Have you ever felt that suddenly your emotions are too overwhelming?
One time, you’re in a good disposition. You feel grateful about life. You can notice the fresh air, the beautiful weather outside of your apartment, and the blissful sensation it brings to your chest. Then suddenly, there’s a trigger. A work email, a social media post, or a distant memory? The bliss is gone. You get swept into a hurricane of what if’s. You ruminate about the things you should do, or you could have done. And, you just sat there with your emotions, unable to do or think of anything.
We’re all been there. Once in a while, we feel defeated by our own emotions.
But there’s a way to stop emotional triggers from controlling you. It’s through building strong emotional immunity. It’s a skill that one should master--not to block all emotions, but to be more in control of your own reality.
What is emotional immunity?
Our thoughts can influence us more than you can think you can imagine. Your body reacts to every thought you have, changing every minute depending on what’s running in your mind. Scientifically, your thoughts can create cellular and neurochemical changes. So imagine being filled with negative thoughts and being easily emotionally triggered. You’re letting your thoughts sculpt your brain.
Emotional immunity is all about not letting those thoughts change your being. It’s not entirely about resisting your negative thoughts. After all, emotions and thoughts are what make us human. Emotional immunity is about having the power to pause, observe, and control your thoughts, without falling for an impulse to act on them and letting it change your reality.
So the question is: how do you strengthen your emotional immunity?
How to develop your emotional immunity
- Be mindful of the present moment.
All our negative thoughts come from planning the future and going back to what happened in the past. We worry about things that will not happen yet; we keep replaying moments and feelings that already ended. Being present is an essential element for developing your emotional immunity. It reminds us that what we have is the present. It’s a gift to be reminded that there’s nothing precious than what’s in front of us. Good or bad, being mindful of the present moment allows us to respond to our thoughts and emotions gracefully.
- Remind yourself: “You are not your emotions.”
We tend to identify our feelings and thoughts as part of our identity, but you’re not. You are not your emotions. They come and go, but who you are as a person is something unique to you. When you feel anxious or worried, it doesn’t mean that you’re fundamentally an anxious person. It’s just a feeling—a temporary, fleeting state. Remember, it will pass.
- Embrace fear and let go
When we are confronted with a negative feeling, we try to correct it. We feel that it’s not right; we feel fearful about it. The fact is the more we resist it, we give more power to it. So take a pause and embrace. Tell yourself: “It’s okay. What I’m feeling is okay. It’s valid.” That awareness and acknowledgment is a moment of power. Recognize it, tend to it, and watch it go.