Let me ask you a question: what emotions did you experience today? Were you happy? Sad? Frustrated or anxious? Recalling your emotions from the last 24 hours is pretty easy but what about yesterday? Or last Friday? It starts to be a bit hard. What if I’m asking you about last month?
Emotions affect us every minute and every second. When you feel anxious at work, you’re more likely to make mistakes and it’s harder to come up with great ideas. When you’re frustrated for unknown reasons, you lose motivation and would just like to lie on your bed doing nothing. When you’re angry with someone, you unconsciously treat the others angrily too. Losing track of emotions means losing track of all these. You’ll never know the reasons and patterns and hence never be to solve the issues and improve the situation.
Emotions should be approached like money
People treat money with so much importance yet they can be so dismissive of their emotions and how they affect them. When we have less money than we’d like, we’ll automatically tune our spending and keep track of where it’s going and how much we have – adapting our spending habits accordingly. In other words, if one doesn’t keep track then there’s no way to tune and improve it.
This is how emotions should be approached. By putting the same importance on how we feel, acknowledging why we feel a certain way and what’s caused it, we’re able to tune better into identifying and handling emotions in a more positive way.
3 things to mark down every day
Throughout any given day, write down the following:
- Your general emotion of the day
- The events of the day
- The link between your emotion and what happened
You’ll notice your emotions fluctuate on different days. This is completely normal. After all, we’re human and it can be difficult to control what happens to us and how we respond to them so it’s important to give yourself a bit of understanding.
Because of this, it’s impossible to always maintain a happy mood so don’t put pressure on yourself to consistently feel positive emotions.
Once you start tracking your moods and the events of the day you can start to see the connections between them. Reviewing your emotions means being able to see what exactly makes you happy, anxious or sad. You might not know rainy days make you sullen before. You might not be aware initiating a greeting to your neighbor can make you feel energetic for the rest of the day until you mark all these down.
You can use excel or mood apps such as Mr Mood which can help you see correlations more clearly. Try it out for a few days but keep it general – try to not rate your mood by the hour as it’s more likely to fluctuate in smaller time frames. Instead rate your overall mood of the day along with the events that occurred.
Over time, although fluctuations still exist, you’ll see your mood is boosted overall as you cultivate more positive experiences and curb negative ones once you identify which they are. Previously bad weather made you feel sad, now you still feel a bit sad but you know how to make fun out of it by staying at home doing things you’ve always wanted to do but postponed. Previously you would only be happy when your manager noticed your efforts and recognized you. Now you realize how important recognition is to you after marking down your mood every day. And you’ve decided to recognize yourself whenever you think you’re worth it, even if no one noticed your efforts.
“If you want to change the visible, first, change the invisible.”
You’ll find that taking care of your invisible emotions actually means taking care of every aspect of your life. That’s the magic.