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Regulating your emotions to control your mind

This is a transcript of Live the 8Wise™ Way Podcast.

Episode Two: Regulating Your Emotions to Control Your Mind

Hi everybody and welcome to episode two of Live the 8Wise™ Way so you can develop better mental health, better wellbeing and improve an overarching need, create a healthier happy mind so that you can have a better quality of life. My name is Kim Rutherford, I am a psychotherapist, I’m an author, I’m now a podcast host, and I’m also the person who developed the 8Wise model which is what we are talking about in this podcast and how you can use it to take control of your mental health and give yourself some tools and a framework to be able to use, whether you are using it for recovery or a prevention method as well. Today we’re talking about regulating your emotions to control your mind, meaning how do we regulate our emotions so that we can boost our emotional wellness and start living a healthier, happier way. Nice and simple today.

As I said, my name is Kim Rutherford. If you are wanting to listen to this podcast from the perspective of using it as a therapeutic tool for yourself in a therapeutic model, then you might want to click on the subscribe button so that you know when each episode is coming out, it means that you can also prepare yourself for that episode because if you go to my website you will find so much free resource there to help you, tools and techniques are there to help you to improve your wellness and wellbeing using the 8Wise™ model. So, if you subscribe, you will know, and again, if you’re wanting to use some of those tools alongside listening to the podcast, then you can also access the book from any major online store that sells books no matter where you are, around about 300,000 places on the globe. So, you can always do that, or you head to the website again, where you can buy the book and the journal and the planner and the pocketbook as well and all of those items have different tools and techniques to help you to improve your wellness and wellbeing.

Just a little bit of information for you, if you head over to my social media, the handle is pretty much @8Wise for everything in one way or another, you will find there is a competition happening as we speak right now. A competition for you to be able to win the full resource pack. Now that full resource pack is the 8Wise™ Ways to a Healthier, Happier Mind book, which they are calling the ‘mental health manual for the modern world’, I love that. You can also get a free copy of the 12-week journal, so you can start to set yourself some goals that you want to achieve in the next three months. You will also win a hard copy of the 12-month planner. So, it gives you lots of tools and resources again, over the next 12 months so that you can really start living the 8Wise™ Way, and I’m throwing in the pocketbook as well. So, it’s a full package, the full 8Wise™ package available via the competition now. Just head over to the social media sites and they will tell you all of the details and I look forward to finding out who those winners are very, very soon.

Before we start this, I’ve got to do a big shout out to Mossley Hill Rugby Club, the Mossley Hill guys do an awful lot with regards to men’s mental health in the community and they are big fans of the 8Wise™ process and using 8Wise™ for themselves. So, I just want to say a big hello and a shout out to those guys because they will never forgive me if I do not.

But we’re cracking on guys. Today we’re talking about regulating your emotions to control your mind and, if you remember from the last episode I was talking about, we start with the foundation dimension and foundation dimension element one is your emotional wellness. So, emotions, we’ve all got them. They just happen and a lot of the time when it comes to understanding the language of emotions, people tend to get very confused between what are emotions, what are feelings, what is a mood and so I think it’s probably good to start right there. What are emotions, what are feelings and what are moods. Okay. So hopefully this will help you to be able to identify the difference in yourself moving forward.

So, number one, let’s have a look at emotions. So, emotions are a chemical reaction to things that happen to us. They are instant. They happen within approximately six seconds of us being involved in a situation. So, it is very difficult to have full control over your emotions. We experience them very, very quickly and they come in six seconds so they’re very short. They’re very sharp. They’re very intense.

