Today was a four snooze alarm morning. Between the cold I caught from a fellow guest at a friend’s dinner, deadlines for clients and editors looming over my sleepy head, and the drained energy I felt from dealing with someone else’s negative emotion – I just wanted to crawl under the covers and eat chocolate. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
As someone who is constantly striving to create a work-life balance and blend the commitments of work, family, friendships and creativity, I’m always interested in the latest and greatest on the psychology, biology and sociology front as it relates to creating a well-rounded and emotionally centered life.
In her new book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Harmony Books, 2009) bestselling author Judith Orloff, MD, offers some great new solutions for dealing with emotions in our hyper-tense world. So here’s a guest post from Dr. Orloff on her take on how to detach from other people’s negative emotions:
First, ask yourself: Is the feeling mine or someone else’s? It could be both. If the emotion such as fear or anger is yours, gently confront what’s causing it on your own or with professional help. If not, try to pinpoint the obvious generator. For instance, if you’ve just watched a comedy, yet you came home from the movie theater feeling blue, you may have incorporated the depression of the people sitting beside you; in close proximity, energy fields overlap. The same is true with going to a mall or packed concert.
When possible, distance yourself from the suspected source. Move at least twenty feet away; see if you feel relief. Don’t err on the side of not wanting to offend strangers. In a public place, don’t hesitate to change seats if you feel a sense of depression imposing on you.
For a few minutes, center yourself by concentrating on your breath: This connects you to your essence. Keep exhaling negativity, inhaling calm. This helps to ground yourself and purify fear or other difficult emotions Visualize negativity as gray fog lifting from your body, and hope as golden light entering. This can yield quick results.
Negative emotions such as fear frequently lodge in your emotional center at the solar plexus. Place your palm there as you keep sending loving-kindness to that area to flush stress out. For longstanding depression or anxiety, use this method daily to strengthen this center. It’s comforting and builds a sense of safety and optimism.
Shield yourself. A handy form of protection many people use, including healers with trying patients, involves visualizing an envelope of white light (or any color you feel imparts power) around your entire body. Think of it as a shield that blocks out negativity or physical discomfort but allows what’s positive to filter in.
Look for positive people and situations. Call a friend who sees the good in others. Spend time with a colleague who affirms the bright side of things. Listen to hopeful people. Hear the faith they have in themselves and others. Also relish hopeful words, songs, and art forms. Hope is contagious and it will lift your mood.
Keep practicing these strategies. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you’re on emotional overload. With strategies to cope, you can have quicker retorts to stressful situations, feel safer, and your sensitivities can blossom.
This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.