For most of us, feeling low – or worse – creates a sense of powerlessness or anxiety and we’re desperate to feel better but it’s often quite difficult to drag our attention away from the negative feelings and so they perpetuate.
Where attention goes, energy flowsJames Redfield
This week’s podcast episode is all about placing our attention on the best feeling thoughts we can muster, even if they’re not “positive”.
What is an emotional set point?
The current level of emotion you’re experiencing.
Emotions have an energy
Have you ever listened to a happy song and just felt utterly joyful and uplifted? Then listened to it at a different time and felt numb or completely disconnected? That has a lot to do with the energy accompanying your emotional set point.
According to Abraham Hicks, all emotions have an energy, a vibration. When we’re at a particular emotional set point, we can only really connect with other things and people that are in the same or similar range. That’s another reason why super cheerful people can piss us off when we’re not feeling it – and why someone in a terrible mood can interrupt our good vibes.
We give off particular energy depending on the emotions we’re experiencing. My husband says he doesn’t even have to be in the same room as me to feel it when I’m angry. He says I create a vibe that he and the kids can feel, even after I’ve stomped off.
It takes a good amount of energy to stay in those states. We have to let thoughts whip round, replay situations from the past, imagine future scenarios and bang and clatter about to keep the emotion in play.
The Emotional Guidance Scale (EGS)
I first heard about the Emotional Guidance Scale when I listened to “Super Attractor” by Gabby Bernstein.
It is a list of 20 “Emotional Set Points”, ranging from “Fear/Grief/Powerlessness” all the way to “Joy/ Appreciation/ Happiness”.
The EGS is a great tool to help you think about how you feel right now. What word best describes your experience? When the emotion is one that leaves you feeling bad, you can use the EGS to figure out how to feel better.
You simply look at the scale, identify a better feeling emotion that resonates with you and place your attention there.
For example: You feel powerless at work. You’re sitting at home, crying about how badly your boss treats you. You feel small and insignificant and you can’t see a way forward. Quitting in the middle of a recession is out of the question. You’re trapped.
Right now, you’re at the bottom of the EGS. If you moved to anger, you’d jump up by 5 levels. Admittedly, anger isn’t the best feeling emotion but it’s better than powerlessness and that’s the idea.
By deliberately choosing thoughts and actions that move you up the scale, you gradually begin to feel better – and the freeing part of it is that you don’t have to jump all the way to the ‘positive’ feelings if those feel too far out of reach.
Habits and activities to improve your emotional set point
1. Change thoughts
This is easier said than done. We don’t have full control of our thoughts so this one only works when it works. That sounds daft but the basic gist is this: If you’re able to think in a better feeling way, do it. If you’re not able to do it, pick one of the other activities.
That said, I find regular practice of all the habits and activities listed in this section gives me better control of my thoughts – or at least a stronger ability to realise when they’re running away with me and I’d do well to let them go.
It is also helpful to ‘fill your head’ with better feeling thoughts by choosing the type of information and experiences you expose yourself to. This video goes into more detail.
When it’s too difficult to change your thoughts, it is useful to put some distance between you and your thoughts so you can see them as separate from you. Your thoughts are not you and they are not necessarily true. Being able to separate from them helps you see that more clearly.
Here are some great ways to ‘find space’ in your mind and body:
- Meditate – I do transcendental meditation but there are many other forms of meditation you could try.
- Breath work – I love the Wim Hof Method and have recently discovered SOMA breathing via a YouTube channel titled The Evolution of Dave. In this video, Dave talks through the benefits of both WHM and SOMA
3. Flow Activities
Any activity that causes you to ‘lose time’ is a great one to help you feel better. ‘Losing time’ is where you get so engrossed in an activity that you stop focusing on your thoughts and body. Instead you focus only on what you’re doing. Drawing, painting, puzzles, dancing and loads of others activities are all possible flow activities.
When your body is flooded with stress hormones, the best thing to do is move. Get your blood circulating – or pumping hard if necessary – and let your body do what it needs to do to feel better. Sometimes a HIIT workout will do the trick, other times you might need something more balancing, like Yoga or Pilates. What is the best exercise to do? The one that feels right for you at the time.