Then what happens as we start to put the logical side and the thinking processes to those emotions, we start to create a feeling and that feeling is then bigger than that emotion. It lasts longer and it can have a mental effect and a physical effect on us. So, emotions are short and sharp, we add that thinking process to everything whenever we start to add logic to things that creates a feeling, we experience the feeling mentally and physically, and what that can then do is trigger a mood. Now if an emotion can happen really quickly, a feeling can happen really quickly as well. We can’t necessarily manage the emotion in the moment, but when it develops into a feeling, we can learn to understand it and through that understanding, then we can start to learn how to manage the feelings and then the emotions longer-term. Then what happens is potentially those feelings can stay with us for a lot longer and they can start to trigger things like negative thinking patterns and thought processes and they can stay with us for a lot longer. It’s when they stay with us for a lot longer and they start to have that negative impact on our thought processes and our overall feelings, that’s when it’s generated into a mood and these can be incredibly uncomfortable for us and so what happens is, if we are experiencing emotions and feelings and moods that are uncomfortable for us, it is very common practice for us to suppress them in some way so that we don’t have to feel them in the moment. What that means is we ignore them. We basically ignore them. We shove them down, we push them in a box somewhere else deep inside of us and we tell ourselves that we will either come back to them later, or we never want to see them ever again in our lives and those suppressed emotions just stay there, dormant, waiting to be triggered.

If you remember the analogy from the previous episode we were talking about we don’t know when you pull the trigger to the mental health gun, we don’t necessarily know which experiences and which memories are going to come forward because those experiences and those memories are linked to our emotions and our feelings and we don’t know which emotions and feelings that are lying there dormant are strong enough to be triggered by a certain life event. An example of this might be if you were bullied in school and it might have been horrific for you, but you’ve got to get up every day and you’ve got to go to school and it’s very common for us to suppress how that really makes us feel. Especially when we’ve left school, for many of us we’ve suppressed it so deeply, we just crack on with our lives and it doesn’t play a part in our lives anymore we think. But then what might happen is we might then go to work and we might experience something in work one day, the way that somebody speaks to us, the way that somebody behaves around us might trigger a memory linked to those bullying moments. Then what that does is not just trigger the memory, it triggers the emotions, it triggers the feelings and it can create a new mood from them. So that’s an example of how really our emotions, our feelings and our mood, if we are nervous, that we never give them an opportunity to be processed and by processing them, we work through them and move forward from, they stay there within our subconscious mind, dormant waiting to be triggered by your new life events. Which is why sometimes you might experience, it might be a friend, family member, a loved one, when you think they just overreacted to a situation and sometimes it’s not that they are overreacting to that situation it’s that what’s happened is they’re reacting to that situation with their current emotions but it’s also triggering dormant, deeper feelings and emotions that they may have been suppressing for a longer period of time. You see the cherry on the top when actually they’ve got the entire ice cream bowl full of stuff underneath it, and everything’s coming to the surface of it all. So it’s really important to be able to manage your emotions and by manage them I mean, as I said, because it happens so quickly in the moment you don’t have much control in the moment. It’s about being able to assess and analyse the emotion when it becomes the feeling so you can then understand what caused this, what has triggered this, what life event, what challenge, what problem today has made me feel like this and trigger that particular emotion. Because when you know what it is, then you know how to address it, you then know how to problem solve it. You then know how to work through it. You know how to free yourself from that emotion and the feelings and the moods that can come from them.

Emotions get a bad rep, really, especially in the world of work. It’s been said for a long time you leave your emotions at the door, people are over emotional. It’s a concept I’ve never really understood because what’s the opposite of over emotional, under emotional. You never hear anybody say that do you, you hear people say ‘oh my God, you’re emotionless’, but nobody is. It’s just that people share their emotions in different ways and some people struggle to share their emotions, some people find it really easy and some people can’t find the words and some people are struggling to understand how it affects their body, that they can’t put it into any words whatsoever. But it’s important to be able to own your emotions, accept your emotions and work through them and not be scared of them because ultimately emotions are messages. They’re messages telling us that something is affecting us in a certain way and those messages help us to navigate the world around us and the relationships that we’re in and achieve the things that we do.

