“Self-Management” is a fancy term in applied emotional intelligence circles for “keep your shit together”. It’s about small ways we can manage our moods, emotions, stress, and find more balance to get a better outcome. I’ve shared my feelings about big sweeping changes before. They rarely stick long term. So, this is another area in which less really is more.
I’ve heard more times than I can count throughout my life that I’m too much. That usually has to do with demonstrations of big emotions. When I was younger, I didn’t have a good handle on either the importance of controlling them or ways to do it. The instruction I received to “calm down” never helped me actually calm down. And based on the memes I’ve seen about this, I’m guessing I’m not alone.
Thankfully, age, wisdom and experience helped me learn a few things that did work. I learned the power of not reacting. Counting to 10 slowly and taking a few deep breaths is another good strategy. If only I was able to do these things consistently in the heat of the moment… Once I’m in the moment and my emotions run hot, space is what it takes for me to be able to get my shit together. I need to walk away, take a break, remove myself in some fashion in order to give my brain a chance to engage.
Prevention is key
Preventing our emotions from getting to that point in the first place is the name of the game. Just like with our physical health, preventative maintenance is key. The more regularly I practice simple meditation, get enough sleep, drink enough water, and eat regularly and more healthfully, the better able I am to keep my emotions under control. There seems to be a direct correlation. So, when those moments show up (I had one yesterday) and I feel stressed out and on the brink of saying something I’ll regret, it’s much, MUCH easier to take a deep breath and get back under control.
What are your simple things? The ones I mentioned are mostly physical. But we can also do things in the realms of thinking differently, handling relationships differently, and changing our environment to take small steps. The important part is to focus on the small steps. If you’re not getting enough sleep OR drinking enough water OR journaling regularly OR moving your body enough, implementing all of those things at once will set you up to fail. Pick one. Get good at doing it consistently. Then add a second one. Build from there. Less really is more.