows you to increase your capacity to slow down the emotional experience, notice your internal state, and proceed forward in a way that is mindful and safe.
STOP stands for stop, take a step back, observe, and proceed mindfully.
It helps to picture a STOP sign and allow yourself the time to actually feel and not push away the emotion, but also to not let it control you.
Within the first step you simply stop. You’re not moving, you’re not doing anything other then staying still within your present circumstance. After which you start to take a step back and observe.
Observe what your internal experience is like. Consider upon your external circumstances. You don’t need to do anything with the experience but simply notice it.
You’re not judging it or doing anything other than noticing what’s going on within you, around you, and within others.
Finally, once you have slowed the emotional experience and allowed yourself clarity within your own situation you can then proceed mindfully and in a way that stays true to the person you want to be and the type of relationship you want to have with others. Another, critical component or tool within DBT is that of wise mind.
While I will not touch on wise mind at this time, I urge you to research into it so that you may more fully adopt a wise mind for your life and stray away from the robot-like logical mind or the irrational emotional mind.
It is a powerful concept that forms a foundational piece within DBT and coping with our emotions.
Part 3 coming soon…
Written by Brandon Nite, APSW, MSW graduate, Northwest Nazarene University. You can reach Brandon at firstname.lastname@example.org.