So being emotionally well means that you’re able to regulate your emotions and then control the effect those emotions have on your mind and the affect they have on your body too. Now, one of these ways, as I said, because emotions get poor rep, what you tend to find is people will argue the emotions world versus the logical world when really emotional regulation is about utilizing both of them effectively to create what I call true wisdom, it’s where the concept of wise in my model comes from, this ability to manage these mindsets. So, you have on one side your emotional mindset, you have on the direct opposite side your logical mindset, and in the middle you have your wise mindset and the concept being when emotional and logical are balanced, then we are at our best. We are at our strongest. I want you to picture that in your mind right now. Picture it as a seesaw where you would normally have two children either side pushing up and down, and that seesaw is pivoting in the middle and each child either goes high or they go low. Now imagine on your left-hand side you have one child, let’s call them the emotional child and they are representing our emotional mindset and they’re great. They’ve got a handle to hold onto so if it goes too high they’re okay, if it goes too low they’re okay. On the opposite side, you have got your logical child representing your logical mindset and again, this child, logical child has the handles to hold onto so if they go too high they’re safe and if they go too low they’re safe. Emotional child, logical child, very safe at either end of this seesaw, but bang in the middle is the wise child and the wise child doesn’t have anything to hold onto whatsoever.

So, your job in life is to keep the wise child safe, to keep your wise mindset fully active. What this means is when your emotions are too high, you spring up into the air, that emotional child is high up in the air and the logical child is right down on the ground and they can’t move and because of that swing being so dominant, the wise child in the middle of the seesaw has fallen off. Now they’ve broken some bones, not having a great time at all. Now, if it goes the opposite way, we’re in the same situation, we’ve got suddenly your logical child is flying into the air and your emotional child is sat there firmly in the bottom of the other part of the seesaw and again, that wise child that was sat safely in the middle to start with is now falling off and has damaged themselves greatly.

This is just a representation of what happens when we choose, actually I only want to use my logical mindset, or I only want to use my emotional mindset. It’s about how those swings create an incredible turbulence, and that turbulence can cause some of that chaos that we feel in our mind and the key to it is when we’re being highly logical, we need to increase our emotional wise, our emotional mindset to create the wise mindset. We need to get the balance equally in the same way when we find that our emotions are sky high, we need to bring in the logic in order to get that balance back and then when we get the balance back, we then create that wise mindset again. That’s ultimately what emotional regulation is. It’s about knowing that ‘I’m not going to ignore my emotions or suppress my emotions, or in fact, pretend my emotions don’t exist at all and only focus on logic’ because that is not healthy for our minds or healthy for our lives, but equally ‘I’m not going to go the other way either’ and it’s always about finding the balance between emotions and logic to create a wise mindset so you can navigate life effectively. Now, this is ultimately what the concept of emotional intelligence is based on, this ability to self-manage with self-awareness, knowing what we’re thinking and what we’re feeling so that we know what we have to do to balance that out but also then if we understand ourselves and how we respond to things, we then develop more empathy towards others, meaning that we can then provide balance when someone else might be experiencing high emotions or high logic and help them to develop a wise mindset as well. So emotional intelligence is very much about getting the balance between these two core areas of emotion and logic so that we can work ourselves out and navigate this world with our most wisest of minds, our wisest of eyes, a clearer cognitive function. So, it’s important to start that process by being able to understand why you feel the way you do, why you’re responding with that particular emotion and what that really represents, what that really means, what is it triggering for you, why is it triggering it for you and have you got some dormant issues that you’ve not yet worked through. On the website, as always, there’s lots of free resources there for you, but one of the resources, and this is in the book as well, I would recommend you use is the emotions wheel and the emotions wheel provide you with three tiers of emotions all based in a wheel shape, a bit like a dart board. In the middle it’s got your basic emotion and then you’ve got your two tiers outside of that that really start to pinpoint this more specific emotion. When I say specific, it’s mainly because what happens is it can be quite overwhelming when we feel something that’s so strong and when we have these intense emotions come so quickly, we tend to jump to what I would call the umbrella emotion to express how we feel anger, for example is one of those, but actually within anger, there’s lots of different emotions and it’s really important to be able to almost sieve out the ones that it isn’t and really be able to pinpoint the specific emotion feeling that your experiencing.

When you’re able to do that, you’re then able to identify the specific situation that occurred that day or that week, or in that moment that has just triggered that emotion. When you know that you can start to think of ‘have there been similar situations in my life where I felt this before, does this feeling represent something I’ve experienced before or is it brand new’. By doing that, what you’re starting to understand is what the underlying issue is and what the underlying problem is. Then you know you need to resolve it so for example, if we go back to our bullying example, if you identify that somebody in the workplace has just said something to you that has made you feel like you were being bullied or has triggered old bullying experiences for you, then number one, you need to address it in the workplace sooner, rather than later. Then what you need to do potentially is go and work with a therapist in order just to go through some of those old feelings and to help yourself process what has gone on in the past and process how it made you feel so you can work through something and then be able to move forward from it as well.

