We all have the ability to have an agile mindset: from an early age, we demonstrated determination and resilience in learning new skills such as walking and talking. Persistence enabled us to master these and achieve our goal without even realizing. It is often said that children are able to master skills quicker than adults because they are fearless- and fear is a negative emotion that sometimes hinders us from achieving goals. In fact, a negative emotional state- such as fear, anxiety etc. sees us in a fixed mindset, which makes it difficult to learn, adapt and progress.

It is physically impossible to remain positive at all times. Circumstances and life situations often influence our emotions. Yet the key to keeping the mind agile lies in emotional intelligence- or rather how we deal with uncomfortable emotions when they do arise.

What can we learn from negative emotions?

Acknowledge Them

The first step to learning from negative emotions is to acknowledge them. To not do so sees us in a ‘fixed’ mindset. This can be the most challenging part for some people,  who may have grown up in a world where emotions are not spoken about, or where embracing a different way of thinking is an alien concept. If you do struggle with this, try writing a daily list of emotions and choosing one to represent your mood, or using a phone app like ‘Moodkit’ to help keep track of your emotions. It may feel uncomfortable to recognize negative emotions at first, but it will help you identify patterns in your thought process.

Accept them

Once we have acknowledged these emotions, the next step is to not only accept but to embrace them: allow yourself time to really feel the emotion. Sit with it. Breathing techniques and meditation can be helpful here- both at calming the mind and allowing us to be present when experiencing a difficult emotion. Remember these feelings are there for a reason.

Express the emotion

Once we have allowed ourselves time to accept the emotion, it is essential to express the emotion and move past it. Here it is important to focus on ourselves first- acknowledging that we are in control of our own emotions. Instead of questioning why you feel a certain way, rephrase the question to ask yourself why you are choosing to feel this way- it is a choice that you can control and change. Taking responsibility for our emotions allow us to express them blamelessly, and is the difference between experiencing a fixed mindset or an agile one.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help teach you strategies such as cognitive defusion, emotional regulation, mindfulness practices and specific breathing exercises, along with many other techniques. Our Choices Personalized Retreats Program offers CBT and mindfulness therapy to help you regain control of your emotions.

We also offer Intensive or Regular Therapy Online no matter where you are located. This is arranged according to time zone difference. If you are in need of support at the moment, Dr Jeremy Alford, Clinical psychologist with 20 years of mental health experience, working with people from around the world, could assist you in your healing and recovery journey.

You can find out more on our website here: https://www.choicesretreats.com

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