Too busy? Try helping others. A recent study by Cassie Mogilner of the Wharton Business School examined the impact of wasting time, spending time on oneself, gaining “free” time, and spending time on others. Mogilner and her colleagues found that spending time of others increased participants’ subjective sense of having more time.
Can you see trouble shooting our use of emotion regulation skills as a scientific experiment?
- Ask- am I biologically vulnerable? Do I have a physical illness or distress? am I out of balance in sleep, use of drugs or exercise?
- Review what you have tried. Have you used skills? Did you follow the instructions?
- What is the purpose of your emotion? Is it communicating an important message or influencing others? Is it motivating you to act? Does it validate your beliefs?
- Are you putting the time and effort into the skills?
- Are you too upset to use complicated skills? Do you need to focus on mindfulness or other distress tolerance skills?
- Check your thoughts. Are you judging your emotions- “I shouldn’t feel this way” “There is a right way to feel.” Is a belief keeping you stuck? “I am my emotion.” “I am an angry (sad, anxious etc.) person.”
Try viewing your skill use and experience of emotion as a scientific experiment. Notice how different use of skill impacts your experience of emotion- what makes emotions less intense? What shortens the duration of painful emotions? What brings happiness, joy and other positive emotions?
How you interact matters, as much as and sometimes more than, the words that you say. Imagine someone asking for a raise. One person does so with a smile and straightforward gaze, while another says the same words with a frown and stares at her shoes and hangs her head.
Your body language and style not only affect the outcome, but also the way you feel. Sometimes we interact in ways that wear at our own self-confidence.
When we are feeling down, irritable, angry or down right miserable, we usually have good reason. Life can sometimes cause anguish.
You may experience events, such as unexpected circumstances, loss, relationships turning out badly, finding that circumstances are worse than you expected and being separated from loved ones that leave you in emotional turmoil. At times, it can feel like you barely pick yourself up from one emotional crisis when the next hits.