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Don’t Take it Personally, But YOU Need to Read This Article!

February 4, 2014

When was the last time someone frustrated you or made you upset? Was it this morning? Perhaps, last week? Or, if you are really even-tempered it might have been a month or two ago. One thing is certain, if you are alive and human, someone has definitely made you feel angry.

This is a natural part of being a human being, right? Well, yes and no. Emotions are a human characteristic and help to bring us depth and meaning. But when those emotions start to hamper our ability to work with others, or to listen openly to ideas or even take away our own focus because we feel so unsettled inside, that is when our emotions become a problem. Our emotions in this state control us.

As part of Potential Unlimited’s Executive and Life Coaching programs, clients learn new ways of thinking that help them when they feel unsettled. I’d like to share one of these amazingly effective tools with you now!

1. Start by creating a simple chart in excel format with these headings – The Situation, My Thoughts, My Feelings, Body, True or False?, and Personalizations. By the way, if the idea of creating an excel chart already scares you and feels like a lot of work, I ask you to just trust me on this. It will take about two minutes to set up this chart and a couple of minutes to fill it out. If you are upset by someone, you will likely carry this around for at least an hour or two. So the chart is definitely the quickest way to shed these negative emotions.

2. Now that you’ve got your chart created, let’s try it out. Think of a situation that is upsetting you now. Report just the events in a quick bullet point in the chart under the Situation heading. Now, onto the Thoughts column. This is where you report the story being told by your mind train (the stream of thoughts that keeps going and going…) For instance, “Dan doesn’t understand the work I have already committed to this. He is too old and stuck in his ways.” This may or may not be true, but it is your thoughts. It’s your perception so write it down.

3. Now your Feelings. Again just bullet points of one word feelings, such as ‘Angry or Hurt or Jealous or Scared. Put down as many emotions as you feel.

4. Now, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Listen to your body, not your mind (even though the mind will likely be trying to interject now as you close your eyes), but the brain already had its turn during the Thoughts column. Now, it is the Body’s turn. Report any bodily sensations you feel such as hot, butterflies in stomach, tingly head, burning in the throat or chest. Often in the beginning, people report they don’t feel anything within their bodies. That is because we are trained to always be doing and thinking and along the way we lose touch with our bodies, unless there is some sort of pain that gets our attention. Your body and gut instinct has a lot of wisdom. Leverage it. But, you can only do so by first paying attention to it and learning it exists.

5. True or False? This column is really fun as this is where you can begin to poke holes in your beliefs. List all of your statements about your beliefs about this situation. Then after each statement, think about it and add True or False based on the reality of the situation. For instance, “Dan is a jerk!” Well, chances are that is False. In your opinion, he may have acted like a jerk in that instance with you but if you are really looking deep, you can probably see the answer to this one is False. Dan is a person, just like you and me, trying to do the best he can and don’t forget he is dealing with his own fears and motivators too.

6. Personalizations. This section of the chart is where you may start to feel like a bit of a Diva. You take a look at what is really about you in this situation and what is not. For instance if Dan ‘stole’ your promotion, stop and see what you are making about yourself that actually has nothing to do with you. Did Dan get this promotion to spite you? No, likely he wanted it too and it will be a good career move for him (nothing to do with you). Dan got this promotion because the boss doesn’t think you are capable. Again, this likely has more to do with Dan’s capabilities and nothing to do with your own. Write down any statements that you realize after some open and honest examination you were making a personal attack against you but in reality, they have very little to do with you.

7. After you complete the chart for each issue, you will likely feel better inside. Complete this exercise every time you feel upset. The more you complete it, the more you are actually rewiring your brain to examine issues in this manner. And then eventually, you won’t need the chart at all because it is a natural way of dealing with your emotions that you have programmed into your head.

Understanding your emotions is a great way to free up space in your brain to focus on being more strategic in your job and present for yourself and your family. Try this out. A little bit of effort to learn a new process can make all the difference! If you have any questions on this chart, feel free to contact me at ceo@potentialunlimited.ca

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