YOUR emotional state can have a major impact on your energy level.
Anger, resentment, fear and other negative emotions are very draining and can colour what you do and say and how you look at life in general.
It is a common tendency to attribute the way you feel to such factors as mood swings and external events.
You hear people say: "I'm in a bad mood today", "I'm sick of my boss" or "I'm totally exhausted".
Many people believe that they do not have a choice over how they feel.
When you are in bad mood, the world can look dark and gloomy. You can end up acting in ways that alienate others and make your own life and work difficult in the future.
For example, you discover that almost everyone in your department received a two-month bonus while you got only a one-month payout. You get angry with your boss and colleagues. You don't feel like talking to anyone in your department. You feel your boss is unfair.
Not surprisingly, your working life becomes completely miserable.
Emotional discipline consists of the intentional choices you make to gain the power over how you feel.
Discipline is a process of self-education and self-training that helps you to enhance your level of effectiveness and the overall quality of your experiences.
Emotional discipline is the key to harnessing the power of your emotions instead of being drained by them.
You must believe that your emotions are not beyond your control. You are accountable for how you feel and how that affects others by means of what you say and do.
Exercising emotional discipline means making these key decisions:
Taking responsibility for how you feel;
Doing things now that will prepare you for the future;
Reacting to emotionally challenging situations in a new and healthy way; and
Making specific choices to effectively deal with challenges as they arise.
Sometimes the choices involve taking actions that may seem relatively unattractive in the short run.
For example, you like your coffee sweet but decide to skip the sugar for a healthier lifestyle. Although the bitter beverage takes some getting used to, but in the long run, your health will benefit from your disciplined choice.
Here is how emotional discipline can help you:
1. Find the cause
Identify the immediate cause of your emotions.
Pinpoint the underlying factors that are stirring up your feelings.
For instance, during a recent promotion exercise, some junior executives are promoted but you are staying where you are. You are frustrated because you have put your heart and soul into your work without adequate recognition.
2. Identify your physical reactions
Determine the location of your physical sensations and whether they are uncomfortable or pleasant.
For example, your being overlooked during the promotion exercise is making your chest feel tight. Your heart is beating faster and your head aches too.
3. Focus on your mind
Identify the thoughts and feelings that accompany your physical reactions.
For example, "My boss is unreasonable and unfair. I work so hard yet he does not recognise my work."
In response to the event, are you feeling defensive, insecure or fearful?
Can you act from a state of openness? Do you have other constructive choices rather than feeling upset and angry over what has happened?
4. Make a choice
Make an emotionally disciplined choice to deal with your immediate challenge constructively.
Choose your actions and reactions.
What choices can help you to be more constructive and effective?
Use these strategies to boost your emotional discipline:
Write a positive affirmation on note cards that can help you cope with upsetting situations that recur.
Read the card when you encounter these situations. For example, "I am capable of responding to this situation in a calm and effective way."
Use visualisation techniques to rehearse constructive responses to recurring situations in your life.
Picture yourself staying calm and responding effectively.
Practise letting go of all judgments.
Choose to first appreciate everything that you encounter without any evaluation or judgment. This will make you feel more positive about your life.