Guide to Emotional Equilibrium

1) Introduction: Achieve Emotional Equilibrium

It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters. — Epictetus

In emotional well-being, our goal is to help you achieve a sense of baseline equilibrium through all life’s ups and downs and learn how to react to external events that affect us. Unmanageable emotions can turn everything into an ordeal, and make smart people look stupid; but, equanimity allows you to act effectively and remain grounded through every situation. We want you to be as even-keeled as possible, while still experiencing the full, appropriate range of emotions. Once you do that, you can achieve flow more easily from day to day.

Once you become aware of and accept your emotions, you have taken the first step towards solving them. (Please note that if your anxiety is severe you should consult with a mental health professional.)

Using UBW, we’ll teach you how:

to understand the cycle of emotions (Awareness).

to find compassion toward your own struggles (Acceptance).

to develop the habit of positive emotion (Adjustment).

to prioritize joy in your life (Action).

This way you can experience the full range of emotions without getting completely overpowered by them.

2) Awareness: Understanding Emotions

Our goal in UWB is to achieve emotional equilibrium—to reach a point we call “flow” where your emotions are relaxed and not causing your mind to take unneeded action This means that throughout your day, many different emotions may come and go but you remain strong, grounded and calm without getting swept into negative reactions that are counterproductive.

The Dalai Lama said, “There are actually 34,000 distinguishable feelings (Goleman and Dalai Lama, 2004). Psychologist, Robert Plutchik (1927-2006), narrowed those down to eight primary emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust and joy, and arranged them in a color wheel of emotions.

Five of those are not pleasant emotions; so, the first step to developing emotional well-being is learning to overcome negative emotions without suppressing them or turning them into negative emoting. Let’s take anticipation or anxiety as an example. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.” They cause depression, fear, and uncertainty.

There are lots of emotions so it’s worth spending some time learning about them.

3) Awareness: Understanding the Cycle of Emotions

Once you know the type of emotions that frequently occur then you can learn what triggers them. To understand this, it’s worth studying the cycle of emotions. Let’s say a trigger comes up, maybe a hurtful comment or something you saw on the news. You begin to feel an emotion like anger, fear, sadness or regret. That emotion drives you into an unhelpful response, such as snapping back at the person or going into your shell. This response makes you feel guilty and in turn activates another negative feeling of sorrow or pessimism such as, “I’m not a good person.” The negative spiral continues to get worse over time.

Most emotions only last for a maximum of two minutes so, within that time frame, you should find ways to break the cycle. That’s what we teach you in Level 1. Become aware when you are triggered, break it, and then respond appropriately. Here is an emotional cycle diagram from the Emotional Intelligence Network. https://www.emotionalintelligenceatwork.com/

4) Acceptance: Acknowledge and Accept Your Emotional State

Before moving on, it’s important to recognize where your emotions tend to fluctuate and how you react to them. Acknowledging this allows you to make the adjustments needed in order to create equilibrium.So take this time to go check-in with yourself and write a journal entry about your emotions, how you’d like to improve, and what your goal is in Level 1.

Check-In

Daily Checkin Form

 

Choose how you’re feeling*

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What have you been up to the last few hours?*

5) Adjustment Exercise: Practice a Pause and Response

In many cases, our brains are hard-wired to react a certain way. This is partly the legacy of our primitive ancestors who needed a fight-or-flight mentality to survive. Many of our emotional responses are literally to avoid getting eaten! What if we could insert a new response to an old trigger? For example, “I won’t get eaten by this person, so I can afford to calm down.” This is one way to rationalize a feeling, but it’s only a joke…kind of.  We discuss this in Level 1.

If you can clearly identify the trigger and what is happening with your emotions, you can stop and think before you act. This changes the pattern of your emotional reaction and allows you to respond in a more constructive way, which, in turn, keeps your day and your life flowing in a positive direction. When the new response is premeditated, it becomes easier to insert it into the old cycle.

There are many ways to break the cycle before you react including:

Go for a walk

Take 3 deep breaths

Remove yourself from the situation and revisit it a day or two later

Reframe your thinking — rationalizing emotions is powerful activity

Write down beforehand how you will respond to a situation

Once you know how to pause, then reframe your response. Write another journal on how you will change your emotional response.

 

Check-In

Daily Checkin Form

 

Choose how you’re feeling*

1

2

3

4

5

 

What have you been up to the last few hours?*

 

6) Action: Make It a Habit

We want to make our emotional responses a habit as well. That’s difficult to do because you have such a short amount of time to react. So the stronger your habits are the better your emotional reaction is.

How do you practice an emotional response? Just like anything else, add it to your daily habits. Here are some good exercises to add to your morning, daily, or evening routines.

5-minute body scan meditation feeling your sensations.

Journal an emotional trigger and a pre-meditated response in your activity journal

Practice the Dot B. exercise. Be and breathe for 2-minutes.

Well-being in this variable doesn’t just rely on decreasing negative emotions, it also means intentionally creating positive ones. The next level of UWB focuses on positive emoting, both inwardly and as outward expressions. We’ll teach you how to cultivate gratitude, loving-kindness, compassion, happiness and other positive states. We’ll empower you to prioritize joy in your life by doing more of the things you love and making time for what really fills you up. You’ll come to understand the value of taking care of yourself emotionally so that you can be more present for others, more productive at work, and a greater asset to your community. What we seek in UWB is not manic happiness followed by a crash, but the daily flow of equilibrium and inner joy.

Now go check in and thank yourself for learning something new and making your day better and brighter!

 

Check-In

Daily Checkin Form

 

Choose how you’re feeling*

1

2

3

4

5

 

What have you been up to the last few hours?*

 

[Total: 0   Average: 0/5]

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