What is your predominant emotion in life? Joy or melancholy? Peace or agitation? Enthusiasm or boredom? Curiosity or apathy? Perhaps a little bit of each and a lot of in between?
In a run of a day we experience a range of emotions that may largely color the lens by which we perceive reality. There is no doubt that our emotional state is significantly influenced by the quality of our thoughts. If our thoughts are focused on disturbing memories or unwanted problems that may occur in the future, then it is likely that we’ll experience prolonged states of emotional distress. Whereas if our minds are engaged in constructive activities and play, or is being renewed through meditation and creative art, then in all likelihood we will be inclined to experience more pleasant emotions.
Unfortunately many are inclined to blame others and/or circumstances for their lack of emotional well-being, when in reality it is often our own way of thinking that is reaping havoc. The truth of the matter is that we can rewire or condition our minds to draw pleasure from all kinds of experiences. Ideally it is better to link up healthy emotions with activities that are up building and harmless. Whereas if we cultivate a love for things that are destructive & egotistic, it is only a matter of time before the consequences of our actions render us worst off than before.
There is lots of scientific study to indicate that we can reshape our emotional states. Yet it is not my objective here to play the Professor and persuade you one way or the other. However if you would like to do your own experiment to determine whether or not we have control over our emotional states, consider the following exercise:
Articulate a positive affirmation to be repeated over & over in your mind on two occasions during the day; when you first wake from sleep in the morning and some minutes before you are ready to fall back to sleep at night. Read up and ask around for good affirmations but be sure to create one that uniquely suits your interest and objective for experiencing more healthy emotions such as joy, happiness and serenity. Why not try for it 30 days and see what happens!
According to Stephen R Covey a good self-affirmation has five characteristics:
• It’s personal, meaning it is written in the first person.
• It’s positive rather than negative, meaning that it affirms what is good and right.
• It’s present tense, meaning you are doing it now or have the potential for doing it.
• It’s visual, meaning you can see it clearly in your mind’s eye.
• It’s emotional, meaning you have strong feelings attached to it.
“How deeply satisfying (emotional) it is to me (personal) to respond (present tense) under conditions of fatigue, stress, pressure, or disappointment (visual conditions) with self-control, wisdom, firmness, patience, and love (positive).” – Stephen R Covey, Primary Greatness
“For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind.” – Marcus Aurelius