Emotions represent the fuel that moves our lives. Just like any other fuel, they can run out. Therefore our “emotional tank” must be refilled periodically, otherwise the vital engine – through which we act, overcome challenges and difficul moments, achieve goals and evolve – might go off. Emotions are essential also to work inside a company: they are important to empathize with our clients and also to connect with our colleagues and collaborators, understand their behaviour, motivate and much more. Summer and holidays in general are a good time to recharge our emotions: here are some observations and tips that will help you do so.
There are countless theories on the functioning of emotions and, as far as we can see, scholars still disagree over their classification. Here is our point of view on some aspects regarding their usefulness, we hope it can help you make the most of them. Emotions of all kinds represent a major driving force in various situations:
- creating and maintaining relationships with other people
- motivating us to achieve our goals
- making decisions, developing opinions and judgements
- activating our protective and survival mechanisms
Every time we do something related to one of these activities we “consume” emotions more or less consciously. Not everyone is used to feeling their emotions and telling them apart.
When we act without being fully aware of what’s going on inside and outside of ourselves, we are guided by automatisms that consume and exhaust our emotional energies.
Photo Kenny Timmer on Unsplash
Although the consumption of emotions may be unconscious, the effects are not. Based on our experience, two different kinds of reaction can occur when our emotional batteries are dead: we either feel listless and lose our motivation to act or we have a complete meltdown that risks undermining our relationships and getting us into trouble.
If you’ve run into one or both of these effects recently, then your emotions might require some maintenance! Before we look at how we can recharge ourselves, let’s see how we can avoid reaching the “red zone” of our emotional tank and stop before running out of fuel. Following is an analysis of the elements that contribute to a fast emotional exhaustion.
- PEOPLE – Emotions are essential in personal relationships, therefore we have to beware of “energy vampires”, i.e. people who drain our emotional energy, leaving us exhausted and overwhelmed. If you recognize some of these in our life, try to set boundaries and limit contact. Another important aspect to take care of is our “internal accounting”, which some people use to manage their personal relationships. The more we try to keep a positive balance in the give and take with those around us, the more we will exhaust our energies. Here is our advice, surrender to the idea that you can give more: this won’t exhaust you, but the hassle of checking your accounts will!
- GOALS – We need so much energy to achieve our goals, especially those that don’t activate motivation naturally. Try to select goals with a good emotional content, capable of moving your passion. Money, power and other material purposes don’t get on with emotions: they use them without nourishing them. Identify challenges that make you feel the taste of the conquest and strive for goals that create real emotional reactions.
- THOUGHTS – Thoughts trigger emotions and emotions activate thoughts. The same goes for judgements and decisions. Consider this and try to focus on the emotional component of your mental processes. Many of us have been trained to repress their emotions, with the result of not controlling them and not realizing if their emotional tank is being filled or emptied. Get into the habit of asking yourselves “How does this thought make me feel? What’s behind this decision or stance?”.
- CONTEXT – We are used to building comfort zones where we can feel safe. Shrinking our world reduces the possibility of experiencing new emotions, numbing us and frustrating our need for escape. Try to challenge yourselves with new contexts, break up your usual routines, deliberately step out of your characters and taste the emotions that come along: you will discover a different world with new emotional colours.
Human beings are made up of three centres: body, mind and heart. They are interconnected, therefore they can influence one another. As those who practice sports know well, experiencing strong bodily sensations allows us to let off our emotional scraps and create new space within ourselves.
Feeling and acting emotions with our bodies brings great benefit but requires pratice and discipline.
The same thing applies to the relationship between mind and heart, which are traditionally seen as opposing elements. However, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, an emotion can lie at the base of a thought or it can arise from a mental image. For this reason the specialists in meditation and mindfulness don’t teach us to “halt” our minds (which is indeed impossible) but rather to use its creative capacity to our advantage, in order to view and activate our emotional field.
If this still sounds too complicated and away from your habits, a simple method to recharge yourselves is staying in contact with Nature and, if possible, travelling to discover new places and cultures. These two activities have the magic power to widen your horizons, take your lives back to an appropriate level and open yourselves up to new opportunities that can bring pure vital energy.
Last vat not least, there is an extremely powerful action that is available to everyone: expressing gratitude.
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Make an effort to give thanks and to learn from every single event in your lives, call someone to remind them just how important they are to you and clearly express your emotions. In doing so, you will release and regenerate them because the secret of “emotional recharging” lies not in taking but in giving.
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Have a great summer, everyone!
PS Are you wondering if there are positive emotions you should recharge and negative ones that you should keep away from? In our opinion all emotions are a gift and they all serve a purpose, when experienced consciously. However, especially when they are repressed, some emotions – such as anger – may arise in a violent and inappropriate way. Therefore we should remodel the emotional display, becoming more aware and familiar with the emotion that generated it.
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