Creating the emotional state you want, it’s easier than you might think!

eva_summersaultToday I want to share something I learned from NLP (otherwise known as neuro-linguistic programming) called a “state change”.  We’re always in some sort of emotional state, whether happy, sad, excited, or frustrated.  And often it feels like we’re at the whim of our emotions.  When I’m frustrated it seems like there is no way to transform the frustration into something else.  But there is!  We can consciously create a “state change” in ourselves and often in others, pretty much any time we want!

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?  Well, I assure you, I’ve used this technique countless times with kids and with myself and it really works!  But, how does it work?  Well, here’s the thing, the body and the emotions are directly linked to each other.  When we feel sad, we look down, hunch our shoulders, pout and stay still.  On the other hand, when we feel happy and excited, we throw our shoulders back, look up, smile and move our bodies!

The trick is realizing that the conversation between the body and the emotions is a two way street.  Not only does our body reflect how we’re feeling, but our feelings reflect how we’re holding our bodies!

Try this the next time you’re feeling down.  Find a brightly lit room, look up at the ceiling, smile your biggest smile and think about something you love.  Now how do you feel?  It’s almost impossible to continue feeling sad when your shoulders are back, you’re looking up, smiling and thinking of something you love or enjoy!  You can try the opposite too (although it’s less fun).

Sometime when you’re feeling great, try hunching your shoulders, looking down at the ground, and thinking about something really sad.  You’ll almost immediately start to feel sadness.

So, how can you use this two way street to your advantage?  You can actually tell your emotions what to feel by holding your body in a certain way!  And, you can interrupt your thoughts and feelings by moving your body in a new way!  When I’m feeling anxious at a social event or party, I often go into a back room or hallway and do a couple of summersaults.  By changing my body chemistry, my mood automatically changes and I feel ready to be social!

This also works with kids.  When your baby is upset, you automatically start bouncing, jiggling, rocking, and dancing.  The motion helps your baby change state and become more calm.  Similarly, if your 3or 4 year old is having trouble focusing or is bothering a sibling, sweetly scooping them up and spinning them around a few times can often completely change the situation and your child’s state.

Or, if you’re all annoyed with each other, putting on some music and dancing together can be the key to a state change.  And don’t forget the magic of warm water to induce a state change.  When I’m upset, a warm bath makes everything better and that can also be true for your little one.

So this week, pay attention to your emotions and consider whether you WANT to be feeling this way or whether you’d rather feel something else.  Then take action and practice CREATING the emotional state you would most enjoy.  I would love to hear how it goes, please let me know!

And have a fantastic week.  Warmly, Shelly