“I’m worried about how much I worry”
As a coach, I am often asked by people to help them worry less; become less anxious; not so angry; frustrated; impatient; scared… the list goes on.
Think about yourself for a moment… what is the one emotion you would prefer NOT to have? (and I bet you didn’t choose NOT to have the emotion of Joy; satisfaction; love; contentment or peace!)
However, positive psychology makes a suggestion about emotions – even (or especially) about the negative emotions we all experience from time to time.
Positive psychology recognises a fundamental truth about emotions which most of my coaching clients are failing to see (until they have had a few sessions with me, of course!).
In a neurotypical person (i.e. no mental disorder or pathology), the secret of emotions is that they all – every single one of them – could actually be thought of as helpful messengers. They tell us something about our reactions and attitude towards the outside world. They help us identify how we FEEL about a situation or person.
Even the perceived NEGATIVE emotions have their place:
- Feelings of Anger might mean that my current or immediate circumstances are unacceptable – and the message is to (say) change it, avoid or ignore
- Finding that I am Bored probably means that I am not feeling stimulated – and the message is to seek meaningful occupation or to perhaps call on my creativity
- If I am Worried it means that I care a lot about a situation – and the message is to consider what I can do or help, in order to put things back in balance
So, as I tell my coaching clients, the counterintuitive approach is to actually WELCOME these emotions and to consider their message to us. Not to push them away or try to ignore them.
A recent coaching client wrote to me:
“I wanted to thank you again for the time you spent with me over the last few months. Your coaching has made such a difference to me and to the way that I feel. I have started to the use the techniques you have taught me and I am feeling much more confident and less worried!”
The techniques referred to included simply noticing the emotion (‘worry’ in this case). To welcome worry as a friendly messenger. To ask the emotion about its message, and identify all the positive reasons why it has visited. To engage consciously and fully with this valid emotion.
Previously, my client had been pushing her worry away and fighting against it. In fact the reason she first sought coaching was “To help me STOP worrying”. But what she found was that her friendly emotional messenger helped her recognise what she felt strongly about. She was able to consider her subsequent actions (and attitude) – which also helped her grow in confidence!
She was then able to stop worrying about being so worried!!
Yoo Wisdom: If you seek to numb negative emotions (through ignoring them, drinking, acting out or worse), then you are in danger of numbing ALL emotions including Happiness, Joy and Love.
Emotional intelligence means that you accept, welcome, express, understand and control your attitude towards your emotions.
Be your best Yoo
Andy and the Yoo team
PS If you want to rebuild confidence, relationships – or tear down some barriers, then check out the Yoo Personal Development Course
I have teamed up with the international learning platform Udemy, and the links in this PS carry a particularly generous discount for readers of my blog (about 90% off!).