So that’s the importance of understanding yourself well enough to know ‘I feel this way, this is what’s causing it, and this is what I know have to do to problem solve it so it doesn’t remain a dormant issue anymore and cause me problems later on down the line’. So now you have got a better understanding of emotional intelligence, another big buzzword around regulating your emotions, links to the concept of resilience.

Resilience all comes down to having control over yourself, which is why this episode is called ‘regulating your emotions to control your mind’ because resilience is about controlling that mind so that mindset doesn’t become too overwhelming, it doesn’t cause you problems. It means having the ability to manage your responses to certain situations, that means managing your responses linked to life events, and the things that happen to you as well as being able to manage your responses with regards to people and how people can trigger you. There are two different points, but crikey, can they both affect as an impact as in a big way and resilience, the ability to have that control over ourselves and know ourselves so well and be able to adapt our responses and change our responses or assess, analyse, and understand our responses really helps to boost our self-esteem and our confidence. Self-esteem and confidence are two very different things, but they’re interlinked. Self-esteem is linked to your belief system in who you are, and confidence is your belief system in what you are able to do.

They are very similar but different, but don’t get them confused. When you have developed this concept of managing your mindset and having that wise mindset, and you’ve been able to develop that emotional intelligence through understanding, analysing, assessing your emotions to identify the trigger point and problem solving the trigger point, you then are able to develop better resilience and resilience will then help you to manage each challenging event or each challenging situation as it happens and through that, you’re then in more control, you have more control over how you’re responding, how you’re going to interact with people, how you’re going to interact with the world, things become a little bit less scary and some of those more common mental health experiences such as anxiety suddenly become much more manageable. We need to get them to become manageable because when they’re not manageable and we’re not having a great time, or we’re feeling incredible levels of stress caused by the wide range of life events that are triggering all of our emotions, we can lead ourselves down a really dysfunctional path. By that I mean that we can end up generating dysfunctional coping mechanisms to manage how we feel and the emotions that we’re experiencing.

Now suppression in itself is one dysfunctional coping mechanism, hoping it’s going to go away, putting it under a rock and hoping it never rears its ugly head. I wish that was the case, but it does, it will always come back. It will always come back and get you. We know that that isn’t a healthy coping mechanism, but other strong coping mechanisms that are dysfunctional for us could be turning to alcohol, turning to drugs and if you’re anything like me, mine was turning to food. My inability to regulate my emotions from a very, very, very young age meant that I found my comfort from my dysfunctional coping mechanism, which was overeating and that overeating actually caused me a lot of issues, obesity to start with, so obviously all of the health conditions that come with obesity and then all of the mental health conditions that come with obesity. I was in this really, really big cycle of misery and a lot of it was coming from this dysfunctional coping mechanism that I had developed from a very young age, from not knowing how to develop or manage my emotions, my feelings and mood. For a very long time, I was under the impression that my resilience came from the fact that I ignored my emotions and I suppressed my emotions when the truth is I wasn’t being resilient in any way, shape or form. I was just suppressing them, and they all came and as I said, they came and showed their ugly head when I went from stress to burnout to anxiety, to depression, and then that led to agoraphobia. That happened very quickly, it doesn’t take very long when all of those emotions, those dormant feelings, those dormant emotions suddenly flow up really quickly, it doesn’t take long to grab hold.

So it’s really important to be able to understand yourself from the perspective of ‘who am I, what experiences have I had, how did those experiences affect how I feel about things and the emotions that I experience, how quickly am I aware or allowing myself to become aware of what those feelings are and what tools and techniques can I put in place that are more, a functional coping mechanism that allow me to balance my emotions with my logic and use my wise mindset to problem solve everything that I’m experiencing at the core of that issue. That is what I highly recommend you do. If you’ve already gone and done your evaluation with regards to emotional wellness, you’re either going to be a score of a one to an eight. If you’re score is, I would say, under five, you want to start looking at your emotional regulation and improving your emotional wellness as soon as you possibly can.

