Emotions are contagious. We’ve all known it experientially. You know after you have a really fun coffee with a friend, you feel good. When you have a rude clerk in a store, you walk away feeling bad. ~Daniel Goleman
The other day I was so drained after work because so many dramatic things had happened, I listened to and engaged in gossip and sat in the negative juices of the experience. I realized that all that harping on the negative had left me running on empty and that it was time to detox from the drama. I had given myself an emotional hang over. So where did I go wrong? I practiced all of the things that this week’s blog post is about. Read along and discover the 7 ways to avoid having an emotional hangover.
1) Don’t talk crap.
I know it is satisfying to engage talking crap about someone. But all it really does is drain you because it gets your stress response going. Our body sees talking trash as life threatening situation by preparing you for the fight, flight or freeze mode, which is in stilled in us to prepare us to protect ourselves. Gossiping is eliciting this response which releases adrenaline, so we feel prepared for action and then we have something like a sugar crash. Gossiping is not worth the let down and the regret that you feel afterwards. I notice that I always feel worse after engaging in gossip.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you engage in gossip:
1) Would I say this in front of the person?
2) I am saying something that is necessary or kind?
3) Will I feel hung over after I talk crap?
2)Don’t act like an asshole.
Most of the time people act like assholes because they avoiding feeling something or are feeling attacked, which leads them to react and act out. Is this you? If you would like to stop this behavior. Try practicing pausing before you speak and taking 5 deep breaths before you answer. During these 5 deep and full breaths, think about what button was pushed and recognize your feelings. Ponder “I statements” that you can use to explain how you are feeling. This can save you from having to apologize later or feel bad about the way that you treated someone. Once you practice this skill it will become second nature and easier . Remember it takes more energy to be mean than it does to be kind.
3) Stay positive and practice gratitude
I notice that most humans are excellent at seeing the bad in their lives. If you harp on the negative, all you see is what is not working in your life. If you practice the power of positive thought then you can see life through a different perspective. We are creating our lives and realities with our thoughts and actions. Try reframing situations with positive spins on things. If you don’t get what you want, have you ever thought that maybe you were being protected? Practice positivity by writing a gratitude list in the morning to start your day out right. Practicing gratitude and positivity is like working out. The more you practice it, the stronger the neural pathway and “muscle gets”. When you stop going to the gym you lose muscle the same thing goes for when you don’t practice gratitude and positive thought. Want to learn more about gratitude? Read my blog post.
5) Avoid toxic people and situations
A lot of the time we don’t realize how much being around other people who are negative can be draining. When we put ourselves in situations where gossip and negative thinking are occurring it can be very intoxicating at first, but then eventually it depletes us. When there are multiple people engaging in this behavior it seems to multiply and it is hard to get away from it. So here are ways to not get sucked in:
- Don’t participate in the crap talking or negative thinking.
- Limit your time with people who engage in this behavior
- Tell people that you are trying to not gossip.
- Change the subject to something positive.
6) Notice how you feel emotionally in situations and acknowledge your experience.
Most people ignore how they feel in situations. Our bodies tell us what they like and what they do not like. Be willing to listen to the sensations in your body to notice how a situation feels. Practice this in pleasant and unpleasant situations. Do you need help with learning how to listen to yourself again? I can help, contact me.
7) Ask yourself if you are engaging in this behavior to feel in control.
Sometimes we engage in negative thinking, drama and gossip because it helps us to feel in control of uncontrollable situations. Most people believe if they feel in control then they are safe. This is a normal response to life ,but it keeps people stuck in unhealthy behaviors. The only thing in life that we truly have control over is they way we react to things. Power and control are an illusion and a dynamic that occurs between people which is an ineffective and demeaning way of interacting. If you truly want to live a life of compassion, mindfulness and understanding this way of thinking needs to be released to clean the slate. The question is are you ready to release this?
Let me know what you thought of this article and please share what your experiences of emotional hangovers are. As always please feel free to contact me if you have any questions! Have a beautiful Wednesday!