If you’re listening to this podcast and you are following the book, then you can go to page 95 in the book, which explains emotional wellness in a little bit more information, a bit more detail and if you’re wanting to use the tools that help you to develop your emotional wellness, then you can head to page 251, which is where those tools that are specific with regards to developing your emotional wellness sits and if you want to access those in a word format that you can print off and actually almost create your own folder of all of this, all of the resources that you’re going to complete, then you can also go to the website, which is, look for the free downloads tab and it will have all of those free downloads in there as well. The emotions wheel will be in there in a bigger format, some information in there on the wise mindset and there’s some other tools and tips in there as well to help you develop your emotional wellness and again, it’s important to develop your emotional wellness because our emotions are triggered through anything and our emotional wellness triggers any of the other seven elements of the 8Wise™ model.

So, if you’re able to regulate your emotions, you are going to feel better. You are going to feel more confident in who you are. You are going to feel that you are able to handle anything that life throws at you, that people throw at you. The situations you experience, you become in control of. By regulating your emotions you actually prevent worst case scenarios happening with regards to your mental health and therefore regulating your emotions is not only a recovery model when you are experiencing mental health issues, which you will need to learn to do, you will need to learn to regulate those emotions if you are going through recovery but, by learning to do them before your health or your mental health deteriorates, it means that you’re doing it from the prevention perspective as well. If you remember the main stats with regards to mental health are one in four people experience a mental health issue, such as anxiety, such as depression, for example, in any given 12-month period.

But the scariest stat is the fact that three in four people are therefore at risk of developing a mental health issue and if you don’t put prevention tools in place, then your mental health will deteriorate and as I said, just like it did with mine, it can deteriorate very fast, very quickly and coming back from it can be a difficult process.

The great news is you’ve now got 8Wise™ on your side that can help you with prevention and with recovery. So, if you are somebody who finds emotions uncomfortable, if you are somebody who finds that you suppress your emotions, because you’re scared of what they might be, you’re scared of what they might be telling you then what I would say is this is one of those times when you face the fear and you do it anyway, they are just messages. Learn to read the message, learn to understand the message, learn to understand what it’s telling you and use it to your advantage, use it to benefit you, use it to improve your mental health and wellbeing and by doing that, you improve your overall emotional wellness as well, which means you improve all eight elements of the wellness spectrum that is outlined in the 8Wise™ Ways model because as I explained in episode one, if one of these elements is triggered they have a knock on effects to all of the others. They create a chain reaction and so to protect your full wellness spectrum, you need to be able to manage this one first. Regulating your emotions to control your mind for a healthy, happier life, for a better quality of life for better overall health.

Thank you for listening. I hope you found episode two interesting and you’re starting to understand yourself with regards to your emotional wellness.

If this is something you want to continue with, then I recommend you hit that subscribe button, so, you know whenever the new episode comes out straight away, but you also then know what you need to prep, where the book is and where everything on the website is so you can actually get that ready for when you want to listen to the next episode and work alongside everything.

If you don’t yet have the book, then again, you can go and access the book from any major online bookstore, as well as directly from the 8Wise™ website and you will find on there, there is the book in both paperback and hard copy, there is the paperback 12-week journal, a paperback and hard copy 12-month planner and a paperback pocketbook as well and of course there is a Kindle version of the book too if you are a Kindle lover, and I am a Kindle lover myself so I am with you on that. If you don’t want to pay for them and you want to give the competition a go then head over to all of my social media spaces so Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn, and anywhere that you can get me on social media and it’s usually @8Wise, @8WiseKim or @8WiseTherapy. You will find details with regards to the competition where you could win the full package of books, the full resource. So, you’ve got the book, you’d have the journal, you’d have the planner and you’d have the pocket book so you’ve got the entire process of how to live the 8Wise™ Way.

So, head over there and find out more information from social media on how you can win that brilliant, brilliant package. So again, thanks for listening. This was episode two, talking about regulating your emotions to control your mind and on our next session we move on to the second element to the foundation dimension of 8Wise™, which will be physical wellness. I hope you will be joining me then. I look forward to chatting to you more. Take care and bye for now.

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